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Draco Rosa

This name uses Spanish naming customs; the first or paternal family name is Rosa and the second or maternal family name is Suárez.
Draco Rosa
Más y Más" (feat. Ricky Martin) in January 2013
Background information
Birth name Robert Edward Rosa Suárez
Also known as Robi Draco Rosa
Robi Rosa
Draco
Mr. Blake
Dolores del Infante (in 1999)
Born (1969-06-27) June 27, 1969 (age 45)
Long Island, New York
Genres Rock: Latin, Alternative, Art, Experimental, Psychedelic, Indie
Electronic (as Mr. Blake)
Occupations Musician
Singer-Songwriter
Record Producer
Poet
Entrepreneur
Instruments Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Harmonica, Piano, Drums
Years active 1984—present
Labels Sony Latin
Associated acts Menudo
Maggie's Dream
Ricky Martin
Desmond Child
Ednita Nazario
Website

Draco Cornelius Rosa Suárez (born June 27, 1969), also known as Robi Draco Rosa, Draco Rosa or simply Draco, is an American-born Puerto Rican, multiple-time Grammy and Latin Grammy winning musician, singer-songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, poet and entrepreneur.

Draco Rosa was born Robert Edward Rosa Suárez in Long Island, New York to Puerto Rican parents and was raised in Peñuelas and Ponce. He is fluent in Spanish, English, German, Japanese and Portuguese.

He originally garnered fame as a member of boy band Menudo in the 1980s, singing lead on the band's biggest stateside hit, "Hold Me" and featuring prominently in the accompanying music video. After leaving the band he moved to Brazil where he released two albums, achieving mainstream success. Afterwards he moved to California and formed the band Maggie's Dream, which split after only one album, allowing him to resume his solo career. He has released numerous studio and experimental albums, and has composed multiple songs for Ednita Nazario, Julio Iglesias and former Menudo band-mate, Ricky Martin. He has also been featured on VH1's Behind the Music.

Rosa has been highly influenced by the works of Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Iggy Pop, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash, Luis Alberto Spinetta, The Doors, Camarón de la Isla, Caetano Veloso and Glenn Danzig. In 1996 he released the Latino alternative rock album Vagabundo produced by Phil Manzanera.

In 1988, at age 19, he made his motion picture debut in the film Salsa, which was a big hit in Puerto Rico. During the filming of the movie, he met actress Angela Alvarado who would later become his wife.

In the 1990s he helped launch Ricky Martin's musical career into a new global setting by writing and producing various of his hottest singles including María, La Vida Loca, La Copa de La Vida, She Bangs, and Shake Your Bon-Bon. Rosa toured with Lenny Kravitz during the summer of 2004 to promote his concept album Mad Love.[1]

In April 2011, Draco was diagnosed with a non-hodgkin lymphoma cancer near his liver. He underwent alternative and traditional treatment in Texas and California. This kept Draco in a hiatus for almost a year until his return in March 2012, when he started recording his latest album with "Vida", and gave a concert with Juan Luis Guerra and Rubén Blades at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico Jose Miguel Agrelot. In December 2012, he was declared cancer-free.

Career

Early years

At a young age, Rosa moved with his family to Puerto Rico, where he became a member of the increasingly popular band Menudo. During much of his tenure with the group, he would share the stage with a young Ricky Martin, which would eventually lead to a musical partnership between the two that proved instrumental in launching Martin's solo career. As the only member of Menudo who had a native grasp of English, Rosa sang lead vocals on many of the English-language tracks released by the group, including their biggest stateside hit, "Hold Me" (which prominently featured Rosa in the accompanying music video). However, Rosa started to grow disenchanted with the band, particularly after he was denied the opportunity to write songs for them. Rosa quit the group in 1987.

After moving to Barra Beach, Rio de Janeiro, he spent time with local artists, adding to his musical education. After releasing two commercially successful Portuguese-language solo albums, he moved to New York, where he formed a group by the name of "Maggie's Dream". The group's energy and stridency earned it a spot on tours with Fishbone, the Black Crowes, and Faith No More.

