From his early days cutting hair and trimming beards as a barber en la isla del encanto, to global reggaeton dominance and Billboard Latin Award-winning success with Wisin y Yandel, to his now solo career, Llandel Veguilla Malavé AKA Yandel, is working his way up De Líder a Leyenda.
“I just woke up,” laughs el reggaetonero as he chatted up a storm with Crossfade last week. “This is hard. I’m on my way to Washington. Yesterday, I was in Chicago. I’ve already done like eight shows. I’ve been running around a lot and thank God it’s been very successful.”
And on Friday, Yandel will be “Moviendo Caderas” at the Fillmore Miami Beach as he closes off his first solo tour in the Magic City.
This isn’t the first time one-half of the shade-bearing Extraterrestres have brought el baile to the 305. Back in April, Yandel rocked the sandy shores of SoBe at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach for the BleauLive Concert Series. From the looks of it, though, Yandel can’t get enough of Miami.
“I’m very impressed by the people of Miami,” he proudly states. “They’re very special and love my music to the max. This time I’m more excited because I’m closing off the tour and I want to finish with gold.”
Obviously, touring and making music is not a new concept to Yandel, but neither is working solo.
About four years after their reggaeton debut in 2000 with Los Reyes del Nuevo Milenio, Juan Luis Morera Luna, or Wisin, spent some alone time in the recording studio working on El Sobreviviente, while Yandel dedicated hours to Quien Contra Mí.
Not gaining the success they had hoped for, the two got back together, started WY Records, and in 2005, released what’s become their most successful album to date, Pa’l Mundo, which includes some of their biggest hits like “Rakata,” “Llamé Pa’ Verte (Bailando Sexy),” and “Pam Pam.”
This year, they won two Billboard Latin Music Awards for Latin Rhythm Album of the Year for Líderes and Latin Rhythm Albums Artist of the Year, Duo or Group.
As an established artist, going solo for Yandel has been a “refreshing” experience this time around.
“Musically, I don’t have to ask anyone to see if they like it,” he explains. “I make my own decisions. If I like this music, I could just do it. When I make my own videos, I think it’s more focused on personal taste.”
“I love to work with W [Wisin]. I’m very grateful for everything we’ve done. Aside from the fact that he’s like my brother, we’ve already worked together for so many years and you have to do something different to get out of your comfort zone, so I’m very happy I’m making my own music.”
No matter how successful an artist may be, every new endeavor comes with its own set of risks.
“It was a double-edged sword,” el músico admits, “but we tried and I think it’s easier for us now because we’ve established a strong fan base and are better grounded.”
And so far, things are looking bright. De Líder a Leyenda debuted number one on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart back in November.
“I did a very different mix,” Yandel describes. “You’ll find reggaeton, pop, electronic, and ballad elements. I mixed it up without taking away that urban sound and also collaborated with artists, like Daddy Yankee, Don Omar, that gave it good results.”
“The videos are also great. “Hablé de Ti” and “Moviendo Caderas” have been very strong, and that’s the result of this tour.”
Music aside, Yandel is putting his entrepreneur skills to the test and diving into the retail business.
“I’m working on Soy Un Duro, it’s a brand. I’m gonna make hats, clothes, it’s a label that’s starting to grow and people are starting to say they love it. It’s very impressive in the way they’re selling. I’m very happy.”
But for right now, it’s all about la música.
Yandel recently remixed “Humanos A Marte” for Chayanne, which is a pretty big deal given that el cantante rarely collaborates with other artists, is on the verge of releasing a music video for “Déjate Amar” on Vevo on June 27, and is already working on his third solo album, Dangerous.
“I’m very happy that all of my fans didn’t leave me behind,” he fesses. “They are supporting me in this new path.”
“I’m very focused on music. It’s my passion.”
Yandel. Saturday, June 28. The Fillmore Miami Beach,1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. The concert starts at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $40 plus fees via livenation.com. Call 305-673-7300 or visit fillmoremb.com.
–Courtesy of Miami New Times