Tito El Bambino on How 'Rico Suave' Singer Gerardo Encouraged Him to Connect With Fans in Quarantine

Tito El Bambino
©2019 Tito El Bambino Music

Tito El Bambino

Tito El Bambino is spending his quarantine at his farm in Puerto Rico, where he’s keeping healthy, creating music, and connecting with his fans through social media.

On April 18, the reggaeton artist -- born Efraín David Fines Nevares -- presented his first-ever virtual concert to keep his fans motivated during these trying times. In the 50-minute set that premiered on his YouTube channel, Tito performed classics such as “Mi Cama Huele A Ti,” “A Que No Te Atreves” and “El Amor.” His live stream was then followed by the worldwide premiere of his music video “El Meneo” in collaboration with Jowell & Randy.

But Tito’s quarantine activities do not end there.

Every week, he connects with motivational speakers and pastors, such as Marcos Yaroide and Christian music singer Marcos Witt on Instagram Live to keep his followers' faith alive during the global coronavirus pandemic. “Everything might be closed, but heaven is still open, and that is the most important thing,” Tito tells Billboard.

In the following Q&A with Billboard, Tito opened up about his motivational and spiritual lives, his life in quarantine, and even an upcoming single with Farruko.

Your virtual concert this past weekend was an entire showcase. You really went all out, and personally, I felt like I was watching you at the AmericanAirlines Arena even though I was in my living room.

It’s the first time I've done something like this. My son is always singing and dancing in my living room, but that’s something that’s intimate. For me to be able to actually host a virtual concert in the same place where my son likes to perform was great! I wanted to transmit that positive energy to the whole world.

You had an entire production team, you had your background vocalist, your DJ, you were dancing, interacting with the viewers -- did you feel any difference between a virtual show and your real concert?

It was the same process as my show, you know? In a show I sweat, I jump, I scream and I have a great time. My spiritual vision was that I was in front of 200,000 people and I made myself believe that. I always pray before jumping on stage, and that day I did the same. I asked God to send my vibes through the phone. Yes, I had my staff behind the scenes, but I was connected with my fans on the phone. I knew people were having a great time because they would tag me on their videos. It was such a great dynamic that I want to do another one!

As soon as you logged off from your YouTube live presentation, you surprised fans with your new single, “El Meneo” with Jowell & Randy. Tell us about this collaboration.

I feel so happy with this song because I feel that it revives the old-school reggaeton roots. Working with Jowell & Randy is always a pleasure because they transmit a lot of joy and energy. We have mutual respect for each other that grows each day. They are spectacular composers. Our song “Siente El Boom” is an explosion among our fans, and I feel that “El Meneo” is going that same path.

Did you have to pause any projects because of the current health crisis?

We had a lot of releases, singles, and videos ready since before quarantine, but we are rescheduling some of them. My virtual show and song with Jowell & Randy, for example, were going to be released on Holy Saturday, but since we respect Holy Week, we decided to move it to one week later.

Everyone is using Instagram Live and social media to stay connected with their fans, but you are using your platform to send positive messages by connecting with motivational speakers, pastors, and other important influencers. How was this initiative born?

That’s something that God put in my heart. He’s given me so much. I have been singing since I’m 13, I make a living out of my music, and I’ve always said that my fans are my family. It’s in hard moments like these that you realize who’s family and who’s not.

Two weeks before launching this initiative, Gerardo Mejía, who was the rapper that sang “Rico Suave” and is now a pastor, called me and told me that I should use my platform to send positive messages to people. At that time, I didn’t visualize it. Then I watched a live of praise and worship recording artist Zuleyka Barreiro, where she was singing her songs, and someone commented saying that they wanted to commit suicide. I reached out to the young man, we talked, and I helped him calm down.

When this was happening, God told me that I had to do these [Instagram] lives for my fans, who are like family to me. I launched my Instagram Lives without thinking about the criticism and dedicated my entire Holy Week to them. Every week, more and more people are connecting.

Your Instagram Lives are so crucial in challenging times like these, especially for those people who are alone in quarantine.

I’ll tell you the truth: When I made the first announcement, all I wanted from this was for one or two people to feel blessed but it’s been the contrary. Tons of people are connecting every night and the testimony that the pastors have received has been spectacular. We have had good guests that God has brought to this platform -- not because I’m Tito El Bambino, but because God is the one who has organized all of this. I feel happy. The testimonies have been incredible. Everything might be closed, but heaven is still open and that is the most important thing.

Do you remember the last thing you did before you had to go into self-quarantine?

I was working hard with my team, preparing all of my releases. There’s a collaboration with Farruko coming soon. It’s beautiful and it’s going to impact a lot of people.

Besides your Instagram Lives and virtual concert, what other creative ways are you spending your time at home?

At my home, I relax, I listen to music, read a book, I visit my mom, I have a great time when my son visits me, but I’m preparing myself physically, mentally and spiritually for when all of this is over. I’ll continue giving my fans good music and positive messages.

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