Wanting to extend the reach of his talents into other media, Rosa moved to Los Angeles. There, he swiftly landed the lead-role in the feature film Salsa, on the set of which he met his future wife, actress/director Angela Alvarado. Like Rosa, Alvarado was also born in New York to Puerto Rican parents.

He also appeared alongside Christopher Mitchum in a German film entitled Gummibärchen küßt man nicht. Rosa wrote, produced and performed two songs ("Angela" and "Little Woman") for the soundtrack of this film, which was released by RCA Records under his publishing company, Seiba Tree Music.

Rise to prominence

In 1993 a solo contract with Sony Music Latin, enabled him to record in Spain the first of his highly celebrated Spanish-language solo albums, Frío.

In between solo projects, Draco worked on Ricky Martin's A Medio Vivir. He co­-wrote and co-produced the majority of the songs on the album, including the hit single, "María," conquering a space on the Billboard Top 10. At the same time, he formed a band with former Circle Jerks member Zander Schloss called Sweet and Low, playing gigs around town.

The 1996 release of his second album, Vagabundo, recorded in England and produced by Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera, has been hailed as a "tour de force of introspective haunting tunes." Awards and titles were not lacking for the album either: the video for the song "Madre Tierra," directed by Angela Alvarado, won Best Rock Video in the 1997 Billboard Latin Music Awards; Vagabundo was included in Spin Magazine's 1997 Top 10 list of "greatest rock en español records of all time".

Entertainment Weekly named Rosa to their IT LIST of the 100 most creative people in the entertainment industry. Banco Popular included Rosa in its exhibit, "Acángana: 100 Años de la Música Puertorriqueña," ("Acángana: 100 years of Puerto Rican Music") which opened in the summer of 2000.

An English-language version of Frío, entitled Songbirds and Roosters was re­leased in 1998. As he toured with his songs from Puerto Rico.

Producer

Between 1998 and 1999, he wrote and recorded Ricky Martin's highly cele­brated first English album, which includes the now legendary single "Livin' la Vida Loca". The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard album charts, skyrocket­ing afterwards to an astounding 20 million albums sold worldwide. For Martin's album Sound Loaded (2000), Rosa produced four tracks, including the hit sin­gle She Bangs". The album was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album at the 42nd Grammy Awards. It won the American Music Award for Favorite Latin Artist and was nominated for the Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist. It was also nominated for the Juno Award for International Album of the Year at the Juno Awards of 2000. The album has sold over 22 million copies, worldwide.

Rosa also produced Corazón (1999), the platinum album of Ednita Nazario, for which he also wrote and produced the song “Más Grande Que Grande” under the name Dolores del Infante, which reached a spot in the Top 10 Latin Billboards for 10 weeks. Corazón was nominated for the 2000 Billboard Latin Music Award for Female Pop Album Of The Year.; he wrote and produced three songs for world- renowned singer Julio Iglesias' album, Noche De Cuatro Lunas (2000).

Music hiatus and arrest in Vieques

After many successful projects as a music producer, Draco decided to take a hiatus in 2000 and focus on other endeavors.

On April 9, 2001, Rosa, who was vehemently opposed to the government's use of Vieques as a training site, and had been a very vocal supporter of the environmental movement and the independence movement, was arrested alongside Senator Luis Gutiérrez, Edward James Olmos, Robert Kennedy Jr. and a group of protesters for civil disobedience when they invaded the U.S. Navy's security zone surrounding the Island of Vieques by boat. Rosa and others were forced by navy personnel to kneel on rocks during their detainment. They were not allowed a phone call nor were they provided any shelter during the night, and were forced to sleep outdoors in the rain while still handcuffed. They were transported the next day to Guaynabo Detention Center where they were processed.

Rosa was one of three singer/songwriters honored in Banco Popular's Christmas Special Encuen­tro (2002) alongside Juan Luis Guerra and Rubén Blades.

