The room at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Miami Beach was packed, standing room only, for the most anticipated interview of this year’s Billboard Latin Music Conference: The Superstar Q&A with Romeo Santos.
Santos, the former Aventura frontman whose rise to stardom has peaked this year with six awards at Premios Los Nuestro — the most of any artist — sat down for an intimate chat with Billboard Latin Director of Programming and Content Leila Cobo — and spilled out a few surprises along the way.
So, for those who weren’t there, here are ten things you may not have known about Romeo Santos before Wednesday:
1. As a child, he wanted to be an artist — of the visual kind not the musical kind. He thought he could draw well. Until his cousin showed him his own illustrations. “I retired that day,” Santos said.
2. He plays basketball to stay in shape.
3. He is a Julio Iglesias fan.
4. He travels with an audio recorder in his pants pocket. He might be in the middle of a conversation when he says, “Hold up, hold up,” and heads to a men’s room to record a melody.
5. The movie Enough, starring Jennifer Lopez as a battered wife, impacted him and inspired the lyrics for Aventura‘s “Hermanita.”
6. Only three of the 16 songs he recorded with Aventura are about infidelity.
7. “Obsession” was originally composed to be sung as a duet with another man. “It wasn’t going to be a girl. It was going to be my cousin. But it would look kind of weird.” The song became Aventura’s biggest hit — and he eventually became sick of it. Especially after a private party for a millionaire, where all Aventura performed for 45 minutes was “Obsession” and “La Bamba.”
8. He does not wear pajamas.
9. After he made it big, he bought his mother two houses. She has lived in neither, preferring to remain in the neighborhood where he grew up in the Bronx. “I want her to move out. It’s not the best neighborhood.”
10. The first thing he looks at in a woman? Her feet. “Yes, I have a foot fetish. It’s a feature I do appreciate.”