Indio is synonymous with talent, voice, an unforgettable image, perseverance, faith and a steel will. His name exemplifies Puerto Rico’s ethnic fusion, and he arrives just in time to invigorate the pool of young salsa interpreters. Indio launches his career in the salsa genre, but he also excels in singing a powerful ballad.
The first single, “Quiero Amar A Otra” (a duet with Brenda K. Starr), of the album, “Taíno, de Puerto Rico para el mundo”, went all the way to sixth place on the Billboard Hot 100 chart; seventh on BDS (which measures radio stations across the United States); and to fourth place on the Zol radio station in Miami.
Indio was part of the tribute in honor of salsa legend Héctor Lavoe that was produced by renowned musical producer Ralph Mercado, now deceased. In this event, Indio shared the stage with some of salsa’s greatest artists, such as Willie Colón, Oscar D’ León, Cheo Feliciano, Ismael Miranda, La India and Domingo Quiñones. Indio’s talent was also on display on the Daily News stage during the 116th Street Festival in New York City, and during the famous Puerto Rican Day Parade, on New York’s Fifth Avenue.
His story begins in Patterson, New Jersey, in the same neighborhood where two of his biggest influences, Frankie Ruiz and Domingo Quiñones, also grew up.
Thanks to his Puerto Rican heritage, Indio is passionate about music. Indio’s father and one of his uncles played string instruments such as the tres, the cuatro and the second guitar. “My father recorded four albums and my uncle one, of traditional Puerto Rican Christmas music,” remembers Indio. “The first song that I remember having sung with my dad was ‘La Última Copa’. I sang it when I was eight years old… I also liked to sing ‘Te Estoy Buscando’, a 1956 song that Lucha Reyes sang.” New York’s urban “Nuyorican” culture, as well as the influences of Puerto Rico’s countryside – where he lived with his grandmother, in the small town of El Duque – and a taste for the classics, anchor Indio musically.
At age 19, at a New York club, Indio saw Domingo Quiñones. Without any hesitation, he approached the singer and simply asked him to listen to him sing. “The next day, I auditioned for him and he liked what I did so much, that the following Monday, I was in his studio recording an album.” Unfortunately, because of circumstances beyond their control, the album was never released. Nine long years passed before Indio was able to fulfill his goal.
In the midst of all this waiting, Indio worked as a cable technician, but never once did he forget about his music. He also remained close to the music industry, frequently doing vocals for other artists such as Cuban salsa singer Guianko “Yanko” Gómez.
In 2003, Indio suffered a serious automobile accident that almost cost him his life. He was so gravely injured that he spent four years in bed. Three surgeries, four screws and two metal plates in his back, plus a lot of faith and persistence, had him up on his feet once more. “I had to learn how to walk again, how to move my arms. It was like being born again,” he says. “I remember that one day, while in bed, I was listening to the radio and I heard one of my friends singing. Then and there I thought, ‘That’s where I want to be.’ From that moment on, I concentrated and put three times the amount of effort in trying to recuperate,” he adds. Indio not only was able to walk again, but he also returned to sports and to the healthy lifestyle he had once led.
Indio proudly sports numerous tattoos, and each one tells a story. “My body is not tattooed because it is a fad or because of an image. Each tattoo has a very deep meaning for me. My right arm has the Virgin Mary, the Bible, the symbol for cancer, Calvary, and an image of Jesus. The other arm has the symbol of Puerto Rico, a palm tree and an angel. On my back, there’s an angel with huge wings, and on my chest, the image of one of my sisters, who succumbed to cancer,” he explains. Cancer has been a disease closely linked to Indio’s life, since three of his seven sisters have suffered from it, and two have died because of it. Today, the efforts on behalf of cancer prevention or in support of its victims are a priority for this artist. In fact, the track he chose to be the second single of his album,
“Cómo Sería”, was composed by Colombian singer/songwriter Soraya, who died of cancer. “It’s a very important song for me. I listen to it and I cry. When I recorded it, I put all my soul into it,” he says.
Indio, an audacious musical proposition.
Voice, attitude and a resolute will.
Angela Rodríguez (305) 441-7976