Mad Love

In 2002 Draco redirected his energies again toward his own music. While he worked on new material, he released Libertad del Alma, a compilation album which debuted at the top of the Latin Album Billboard chart based only on its sales in Puerto Rico. After two years of experimentation and sessions in studios around the world, Draco released Mad Love on March 30, 2004. With most songs in English, col­laborations with musicians from all over the world and two videos included in the CD—for "Dancing in the Rain" and "Lie Without a Lover," both directed by Angela Alvarado Rosa—Mad Love debuted at #2 on Billboard's Heatseeker charts and was considered the #1 Latin album of 2004 by New York's Newsday. The video for "Más y Más" (one of only four Spanish tracks on the album), also directed by Angela Alvarado Rosa, won the 2004 Latin Grammy Award for Best Video.

A few months after the release of Mad Love, Draco released another compila­tion album destined specifically for the Latin market entitled Como Me Acuerdo, which included four new tracks along with some of his most revered songs. He kicked off a long international tour to support both albums. The tour enabled him to step on stages in many major US cities, as well as Japan, Singapore, England, Spain, Germany, Denmark, Panama, Brazil, Colombia and Argentina, among others. In Bogota, Colombia in particular, he closed the 2004 Rock al Parque, a multitudinous all-day musical extravaganza with a crowd of 150,000 people.

Rosa ended the tour in his native Puerto Rico, where he sold out the island's recently opened new 18,000-seat arena, Coliseo de Puerto Rico Jose Miguel Agrelot. Entitled Draco al Natural, this last concert was the basis for a CD/DVD, a full-length documentary of the live performance directed by Draco's wife, Angela Alvarado Rosa, released in 2005. He capped 2005 with 7 sold out concerts at Centro de Bellas Artes in the month of September. Draco's independent spirit led him to seek release from his contract with Sony. This new freedom gave way to his second Spanish album, Vino re­leased in October 2008. Draco considers Vino a follow up to Vagabundo. Vino is included in his long awaited production "Draco: Limited Collector's Edition", along with "Teatro Live" DVD and a full color booklet. "Draco: Limited Collector's Edition" marks the return of one of music's most in­triguing and critically acclaimed artist of his generation.

Amor Vincit Omnia

Draco yet again honored his roots in 2009 with the release of "Amor Vincit Omnia" (Love Conquers All). A collection of songs with a heavy influence of Puerto Rican folk music. Songs like "Esto es Vida", "Amores de mi Calle" and "Espejismo" have the old-school feel of mountain music of yesteryear. The critically acclaimed album received a 2010 Grammy nomination for "Best Latin Rock Alternative Album" and received the Rock Record of the Year at Premios Lo Nuestro 2011 with two other nominations for Artist and Song of the Year. A successful tour followed culminating in Rock in Rio in Madrid, where Draco shared the main stage with Jane's Addiction and Rage Against the Machine.

Stage comeback and Vida

On January 28, 2012, Draco made a comeback to the public light after his long absence due to cancer treatment to announce a concert in which he will be sharing the stage with Juan Luis Guerra and Rubén Blades. The concert took place on March 30, 2012 at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico José Miguel Agrelot. Last time the three collaborated was nearly ten years before in the Banco Popular Christmas special Encuentro in 2002. To remember that collaboration, Draco's comeback was entitled "Encuentro".[2] Angelo Medina, producer of the event, announced on February 24, 2012, that the concert was quickly sold-out and a second concert was added for March 31.[3]

Both concerts premiered two of the multiple the collaborations planned for Draco's next album. Guerra joined Draco in "Esto Es Vida" and then Blades with "El Tiempo Va" alongside Draco. Both shows were such big hits that rumors quickly rose about two concerts that would've taken place in Dominican Republic and Panama, home places of Juan Luis Guerra and Rubén Blades respectively.

