Reggaeton Star Yandel Ready to Make His Solo Mark With HBO Latino Concert Special

Michael Loccisano//Getty Images for HBO Latino
Yandel attends the HBO Latino red carpet premiere of the "Camino Al Concierto and Legacy: De Lider a Leyenda" at Center 548 on April 7, 2015 in New York City. 

"The fans are beginning to understand... 'Wow, he wasn't born glued to Wisin!'" Yandel tells Billboard.

Reggeaton singer Yandel, half of celebrated reggaeton duo Wisin & Yandel, premieres his first solo concert,  Yandel:  Legacy - De Líder a Leyenda Tour, on HBO Latino at 8 p.m. ET on Friday (April 10).

"This was my first concert [as a solo act],” the singer told Billboard. “With the duo, I did 17 sold-out performances at the arena and, for this concert, I wanted to make sure that everything was perfect.”

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The concert was filmed at Coliseo Jose Miguel Agrelot in San Juan, Puerto Rico, last fall, and Yandel (real name Llandel Veguilla Malavé Salazar) said it marked a turning point in his career, as he struggled to create a solo identity after years as Wisin & Yandel.

The duo parted ways in 2013, and both artists have released solo material since.

"I'm going to be honest: A lot of people ask me why we split when everything was OK,” Yandel said. "Some people don't understand that I -- as an artist and a person -- I want to make my own decisions and create the music that I personally like. I think now the fans are beginning to understand,” he laughed. “Now they can say something like: 'Wow, he wasn't born glued to Wisin.'"

Yandel’s first solo album, De Lider a Leyenda, debuted at No. 1 on Top Latin Albums on Nov. 23, 2013, and spent 13 weeks at No. 1 on the Latin Rhythm Albums chart. His first three singles from the album all reached the top 10 on Hot Latin Songs: “Hable de Ti” (No. 5, Oct. 12, 2013), “Hasta Abajo” (No. 9, Feb. 22, 2014) and “Moviendo Caderas” feat. Daddy Yankee (No. 10, May 24, 2014).

While establishing his own brand has been hard, "The music is the heart of my success. The movements that I've done are very interesting,” he added, referring to the different fusions he’s explored.  

Regarding the rumors of a possible reunion with Wisin, he demurred, saying right now both are working hard on their own projects.

Yandel's new album, Dangerous, will be released in November, and his new single "Calentura" is already out.  "I'm going back to the reggaeton roots with this song,” he said.

The Yandel: Legacy - De Líder a Leyenda Tour special was acquired by HBO Latino from Sony Music Latin, Yandel’s label, and it’s the first urban concert the channel will broadcast.

Previous to the concert, HBO Latino will also air a half-hour special titled Yandel: Camino al Concierto ("Yandel: Road to the Concert") leading up to the show.  The documentary will show Yandel among family and friends and visiting his favorite haunts in Puerto Rico, plus behind-the-scenes footage before hitting the stage. Wisin, Tego Calderón, Farruko and salsa singer Gilberto Santa Rosa make cameos in support of his concert preparation. 

Watch a teaser of Yandel: Legacy - De Líder a Leyenda Tour here: