A handful of years ago, Gerardo Ortiz was unknown in regional Mexican music--then he was discovered on YouTube. Now, the singer/songwriter is becoming such an established name that even major celebrities in the genre are showing up at his concerts and rooting for the Pasadena-born entertainer who was raised in Mexico.
That was the case on Saturday (Oct. 8) when Ortiz performed in front of 7,000 fans in a sold-out show at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles. For emerging regional Mexican acts, the venue signifies a major milestone.
Watch the video for Gerardo Ortiz's "A La Moda"--a far cry from his YouTube beginnings:
In his dressing room, Ortiz looked over his final set list and made sure his team was ready for a night he had been anticipating for sometime-a night that included two bands, musical guests and a presentation by Sony executives.
"To be at a venue of this magnitude is a big deal for us," Ortiz said, who turned 22 on Oct. 5. "The fact that we sold out indicates that people are following the music and my career."
Singer Lupillo Rivera briefly was escorted to Ortiz's dressing room in order to congratulate the singer. Nearby was Nir Seroussi (GM/Sony Music Latin) and Jennifer Bull (marketing manager/Sony Latin Music) who were celebrating the night with the singer whose family was there, too, including his brothers William Ortiz, 24, and Kevin Ortiz, 16--both aspiring singers.
Regional Mexican singer Lupillo Rivera, left, visits with Sony Music Latin/Del Records's recording artist Gerardo Ortiz backstage. Rivera took his family to see Ortiz's milestone concert at the Nokia Theater. (Photo by Justino Águila)
The show included duets with Noel Torres, Kevin Ortiz and Regulo Caro. However, the music stopped for a few minutes when Sony's Seroussi gave Ortiz RIAA awards for moving units on albums "Entre Dios y El Diablo" and "Morir y Existir," which have gold status. A platinum award was also given to Ortiz for his CD, "Ni Hoy Ni Mañana."
(L-R) Jennifer Bull (Sony Music Latin/marketing manager), singer Gerardo Ortiz and Nir Seroussi (GM/Sony Music Latin) take some time to hang backstage before Ortiz hits the stage.(Photo by Justino Águila)
Through RIAA's Latin certification program "Premios de Oro y Platino," Ortiz's platinum award for "Ni Hoy, Ni Manana" reached the status on Sept. 1 - honoring 100,000 units shipped to U.S. retailers. His album "Morir y Existir En Vivo" receieved gold status on May 4, for 50,000 shipped, according to RIAA's site.
Ortiz's most recent album, "Entre El Dios y El Diablo," spent three weeks at No. 1 in September on the Top Latin Albums chart.
Backstage, Ortiz said he felt humbled to be receiving the awards, especially since he has been performing in front of audiences since he was 9 years old living in Mexico.
"We work very hard and it pleases me to know that fans and so many people in the music industry are being supportive," Ortiz said. "I have to tell you that it's also been a little stressful putting this show together in order to make it just right. Thankfully, it has all worked out."