On October 16, 2012, Draco's manager and friend Angelo Medina announced that the release date of Draco's new album "Vida" had been pushed back from November 13, 2012 to February 2013 due to Rosa entering quarantine after a bone marrow transplant months before. "He's fine, he spent several months in the hospital, he was discharged and is at home in this process they call quarantine, but for 80 days, which fall due in December. Draco has been two years in this process and I am impressed by how brave he has faced the disease", said the producer.[4]

As a thank you to messages of hope and recovery, Draco released the music video to an unpublished version of his own rendition of Silent Night in both English and Spanish on December 23, 2012, filmed at his California residence.[5]

The first official single of "Vida" was released on January 6, 2013. The highly anticipated duet between Draco Rosa and fellow ex-Menudo member and long-time friend Ricky Martin on "Más y Más"[6] was released on iTunes weeks after Draco's quarantine expired and was declared cancer-free on December 31, 2012.[7] "After so many years of writing and doing projects together, I felt that the right right thing was this should be the first single. Ricky is one of the main artists with whom I've worked with, so it was a great idea to do such a pretty duet. It's that kind of things that are destined to happen", said Draco. Also, on said date, after completing his quarantine, Draco was declared cancer-free. A final statement was released on January 10, 2013, announcing that the official release date of "Vida" had been pushed back an additional month since Angelo Medina's October 2012 statement. The album's final release date would be March 19, 2013.

Although both artists are not seen in person for many years, Draco said Ricky was one of the many friends who gave him support in one of the most difficult stages that he lives, who has been fighting cancer for the past two years.[8] As part of the new projects, Draco and Ricky participated together in the recording of the single's music video in New York under the direction of Carlos Pérez. On January 14, 2013 Ricky martin Tweeted a photo of him and Draco with the caption "At the music video shoot of #MasYMas with my brother @dracorosa. #Vida".[9][10][11][12][13]

"Vida" was recorded in Spain, England, Mexico, Argentina, United States and Puerto Rico.[14]

The 2013 edition of the San Sebastian St. Festival, considered to be Puerto Rico's final Christmas celebration, was dedicated to Draco for his outstanding career.

The first live performance of the album took place at Premios Lo Nuestro 2013 where Draco and Ricky Martin shared the stage to perform live their single "Más y Más" for the first time since they were both in Menudo.[15][16]

On April 23, 2013, previous to the 2013 Billboard Latin Music Awards, Draco received the first Premio Conquistador given by the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame at the New World Center in Miami and presented to him by Rubén Blades. After the presentation of the award, Draco and Rubén shared the stage to perform a duet of "El Tiempo Va", included in "Vida". Two days after, Draco and Mexican band Maná performed "Penélope" together at the 2013 Billboard Latin Music Awards, held at the BankUnited Center in Miami on April 25, 2013.[17][18][19]

After making a special appearance at Alejandro Sanz's concert in Puerto Rico on May 12, 2013, in which both sang their duet of "Como Me Acuerdo", Draco and Sanz's duet was filmed and used for the music video released on October 21, 2013, which was removed from YouTube the same day.[20]

After making his first ever appearance at the Puerto Rican Day Parade on June 9, 2013 and performing at the Copacabana in Times Square on May 11, 2013, Draco confirmed that he will film the music video for duet of "Esto Es Vida" with Juan Luis Guerra in the Dominican Republic which he appraised during his illness as one of his "best compositions". "It was a strong moment in my life. They're important parts with serious people, important", he expressed.[21][22] Filming took place on June 17, 2013 at the ruins of the Engombe Sugar Mill in Santo Domingo. The video was directed by Guerra's own son, Jean Gabriel Guerra, a filmmaker.[23][24][25] The music video was released on August 14, 2013.[26]


Draco will return to the stage on December 6, 2013 at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico José Miguel Agrelot with a concert entitled "Draco Rosa & Friends". Many artists participating in "Vida" are expected to perform alongside Draco.[27][28] Draco announced that due to overwhelming demand, a second concert date was added for December 7, 2013.[29]

Personal life

Family

Rosa is married to actress Angela Alvarado with whom he has two sons, Revel and Redamo. He currently lives in Los Angeles, California.

