Gabriel Mora Quintero might have skipped class while in college, but on his debut album, he made sure everyone knew school was in session.
On Primer Día de Clases (First Day of School), artists such as Lunay, Farruko, Jhay Cortez, Mariah, among others, are in attendance, joining forces with Puerto Rican singer-songwriter and producer Mora, who dropped his first-ever album on Feb. 5.
The eclectic 16-track set, powered by trap, slow-tempo reggaeton, tropical and nostalgic tunes, follows Mora’s debut on Billboard‘s Hot Latin Songs chart thanks to “Una Vez” with Bad Bunny from YHLQMDLG. The track debuted and peaked at No. 18 on Hot Latin Songs chart (dated March, 14, 2020) and at No. 17 on Latin Streaming Songs (same chart date).
“When I saw my name on the [Billboard] charts, I honestly thought it was Photoshop,” Mora tells Billboard. “I thought someone was playing with my feelings. It was weird because I never imagined this could happen, but it was motivation and it sort of confirmed that I was on the right path.”
A mastermind behind Bunny’s chart-topping and record-breaking albums (YHLQMDLG and El Último Tour del Mundo), Mora began producing tracks in 2015 with his cousin who was a producer in Puerto Rico. “When I graduated high school, I thought, ‘What am I going to do with my life?’ I went to college to study business administration, but two weeks later, I was like, ‘This is not for me.'”
So he skipped classes during his first semester and would go to his cousin’s house to watch him produce. Before launching his own singing career dropping tracks on SoundCloud, he produced songs for local rappers such as Eladio Carrion and Jon Z.
In 2018, he released his hit song “Que Habilidad,” which caught the attention of Noah Assad, Bunny’s manager and CEO of indie label Rimas Entertainment. “Some of Benito’s friends were big fans of the songs and that song that led me to Noah. Rimas reached out and after a month, I was signed.”
It was then he started writing for Bad Bunny and other artists while also working on Primer Día de Clases on the side. “After YHLQMDLG was released that I thought, ‘OK, now I’m going to focus on my stuff.’ So I started recording my album like a year ago, and my vision was to create a set that showcased my versatility. There’s something for everyone there.”
Learn more about this week’s Latin Artist on the Rise below:
Name: Gabriel Mora Quintero
Major Accomplishment: “I’d say to be able to survive doing what I love most and that thanks to music, I can help my family. That’s important for me. I’m doing what I love instead of doing something I’d regret, like sitting in an office for 12 hours doing something that would not fulfill me.”
Recommended Song: “It’s hard to just pick one song. If I just pick one, I’d be lying to you. If I can, I suggest fans listen to the entire album Primer Día de Clases because each song has its own identity.”
What’s Next: “I’m a person that takes it one day at a time. And even more now with the pandemic because you don’t know what can happen. If it was up to me, I’d tour the world and serenade my fans. For now, I will continue to make music. I released my album on a Friday, and by Sunday, I was back in the studio. I’m the type of person that doesn’t stop. I can’t stop.”