After chart-topping producer-songwriter Edgar Barrera, a longtime collaborator of Camilo’s, introduced him to the up-and-coming norteño duo from Coahuila, Mexico, “I fell in love with their music the first day I listened to them,” the Grammy-nominated artists confesses. “Edgar had been following them already so I started listening to all their music.”
Their music — traditional norteña songs powered by a bajo quinto and an accordion — is new, but familiar, territory to Camilo, who made a name for himself thanks to his eclectic rhythmic pop fusions. “Regional Mexican music is also very ours as Colombians. I remember my parents would have family gatherings and they’d drink aguardiente with green mango while listening to corridos, rancheras and boleros. So, that sonority has been with me since I was little — it’s not foreign, and it’s a part of my sound.”
Eventually, Camilo and Los Dos Carnales — comprised of brothers Poncho Jr. and Imanol Quezada — were able to link up thanks to a mutual contact between Barrera and the duo. After meeting formally (over a virtual call), they created their first song together titled “Tuyo Y Mío (Yours And Mine)” that appears on Camilo’s Mis Manos, which dropped Thursday (March 4).
“To be able to collaborate with Edgar and Camilo is something we never imagined would happen,” Poncho says. “We were a little worried at the beginning because we really didn’t know if he was going to sing our style or if we were going to sing his style but when he told us he wanted it to be a norteña, it was an honor.”
The end result is an achingly beautiful track about love and growing old with your significant other. “I like you and I want to be with you an entire lifetime. By your side, I want to grow old. With you, the future seems prettier,” Camilo sings. “Every time I dream, I dream of the same thing,” adds Poncho. “How beautiful would it be to have a kid that’s yours and mine.”
Below, Camilo and Los Dos Carnales tell Billboard how their unique collaboration was born:
Camilo: When I first heard them on Instagram they were singing “El Borracho.” I got very curious and they had a great impact on me. First, because they sang one minute of their song even before it was released, I mean, how generous? And secondly, I l just fell in love with the song — [as well as] their talent playing instruments, their voices and, above all, how proud they are of their roots.
Los Dos Carnales: When we had the first video chat with Camilo about a month or so ago, he told us he was a fan and he started singing some of our songs, including “El Borracho” and “El Envidioso.” We’re obviously fans of his too. Our family and our kids listen to his music so imagine when they heard we were collaborating with him.
Camilo: After I started listening to their music, I couldn’t play they way they played even after watching their YouTube videos. The way they position their hands on the guitar was different. But then I found out that it wasn’t a guitar, it’s a bajo quinto, so I became really intrigued by the instrument. Edgar bought me my first bajo quinto, and I’ve been studying everything they do because their sound went directly to my heart.
Los Dos Carnales: When they told us there was a possibility to record something with Camilo, we were a little worried at the beginning — because we really didn’t know if he was going to sing our style, or if we were going to sing his style — but when he told us he wanted it to be a norteña, it was an honor. He said he had an idea and sent over a voice note singing half of the song he had written. We then wrote our part in a studio in Monterrey and met up with him a few days ago to shoot the music video in the outskirts of Nuevo León, close to our hometown Coahuila.
Camilo: I remember perfectly when I sent them the song. I don’t think I’ve been so embarrassed sending over a voice note to someone like I was with them because I was trying to play the guitar the way I imagined Poncho Quezada would sound playing his bajo quinto. Obviously, I didn’t get it right — but I sent it, and the next day they went into the studio and they recorded a voice note singing their part. And of course, the song made more sense the moment I heard it with their voices and instruments.
Los Dos Carnales: We struggled a bit to find that balance because he sings on a higher note while we’re deep-toned. But when we heard the song with all of our voices, it sounded great. Our roots are very much part of the song, and for an artist like him to appreciate our music well it’s just amazing. We’re so happy. Thank God he wanted to record our style — but if had wanted us to record his style, we would’ve gladly done it too.
Camilo: I had been dying to sing regional Mexican because of how much love and respect I have for it, and also to give back to Mexico, a country that has given me so much love. It’s an homage to that sound that I’ve admired so much. From this experience, I first and foremost take away two new, loyal friends who have an incredible heart. Two artists I want to learn from every day. I take away feeling closer to Mexico because it is an important part of my heart, career, my guitar and my desire to go and sing this song with Los Dos Carnales live one day. Hopefully soon.
Los Dos Carnales: It was beautiful to team up with Camilo because we may come from different countries but we have something in common that identifies both Mexico and Colombia and that’s music. It was an honor to sing with Camilo. He’s a great human being, we loved his vibe and he’s a person we appreciate so much, la neta (honestly).