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El Rival...more and more original

El Rival...more and more original
Reinier Rodriguez Arce (El Rival) just returned to Cuba after successfully touring various European countries. His album, "De una manera original", is being well received by the European audience that fully enjoyed the unique style of the artist.
His songs are growing popular among the friends of But his success is not new at all. In more than ten years of career he has included various singles among the top hits in sales and the radio, and he has recorded with urban music stars like Gente D´ Zona, El Chacal, Yakarta, El Yonqui and Los 4, among many others.
To urban music fans, brings you the exclusive of the interview of El Rival. For more than one hour, we talked about both human and divine stuff: his most recent proposals, his music career, his creative secrets...Together with this interview you can find the artist's discography in our platform.

Album by El Rival "De una manera original" available at

- First things first. How did you like this experience in Europe? Rumor has it that people are wanting more of your music over there.
"(Laughs) What do you want me to say? This was my second European tour but I have to say that this time I really toured Europe. The first time I only visited Italy but now we were in Switzerland, Italy, Germany (Frankfurt and Cologne) and Poland, too. The audience was great, the plan was to give three concerts and three turned into nine.
The Latin audience went crazy with my music. I did not anticipate to find so many Dominicans over there but Europeans also responded with much strength and energy.I had to go back because the tour could only be extended until then but it all went so well that we are planning to return soon.
About six months ago I told my mom that if in 2017 I did not celebrate my birthday (September 23rd) outside of Cuba and in the top of the charts, I would quit singing. Actually, I celebrated my birthday in Switzerland during the tour in an expensive hotel, I think its name is Eden. People save money for a long time to spend a day in that place and there I was, a little mulatto from Marianao, having a good time De una manera original (In an original way)."

- You are a prolific composer, that is, you compose easily and abundantly. As a creative artist, what is your current phase?
"Believe it or not, I do not compose anymore, when I go to the studio to record, all I need is a mic and words start flowing. After that, I listened to the recordings and there you have the songs. I have recorded with Gente de Zona, Chacal and Yakarta who are reggaeton stars and that is the way I sing. I only need a mic and I get inspired. I have collaborated as a composer with important groups such as Charanga Habanera, Pachito Alonso and their Kini kini, among others.
I am not the kind of artist that sits down and writes down on a paper the music and the lyrics, no way, I do it on the spot and lyrics come to my mind."

- What is your opinion about vulgar, obscene and humiliating urban music songs, specifically related to women?
"There is no degrading songs in El Rival's entire discography at, neither will someone ever find a track that indecently speaks about sex or women. We are all responsible of our actions, I do not want to mention names or speak about somebody's work but connecting with the audience is more than that, no way!
At the end, only the talented artists survive. The rest are forgotten gradually. There is no talent in something like "I pull my girlfriend's hair and do this or that to her".
Young rappers and reggaeton singers who are beginning should not only compare themselves, instead, they should examine other ways and people, musically speaking. That is the only path to growing and doing something good. I belong to a little older generation of urban musicians who are always dreaming big."

- Music must drain much of your time but tell us more about Reinier, the person you are when El Rival is not on stage.
"I cannot tell you about my favorite food because all my fans will prepare the same for me, lol, lol!!! Seriously, I am a simple person with simple tastes. I really appreciate eating rice, ripe bananas and fried eggs once in a while, lol, lol!!!
Yesterday, for instance, I worked until late night and today I got a call from some youngsters here in Marianao who wanted me to take a look to one of their songs, and there I went to give them a hand. Because I was born and raised here in Marianao and I like to support others."

- What commitments prevail in your life?
"I have two very important commitments in life, one is my mother and the other one is my deities. I am a babalawo (Cuban Santeria priest). My religion is sacred for me, my deities, my orula...everything is here as you can see. My deities do not want me to be so trusting. Chango is standing by the door so that whoever gives me the evil eye is not welcome."

-Any last words to the audience that is acclaiming you in Europe.
"I will be around soon to show off for the audience in an original way."

After a funny afternoon laughing at El Rival's wittiness, said goodbye to the artist's headquarters where we had been received as family. Reinier Rodríguez Arce was born and still lives over there, in Marianao municipality. His neighborhood fills him with energy and new artistic ideas. It is an authentic place where everyone knows him and cares about him. Recalling his beginning as artist in those same streets, he told us a story before we left.
"I still remember a concert played by 'el Medico de la Salsa' in the late 1990's. My mother gave me permission to go because it was very close to home, in 124th street. If there is still a video of that concert you will see a ten-year-old mulatto boy in the first row, stuck to the stage, it was me. Since then I have been all about music, thoroughly original.