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Interview with Naldo King: Bachata in the Cuban style

Interview with Naldo King: Bachata in the Cuban style
Naldo did not study music, though he bet everything on it as universal expression! He was born in Santiago, in the far East of the island, characterized by pronounced Caribbean musical influences. In the end, Naldo King preferred to move "A miles de kilometros" away from his hometown to pursue his self-fulfillment. We met him at a corner of a street in Vedado, the heart of Havana.

Naldo, why have you chosen the Bachata in Cuba and not the traditional typical Cuban genres?

Bachata has always appealed me, although Cuba is perceived as the country of Salsa and Timba. I am from Eastern Cuba, I come from Santiago, so close to the infulences of the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. The Bachata had fallen into decline in the (mid) 90s, but artists like Aventura and Romeo Santos inspired me to commit to this genre. I like music for listening and through this genre you can transmit authentic life experiences. Cuba is well-known for Timba, Son, Reggaeton. I want to stand as a faithful defender of Bachata and have my own community.

Santiago is a great stage for cultivating any genre of the Caribbean. How would you explain your decision to come to Havana?

This decision has a logic of its own (the artist laughs). We are in Havana, the heart of everything. In this capital you can find everything and from here the promotion spreads, even internationally. From here music can easily reach the other provinces and get abroad!

What's the difference between current Bachata that you can hear all around the world and Naldo King's Bachata?

My Bachata has some differences. I like to blend it with R&B to give it a special touch, without losing its main Bachata essence, then I add some Cuban percussions and the flavor of Cuban Bolero. In other words, i try to make my self-styled Bachata, because I want it to remain typical of Cuba!

But do you think a proper Cuban Bachata genre can be identified?

I believe so! Great artists like Descemer Bueno or Leoni Torres have recently mixed Cuban music with Bachata. As a matter of fact, my latest production "A Miles de Kilometros" has a lot of Bachata in it, together with other international rhythms. I would like my music to reach everybody's hears, not just the Cuban's.

What are your reference artists of the genre?

I like listening to all kinds of music! I like El Torito (Héctor Acosta) a lot, a Dominican artist that most Cubans don't know. He's a great artists and he's also been an inspiration for Romeo Santos, Royce and some great music producers are investing on his talent. I especially identify myself with Toby Love, another great bilingual artist!

 Besides writing Bachata songs, who is Naldo King in his free time?

First of all, I am the happy father of a wonderful daughter of just 3 months. And I'm a painter! I love art and my family is filled with crazy artists. On my dad's side musicians, painters on my mom's! Without ever attending the Academy I have sudied a lot by myself. I love surrealist and abstract art, that identifies me. And I practice a lot of sport!

So are you primarily a Bachata singer or a painter?

I don't know what to say, haha! I try to make music and paint, putting my best into both. As a painter, I've had for many years an exhibition space in the San José building (Avenida del Puerto de La Habana). Many artists gather their works there to display and market them.

 Something else for your fans?

I think that is all, I just want to thank Cubamusic and all its staff! If Cubamusic didn't exist, my music could not be listened to. But you make it possible thanks to a website that discovers many street artists that otherwise nobody would know of. It legitimazes the good Cuban music. And I thank you for that!

Thanks to you Naldo! Down-to-earth street guy and high-talented Bachata singer!