Latin

20 Questions With Guaynaa: Puerto Rican Artist on Paying Homage to Mexico in 'Monterrey'

Guaynaa
Walter Antonio Beddoe Monroy

Guaynaa

After making the rounds with the Lele Pons-assisted “Se Te Nota” -- and confirming his relationship with the multi-platform star -- Guaynaa officially kicked off 2021 with the party-starting single “Monterrey.”

The cumbia sonidera with hints of perreo, produced by Pain Digital, tells the story of a man falling head-over-heels for an older woman "who is 37 but looks 26," and who he met in the city of Monterrey in Mexico. But the song is much more than a witty, flirtatious bop: It’s also an homage to one of the Latin American cities that supported his career from the beginning.

"[Monterrey] was made with a lot of love dedicated to the people of Monterrey," Guaynaa tells Billboard. "That's where my career picked up after Puerto Rico. It's a song that says a lot about who Guaynaa is, and the concept I've been defending."

In the Old West-style music video, filmed at the estate of Spanish Conquistador Hernán Cortés in Mexico, Guaynaa notably references Pancho Villa. "I think Pancho Villa is an interesting man,” the artist says. “He symbolizes resistance and revolution. For me, he’s an icon.”

Below, check out Billboard’s 20 questions with Guaynaa.

1. Describe your new single “Monterrey” in one word:

Astonishing.

2. In celebration of your new song, what do you like most about Mexican culture?

Its resistance.

3. What’s so special about Monterrey?

The people, the tacos al pastor, the Cerro de la Silla mountain. There’s a lot of things I can say.

4. What was Lele Pons' reaction when she heard your single?

She LOVED the song and the music video. She said it looks like a movie.

5. What are you most looking forward to in 2021?

Good health.

6. What’s the first piece of music that you bought for yourself, and what was the medium?

The first CD I bought was Wisin & Yandel’s De Otra Manera. I remember they were shirtless on the cover, and only had their bling on.

7. What was the first concert you saw?

The first concert? Wow! I can’t remember it at all.

8. What did your parents do for a living when you were a kid?

My dad was a supervisor, and my mom worked in Human Resources at the same food chain in Puerto Rico. That’s where they met, and later on had me.

9. Who made you realize you could be an artist full-time?

Myself. I’m the first one who believed in myself and told myself that I could do this -- especially after “Rebota” -- that I already had an audience. The challenging part is releasing more music and dedicating yourself to this.

10. What’s at the top of your professional bucket list?

Performing at the Viña del Mar Festival, and becoming the first urban artist to perform at music festivals in India and Turkey. [Also to] become the No. 1 artist on Spotify, and much more.

11. How did your hometown/city shape who you are?

My grandfather would cut sugarcane on his farm, and he would take me when I was a little kid. We would listen to Andres Jimenez’s jibaro [Puerto Rican folk] music on the way to the farm. All those memories have helped me stay grounded, and be a person enriched in culture. I think it’s important to know where we come from and where we are to know where we’re going.

12. What’s the last song you listened to?

I can’t remember, but I think it’s an English song. I was watching TikToks with Lele and she began singing it, but I don’t even know the name of it.

13. If you could see any artist in concert, dead or alive, who would it be?

Juan Gabriel, Ricardo Montaner, Natalia Jimenez, Bob Marley, Selena Quintanilla, Hector Lavoe, Gustavo Cerati, Jarabe de Palo. I give a different type of concert, but I would have loved or love to see them in concert because it’s another vibe.

14. What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen happen in the crowd of one of your sets?

I think some of my fans have confused me for a stripper, because when I’m dancing and singing, they would stick dollar bills in my pants. Another time I got food intoxication and wanted to vomit during a show in Puerto Rico. My backup singer had to fill in for me while I went to the bathroom. In the end, I got back on stage and finished the show.

15. What’s your karaoke go-to?

Vicente Fernandez’s “El Rey,” Enanito Verdes’ “Lamento Boliviano” and “Luz de Dia,” Jarabe de Palo’s “La Flaca,” and Calle 13’s “Atrevete”

16. What movie, or song, always makes you cry?

A Star is Born.

17. What TV series have you watched all the way through multiple times?

I don’t like repeating series, but I did enjoy watching Money Heist and Netflix’s new documentary on Latin Rock’s history Rompan Todo. I highly recommend it. It’s spectacular.

18. What’s one thing that even your most devoted fans don’t know about you?

Visiting Iceland is at the top of my personal bucket list.

19. If you were not a musician, what would you be?

I was studying engineering, so I’d probably be a chemical engineer -- or a frustrated chemical engineer.

20. What’s one piece of advice you would give to your younger self?

Discipline, discipline, and discipline. This is a long-term career. Discipline is liberty, and it’s everything!