What started out as a playful freestyle quickly turned into a viral hit for Trinidad Cardona, the 18-year-old singer whose song “Jennifer” has already raked in over 18 million views on YouTube since it debuted back in June. As Cardona’s star — and video count — continues to rise, the singer has kicked off the new year on a good note as the newest signee to Island Records.
For Cardona, inking a deal with Island Records challenged the budding singer to rise to his full potential. “My signing with Island pushed me to develop my personality and character at a time I thought I couldn’t,” Trinidad exclusively tells Billboard. “I’m extremely excited to be on this roster! Dude, it’s like winning the lottery twice.”
The Afro-Mexican singer is a welcome addition to the Island Records roster, whose roots run deep in the Caribbean — having housed Caribbean greats like Bob Marley, Gregory Issacs, and more — and is behind some of music’s top-tier acts today. Island Records president and CEO David Massey says he noticed Cardona’s “musical talent, charisma, drive, and ambition” almost immediately and knew Island Records would be the appropriate place for Cardona to call home.
“I heard ‘Jennifer’ first and I was just really impressed with the song and the video and the charm of that. He’s got incredible energy and is brimming over with talent and just a star in my view,” Massey says. “For us it was an undeniable, sign-him-on-the-spot situation where we just wanted to commit to him immediately, which we did. There’s a lot of out-of-the-box success that doesn’t translate to a career all the time but with Island, what we’re very drawn to is long-term, career artists and for us, Trinidad is much more than a one video star.”
Cardona is preparing to unveil his new single “Dinero” ahead of his first-ever North American jaunt alongside Alex Aiono for the Feels Like Tour, beginning on Saturday (Jan. 13). Tickets for the Feels Like tour are available for purchase here.