From an early age, Sech learned that there are usually two contrasting roads in life and that with each decision made there could be stark consequences. A naturally observant kid, he documented everything he saw on the streets of his native Panama. He noted the hardships that accompany bad choices and, perhaps more importantly, he recognized the rewards that came with faith and hard work. He’d ask himself, “Will I take the good path or the bad one?” But to become great, he knew there was only one way to go and Sech was destined for greatness.
Before Sech became one of the hottest exports of contemporary Latin pop, Carlos Isaías Morales Wiliams was born in Río Abajo to two pastors. He first developed his musical chops at church, performing choir duties as a drummer and later a pianist and singer — but the streets were charged with “another flow,” as he recalls. That flow was driven by reggae en español, Panama’s home-grown precursor to reggaeton that was introduced to the world by genre-pioneers like El General and Panama City’s Nando Boom. “El General broke one barrier, then Flex another, Joey Montana another, La Factoría, Eddie Lover, Makano and many other artists,” Sech says of their international impact. “They seeded the idea that this dream is possible,” he muses. “That you can be a big artist from such a small country.”
During his adolescent years in Panama, Sech discovered the beats of fellow compatriot DJ Seven and immediately delved into production software like FruityLoops (now known as FL Studio). He spent sleepless nights plugging away at his newfound love for beat-making. “I’d stay up until 9 or 10 AM working on my computer, until I got better and better,” he recalls. “I swear I never spent my time outside the studio […] I had faith that with hard work and effort, I could one day do something in music.” After cutting his teeth as a producer, songwriting came next. Meanwhile, the young artist supported his craft by working day jobs in the food service and construction industries.
From 2014 to 2017, the hopeful artist released a slew of dancehall-tinged songs online but he desired a level of success that had eluded him up to that point. In fact, he almost called it quits until a friend encouraged him to give it one more shot. The release that followed, a melodic ballad titled “Miss Lonely,” would go on to be his creative breakthrough. The 2017 hit single was produced by Dímelo Flow, a Miami-by-way-of-Panama super-producer who would soon help catapult Sech into an overnight national sensation.
“When we get to the hotel [to perform in Panama], I take a quick nap, and when I wake up, [my team] tells me, ‘the club is super packed. Get ready to sing!’ I say ‘sure,’ but when I arrived, there was literally no room for one more person, bro.,” he recalls. Shortly after, “Miss Lonely” went viral in Colombia and its international acclaim led to Sech inking a recording contract with the rapidly rising indie label Rich Music in 2018.
In the following year, the 26-year-old Panamanian skyrocketed from emerging artist to bona fide superstar thanks to his genuine, streetwise musical approach. His meteoric rise was largely buoyed by his 2019 R&B-reggaeton banger “Otro Trago,” featuring Darell, cementing him as one of Latin pop’s most promising breakout stars. The smash hit peaked at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart and clocked in at over half a billion views on YouTube.
Since the release of his chart-topping single, Sech has put out a pair of critically-acclaimed albums – 2019’s Sueños and his recent 2020 follow up 1of1. Collectively, the two records have racked up five Latin Grammy nominations and their success has positioned Sech to view artists he once idolized as peers. Despite the excitement of it all, the Panamanian crooner insists that the accolades and notoriety haven’t changed him. As he puts it, “I always remember that I’m Carlos, the one who sings and that’s it.”
Music has taken him to parts of the world that he likely couldn’t imagine as a kid growing up in Rio Abajo, and yet, his focus remains fixated on home. And though he’s only at the beginning of his journey, he already has his sights set on the end goal – to become a music icon for all of Panama. With imagination and determination, he was able to make his “sueños” materialize and now his attention has turned to furthering the aspirations of his countrymen. “If I become an icon where I’m from do you know how many people will be inspired?” he ponders. “If I do it, I really think it’ll be easier for others who are coming up in my country. I hope everyone sees what was done, what is being done and [believes] they can do it too.”