Gustavo Laureano has long enjoyed success as the lead singer of Puerto Rican rock band La Secta Allstar. Now the singer, songwriter, guitar and piano player is enjoying his new guise as a peddler of his diverse musical influences on his debut Universal Latino solo album.
“Kingcallero del Amor” incorporates power ballads, reggaeton, electronic dance and soul. The title is a reference to his grandfather, who sold everything from candy to silver trinkets out of a pushcart.
“This record is for open minds, definitely,” says Laureano, noting that diversity is natural, given the ways technology has enabled musical discovery. “It’s hard for a kid these days not to like hip-hop, reggaeton and pop.”
Before fronting his own rock band, Laureano was influenced by the music he grew up listening to: classic Latin pop from Jose Jose and Juan Gabriel, plus ’80s Anglo-pop from Culture Club and Madonna.
Coming from Puerto Rico, where reggaeton rules, it was a natural choice for Laureano to collaborate on his solo album with rappers Gocho, Santana and Eddie D. He’s also performed with La Secta Allstar alongside salsa greats like Cheo Feliciano.
On “Kingcallero,” which was co-produced by Argentina’s Marteen, Laureano moves into modern mash-up territory, with pop, rap and reggaeton mixes of “Suavecito,” house-tinged “Star Shine” and the dubby “La Novela.”
“There’s no way I could’ve done a rock record only,” he says. “In the market today, you need to do more than you used to. You need to feed your people with your music.”
Laureano’s fans, in turn, have shown an appetite for his solo album. “Kingcallero del Amor” debuted at No. 9 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart. Single “Enamorado,” a catchy sing-along rock anthem (“Oh-oh-oh…enamorado”) debuted on the Hot Latin Songs chart at No. 50.
Even with a solo project under his belt, Laureano continues to record with La Secta Allstar. The band hopes to release an album by the end of the year.
“Even with La Secta, we traveled in a lot of styles,” he says. “But in this record, I’m showing you… the other part of me creatively, that likes to write with a free spirit.”