Join us as we celebrate the king of bachata on his 35th birthday by taking a look at some of his most important career milestones. He's just getting warmed up!
In the Beginning
Born July 21, 1981 in the Bronx, N.Y., to a Dominican father and a Puerto Rican mother, Anthony "Romeo" Santos was destined for superstardom.
Aventura Breaking the 'Rules'
Santos' journey toward superstardom began with the bachata boy band Aventura, which included Santos, Lenny Santos (no relation to Romeo), Lenny's brother Max, and Romeo's cousin Henry. The group took their parents' traditional music from the Dominican Republic and made it cool for bilingual kids in the U.S. Though the bachateros had been releasing music since 1995 (when they were known as Los Tinellers) one song from Aventura's 2002 album We Broke the Rules proved that bachata was more than a passing fad. That song was "Obsesión [Obsession]" -- and that's exactly what we felt the first time we heard it.
White House Performance
You knew Aventura had made it when they got an invitation in October 2009 to perform at a special concert titled "Fiesta Latina," hosted by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on the South Lawn of the White House. Other Latin music greats invited to perform that year were Gloria Estefan, Thalía, Sheila E., and Marc Anthony.
Selling Out MSG
In 2010, Aventura sold out four nights at New York City's famed Madison Square Garden -- a historic feat and one which would prepare Santos for a series of performance milestones to come in his career as a solo artist.
In 2011, Santos announced he was leaving Aventura to pursue a solo career. He hit the ground running with his first solo album Formula Vol. 1, which experimented with R&B and flamenco and featured crossover collaborations with Usher and Lil Wayne. It was certified three times platinum by the RIAA and spent a total of 55 weeks on Top Latin Albums.
Ready for the Mainstream
Santos then released his sophomore solo effort, Formula Vol. 2, in 2014 to even greater success. The set featured collaborations with Drake and Nicki Minaj, who even sang bits in Spanish. It was proof that mainstream artists were now coming into Santos' world to gain market share -- not the other way around. Santos finished the year 2014 as the top Latin artist. In its opening week alone, Formula Vol. 2 sold 85,000 units, more than any other Latin set in eight years.
In 2014, Santos made his Hollywood debut in Furious 7, now the seventh highest grossing film of all time. He played Armando, a friend/associate to Vin Diesel's lead character, Dom.
Hitting a Home Run
Also in 2014, Santos played two sold-out concerts at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, the first time in over 40 years that a Latin artist had headlined the iconic field. The Fania All-Stars last did so in 1973.
A Very Bachata Thanksgiving
Santos became the first bachata artist to perform at Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2014. The NBC broadcast pulled in an audience of 22.6 million viewers.
At the 2015 Billboard Latin Music Awards, Santos, who also happened to be the most-nominated artist in the history of the show, took home the lion's share of trophies -- 10 in total, including artist of the year, songwriter of the year and top Latin album of the year. In this year's Billboard Latin Music Awards, the King of Bachata was named again artist of the year, beating out Enrique Iglesias, Juan Gabriel and Nicky Jam.
There is no doubht that Romeo Santos is one of the most popular Latin artists on YouTube and his latest accomplishment backs this up. In June, Santos became the second Latin artist, after Enrique Iglesias, to hit 1 billions views on YouTube with his music video "Propuesta Indecente." According to YouTube, the music video, starring Mexican singer and actress Eiza González, was watched over 1 million times per day and peaked at over 1.7 million views daily.
Solid as a Roc
Singer, songwriter, producer, actor and now also CEO of Roc Nation Latin! In June, Santos partnered with Jay Z to launch and lead the Latin full-service division of Roc Nation, dedicated to Latin talent. Additionally, he signed a management deal with the company meaning he'll be co-managed by Roc Nation and his longtime manager Johnny Marines. About the new title, the multi-hyphenate told Billboard that this was his way of "giving back" and wanted to focus on "bringing new blood" into the Latin music industry.