Entrepreneurial life

Draco owns a recording studio, an independent music label and a multimedia company under the name of Phantom Vox. He also owns Hacienda Horizonte in the mountains of Vagabundo Clothing.

Puerto Rico's Chamber of Commerce awarded Draco with the Zenit award as Businessman of the Year.

Philanthropic work

Outside of his personal investments, musical and otherwise, he has also contributed towards the improvement of artistic and cultural life in Puerto Rico, sponsoring the island's Museo de Arte and Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, and setting up an annual scholarship for outstanding students at the Puerto Rico's Music Conservatory.

Arrest in Vieques

On April 9, 2001, Rosa, who was vehemently opposed to the government's use of Vieques as a training site, and had been a very vocal supporter of the environmental movement and the independence movement, was arrested alongside Senator Luis Gutiérrez, Edward James Olmos, Robert Kennedy Jr. and a group of protesters for civil disobedience when they invaded the U.S. Navy's security zone surrounding the Island of Vieques by boat. Rosa and others were forced by navy personnel to kneel on rocks during their detainment. They were not allowed a phone call nor were they provided any shelter during the night, and were forced to sleep outdoors in the rain while still handcuffed. They were transported the next day to Guaynabo Detention Center where they were processed.

Drug abuse

Shortly after leaving Menudo, Rosa started experimenting with drugs, and often drew inspiration from hallucinogens and alcohol for his songwriting. Although this generated heavy criticism, most of his fans did not seem to be bothered by this. Rosa has always been very open about the subject, even admitting that his wife, Angela, saved his life on at least one occasion. Rosa stopped taking drugs in 2005.[30]

Illness

On April 25, 2011, Rosa was diagnosed with cancer: a non-hodgkin lymphoma, near his liver.[31] He followed several alternative treatments, such as high vitamin C doses or neoplasmons treatment at the Burzynski Clinic in Houston. Finally, he underwent conventional treatments of chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation.[32] He was under quarantine in his California home until December 31, 2012, when Draco completed his quarantine and was declared cancer-free. On May 30, 2013, Rosa tweeted that his recent cancer study resulted negative, confirming he is completely cured of cancer. His tweet read: "Familia: I went in yesterday for a pet scan. Today my results came in; I'm free. So happy!! #cancerfree #celebration#love #faith #gratitude" (sic).[33]

Discography

With Menudo

With Maggie's Dream

Solo

Live albums

  • Draco Al Natural (2005)[43]
  • Teatro Live (2008)[44]
  • 731 Ensayos Al Natural (2009)[45]

Extended Plays

  • La Pena Negra (2011)[46]
  • Forest of Numbers (Rock It!) (2012)[47]

Experimental works

  • Heronepheus "King of the Void" (2011)[48]

Soundtracks

Tours

  • Más Allá del Rock
  • Re-Vive el Teatro
  • Draco Rosa: Libre, Natural, Puro
  • Mad Love Tour
  • Draco y su Paraíso
  • Vagabundo Por El Mundo World Tour (Sometimes referred as the Amor Vincit Omnia Tour, supporting the album of the same name)

Filmography

  • Salsa (1988)
  • Homens de Verdade não Mascam Chiclete (1988)
  • Gummibärchen küßt man nicht (1989)
  • Livin’ the Life (1999) (Music Director)
  • Encuentro (alongside Rubén Blades and Juan Luis Guerra) (2002)
  • Draco Al Natural (2005)
  • Draco: Limited Collector's Edition (2007)
  • Teatro Live (2008)

Composer and Producer

Year Artist Album
1998 Ricky Martin "Vuelve"
1999 "Ricky Martin"
Ednita Nazario "Corazón"
2000 Ricky Martin "Sound Loaded"
Julio Iglesias "Noche De Cuatro Lunas"

External links

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • YouTube
  • Internet Movie Database

See also


References

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