Saturday, May 1, 2010

Reik: The Beginning of an Unforgettable Tour

It’s almost midnight. The hundreds of fans have been waiting on their feet nearly five hours, and one can cut through the anticipation with a knife. As the lights begin to shine through the darkness, and the smooth jazzy opening of one of Reik’s recent top ten singles begins to play, the crowd goes wild. Screams fill the room. The fans yell everything from “I love you Jesus!” to “Viva Mexico!” and the request of the night seems to be “Novembre Sin Ti,” which a female fan yells out 20 times throughout the show.

As the trio take the stage. Jesus, the lead singer, wears a Michael Jackson-esque red jacket, and his energy, along with that of Julio and Bibi, fill the stage. Just as Jesus begins to sing the chorus, “No quiero perdería.Porque solo es ella.Inolvidable para mi corazón (“I don’t want to lose her, because there is only her. Unforgettable in my heart”), the fans begin to scream every word along with him and his band mates.

One of the biggest Latin-pop groups of all time, Reik, recently released their third album, Un Dia Mas (One More Day). The first two singles “Involvidable” (“Unforgettable”) and “Fui” (“I Was”) have already topped the Billboard Hot Latin Songs charts. And now, singer Jesus Narravo, acoustic guitarist Julio Ramirez, and electric guitarist Gilberto “Bibi” Epinoza are embarking on a nationwide tour, covering everywhere from Miami to Atlanta to Los Angeles.

According to Jesus Navarro, “the new show will include a bunch of new songs, plus songs from our last two albums.” In terms of what fans can expect, Jesus comments, “our shows are more musical than visual, it's totally about the sound. Good vibes and good versions of songs they've heard on the album. We're singing every single we've ever done and our favorite songs from each album. We’ve been working like crazy since Un Dia Mas dropped and it's really nice to sort of come back and see the result. People waiting for us to come on show, it's a nice feeling to be appreciated”

According to Navarro, the group welcomes the success of the new album. “The first album was a huge success, second not so much, and third is doing excellent as well. I know what I feels like to have your song not work, there was a single on the second album that never stuck, I’m grateful for every time a song of mine is played on the radio.” In terms of hearing his own music on the radio, or tiring of hearing it, Navarro explains “every time I hear a song of mine on the radio it's pretty cool. I’m kind of tired of it by now, I usually get really excited about an album and I listen to it for two months, and I get tired of listening to it, but I don’t get tired of singing to it.”

The new album, Un Dia Mas, marks the first time that both Jesus Navarro and Julio Ramirez have taken an active role in the songwriting process. According to Navarro, “it’s not that we have more creative control, I have just developed an interest in songwriting. Which I hadn't before, I've always had I think to some extent creative control of what goes onto my albums.” For the talented trio, control over their projects has always been. “We made it very clear that we want no inclusion from the label, but we want the label to be passionate about the singles so we let them pick them out,” Narvarro says. “We pick the songs out, judging out by how good they are in our opinion, regardless of who wrote them,” says Navarro. “I started writing four or five months before we picked out songs for new album. And it's really amazing to listen to “Fui” and a bunch of people sing it out loud. It's a song I wrote one day in my living room, I was kind of sad, and now I’m standing in front of 10,000 people singing my song, it's weird, and it's awesome, Navarro explains.

After years of hit after hit, Jesus says that he would put the self-penned “Piel De Cuidad” (“City Skin”), from the Una Dia Mas album, in a time-capsule for future generations to listen to and get an idea of what the music of Reik was about. Jesus describes “Piel de Cuidad” as “song that I wrote in New York. It's about realizing how small you are compared to the rest of world. We're just passengers in life and we're here for a little while we should just have fun with it and love and enjoy the time we're here. It's the most personal song I’ve ever written.

It takes amazing influence in order to shape an act like Reik, and the main vocalist Jesus lists “La 5th Estacion, Adel and Selena” as the acts who have influenced him the most.. When it comes to Selena, Navarro says, “I listened to her when I was really young, I remember crying when she died, I was a fan.” Jesus also lists Selena as one artist he would have loved to have done a duet with, along with “Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald”. Navarro also gives props to newcomer Lady Gaga. “She's really talented, I don't know if it's a concept. I can tell it's really well put together and well though of, though,” Navarro says.

Reik have achieved years of fame and success with their sound, a mix of pop/rock/acoustic, but if he had to, Jesus says he’d like to see the band go in an entirely new direction. Jesus describes his alternative music as being “more electronic, I'm talking about more “lounge” of a sound. No guitars, no piano, none of the things we do now. But for fans who may worry that Reik will become the new Spanish-longue act of the year, Jesus confirms his adoration of his music. “ I love the things we do now”, he says.

Many may think that the voice of one of the most popular Latin-pop groups ever cares for his instrument as if it’s crystal, but on the contrary, Jesus admits to not doing much to maintain his gift. “In terms of rituals, I have none. Absolutely no rituals, I'm not careful, I wont go out or smoke or drink or drink cold things, but I used to, Jesus says.” Jesus remembers a time when his carelessness actually got back at him. “There was a time when I couldn't sing anymore, it sort of dawned on me to take responsibility. I think now I’m barely getting the hang of it. Now I’m doing 5 shows in a row, says Jesus.

After the shows and album sales, there are many drawbacks to fame. For Jesus, a drawback comes in the form of nosy journalists. “We're not really involved with that media that asks all that inappropriate questions, the kind who ask ‘who is this girl? Are you sleeping with her? ‘I think people cross the line, but we don't get that too often because we try to stay away from that. We try not to be very scandalous. I’m a singer, not an actor.” For more information, visit the group’s official website at

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