“We believe that all our albums were Grammy-deserving, we don't doubt it. But it arrived when it had to arrive,” guitarist and bass guitarist Omar Silva tells Billboard.
Ahead of the 2021 Grammys on Sunday night, Billboard talked with bandmembers Willie Rodriguez, Juanqui Sulsona and Silva about their nomination. Read the Q&A below:
Sobrevolando is a very eclectic album, fusing reggae with other musical influences. What was your source of inspiration during these nearly 10 years of not releasing an album, especially with the rapid evolution of Latin music?
Willie Rodriguez: I would say our first inspiration is our own work that continues to form part of our daily lives. The decisions we make every day and the things that we’ve said and still need to say. We always trace back to emblematic musicians that have moved us to create music, from Bob Marley and other 70’s reggae exponents from Jamaica. Our own artists in Puerto Rico, obviously, that were our school from when we were born such as Cheo Feliciano, Hector Lavoe, and Willie Colon. On the soul side, you can hear some Sam Cook, Al Green, Marvin Gaye, and Eryka Badu. Silvio Rodriguez, but you can’t hear it literally because it goes through the band’s filter. That’s what makes our music have a unique personality.
With this album, you won the first Latin Grammy of your career. What was your intention with this set, and why do you think this one, specifically, won the award?
Omar Silva: The intention of all our albums is to be better than the last and we’ve done that. For this album, we made many risky decisions. We detached from our traditional sound mixing with the legendary Errol Brown and decided to mix our music with Ben Kane, who basically co-produced the album with us. That was very important because we mixed several albums digitally and with “Sobrevolando” we returned to the analog consoles with all the effects, and that put the quality of the album at another level. Besides that, we have a new drummer, Bebo, who gave us a fresh sound.
Rodriguez: It’s important to mention that from “La Dulzura” onwards, the group's perception changed a lot. How people perceived us. In “Sobrevolando” we were as assertive as “La Dulzura” but with the protest lyrics that have characterized us before. “La Dulzura” is an easier album to listen to because they are relatable songs you can dedicate. No matter what people have experienced socially, everyone falls in love. We needed to live all of this and have the maturity that we have today to be effective, and that intention is well placed on this album.
Can you take us back to the time you found out you were nominated for the Grammys?
Juanqui Sulsona: I believe Ben Kane submitted the project to the Grammys and we were surprised when he did. We didn’t think it would be possible to have so many back-to-back blessings. We got a little incredulous but we have been assuming and processing all of the great news during these crazy times.
What are your expectations for Sunday night?
Rodriguez: High! We confide a lot in our work, but at the same time, it’s a bittersweet sensation because we’ve formed part of an industry that it’s difficult to compete in as an independent artist. We believe a lot in what we do because we do it with the best of intentions. We’re competing with lots of talented artists and we’re aware that anything can happen, but we have good energies from now.
The 63rd annual Grammy Awards will air live on Sunday (March 14) at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on CBS, Paramount+ and Grammy.com. Online viewers can also stream CBS with free trials on fuboTV and Sling TV. (Billboard may receive affiliate commission through links on our site.)