Like many young men from Mexico's musical hotbed state of Sinaloa, Adan Romero started performing in a regional Mexican banda as a teenager.
Like many young men from Mexico's musical hotbed state of Sinaloa, Adan Romero started performing in a regional Mexican banda as a teenager. Having learned to play bass, trumpet and trombone as a child, he followed his older brother, a singer, into a musical career. But it was after going solo that Romero found his biggest rewards.
Romero, 27, had success playing shows and even got some airplay with his group, Banda Aires de Sinaloa. Not content to be a local, mostly touring act, Romero sought to develop his recording career.
"When you're in a band with a lot of different opinions, you're limited in your own goals," says Romero. "It wasn't important to me to not earn a lot, but I wanted to invest in the [album] so it would grow little by little. So when I saw I couldn't do it in a band, I left the group."
Taking his place in the band was singer-songwriter Espinoza Paz. With Paz' band and Romero occupying offices next door to each other in the same building, the two became close friends, sharing meals and compositions. Six years ago, Paz -- who would later become regional Mexican music's most in-demand songwriter and a successful solo act in his own right -- handed him a melancholy ballad, "Ahora Te Amo."
Romero sang the song live and eventually recorded it as a midtempo track, combining the brass of banda and the accordion of norteño, an increasingly popular fusion. The song was eventually re-named "Solo Un Dia," and it's at No. 33 this week on Billboard's Hot Latin Songs chart. "We rescued it, gave it a different style of music, another rhythm," says Romero. "And that's when the song surged."
But labels didn't come calling until Romero personally visited radio stations around Mexico, promoting the single on his own. Radio play in the important Mazatlan market led to the song being picked up in other parts of the country, and eventually to Romero getting signed by Los Angeles-based label La Sierra Records. The label is run by Romero's now manager and veteran show promoter Matias Mesa.
Romero, who wrote three songs on his album (also titled "Solo Un Dia") says Paz will contribute three songs to his next album. In the meantime, he's arrived in the U.S. for two months of promotion and performances at nightclubs and rodeos.
"We have to keep giving it the same touch, so it's important for us to keep in contact with Espinoza because he opened a lot of doors for us with that song," says Romero. Of the musicians working with him on his solo debut, he adds, "I invited three people I knew I could count on and I did the project and gave it everything."