De La Torre leaves 'Diego,' Bieber behind for a career in Latin music
Written by DAVID DUPONT Sentinel Arts & Entertainment Editor
Saturday, 28 December 2013 09:00
Only 20, Anthony De La Torre has already performed in many guises.
|Anthony De La Torre (Photo provided)
At 12 he was a child actor, giving voice to a character on "Go, Diego, Go," and appearing in TV commercials.
Later in high school, he had a religious awakening and considered becoming a priest. In the meantime he made Christian rap videos.
He even landed some gigs as a Justin Bieber imitator, appearing at birthday parties for easy-to-fool 5-year-old girls.
To go along with the act he even did a video cover of Bieber's "Boyfriend."
His uncle was impressed enough that he passed his videos along to people he knew in the entertainment business.
That led to De La Torre, who grew up in Bowling Green, meeting in New York City with producer Desmond Child, who has worked with Ricky Martin, Aerosmith and others, and Debbie Ohanian, a top Latin music promoter.
They were impressed, and signed him to their new artist development and management company So Success Entertainment.
Together they decided to develop De La Torre as a Latin singer, singing in Spanish.
"In the English market there are millions of me," the young performer said. "In the Latin market there's a void that can be filled."
For his stage name he dropped "Anthony," opting simply for De La Torre.
That gives his act, more the sound of a group, and that's how he sees his career, as a collaboration. "I get tired of me only, I like to see it differently," he said. "I work with incredible musicians."
That includes Child. The producer in a statement wrote about the young artist's promise: "De La Torre is one of the most exciting young Latin artists to emerge since Ricky Martin and Draco Rosa. His sense of artistry, poetry and high aesthetics sets him apart from the usual 'looks only' music competition contestants and Telenovela hopefuls that flood the market. I'm very proud and excited to be working with De La Torre, a bright new star that will shine bright for many years to come."
De La Torre, the son of Phil De La Torre and Esther Gracia, grew up surrounded by Latin culture.
"It was buried deep in my brain," he said. Frequent trips to Miami to visit Cuban relatives certainly reenforced that.
But, he admits, his command of Spanish was limited.
So Child and Ohanian sent their young charge off to Cuba to begin his musical education. He's been on the island four times within two years, working on his first video there.
His travels are for more than learning the language, but also to immerse himself in the country's rich musical tradition. That includes working with a member of a famed Buena Vista Social Club.
"The musicians there are just top notch," De La Torre said. They take the music very seriously and they have unparalleled sense of rhythmic timing.
His first single was "No Te Entiendo" by Cuban composer Descemer Bueno and pianist Michelle Fragoso.
After being immersed in the Cuban sound, he concedes he has "a hard time listening to music on the radio." It all seems so simplistic, he said.
What he's interesting in doing is mining the rich musical vein.
"They make beautiful songs, the problem is to get people to hear them."
So far De La Torre has two singles out on the Internet, including a Christmas-themed song, and expects to have a couple more released early in 2014.
He's working on an album.
That he's emerged as a singer is ironic. He aspired to be an actor. "Nick, my older brother, was always considered the singer in the family, and I was more the comic relief."
His brother, De La Torre said is still active in music as a music director in a local church.
De La Torre said he'd like to get back to acting at least in a small way at some point.
The focus now is on music. "I'd like to get my music spread through Latin America with this album," he said while in Bowling Green for the holidays, "and then also do English music after that."
Last Updated on Saturday, 28 December 2013 09:25