Chicomanía is a bachata music group rooted in Boston, that mixes classic and urban music genres. Chicomanía is made up of band members la Seata and lead singer Luis Rodriguez.
Q: Where are you from?
A: I was born in the city of Santiago in the Dominican Republic and I came to the United States when I was 19 years old.
Q: When was Chicomanía formed?
A: We’ve been a group since 2010.
Q: Do you work anywhere else?
A: I’m a barber at the Fernandez Barbershop. I’ve always been a barber/musician!
Q: What attracted you to music when you were a child?
A: I come from a musical family. My brother was a musician before me, and I had many family members that were all musicians back in the DR. I started playing percussion first, in a group called “Mama Juana,” just like the drink. It’s been a passion ever since.
Q: When did you know you wanted to be a musician?
A: Always! I’ve always wanted to travel and work with others to create music. My first show was in the DR, a group called me on stage to play with them. I had stage fright and was very nervous. But it was an unforgettable experience.
Q: Who are you favorite musicians?
A: I have many. I’m inspired by Romeo Santos, Prince Royce, Raulin Rodriguez, among many. They know how to connect to their audience really well and that inspires me.
Q: Do you still get nervous when you go on stage?
A: If I’m not nervous, then what I’m doing isn’t worth it, so yes, I still get nervous. In 2010, Chicomanía played at the Latino Family Festival in Fenway Park. There were over 15,000 people there and Gilberto Santa Rosa played after our set. I was super nervous, but he congratulated us afterwards and it was a great accomplishment.
Q: What are your favorite JP spots?
A: I love spending time in Jamaica Pond and walking from Jackson Square up Centre Street. Everyone you know says hello, one feels really comfortable here.
Q: What do you think about the Latin Quarter campaign?
A: I think it’s great. I think the work that HSTF is doing to support the Latino community, to make use feel that we have a big role in our community and to promote our success, is really important.
Q: Why are you excited to play the LQ Fiesta?
A: We’re going to be playing for the community that saw us grow up and that in many ways helped form Chicomanía. The Latin Quarter is where we work, rehearse and where we’ve made our home. There’s nothing more exciting than that.
Belén Cusi is an Argentine-American singer songwriter with classical roots. She grew up in Texas and has been in the Boston area for almost a decade studying music, performing, and earning a college degree in journalism.
Q: How did your background shape who you are as an artist?
A: Everything about my background – from having grown up in Texas with Argentine parents, to playing sports, to moving to Boston and studying journalism – has shaped me as an artist. The lyrics I write, the way I carry myself on stage and interact with fans and audience members – all these things are influenced by my experiences and how my passion for life and people has grown with each step.
Q: When did you know you wanted to be a performer?
A: I feel like a late bloomer in a way – I didn’t know I wanted to be a performer until I met my college piano teacher, who would go on to produce my first album. I was 19. He was really the one who opened my eyes to performing music beyond classical piano and the possibilities became endless.
Q: Who are your music inspirations?
A: So many: George Gershwin & Chopin as composers, Frank Sinatra & Michael Jackson as performers… so many artists inspire me.
Q: What is your go-to karaoke song?
The Way You Make Me Feel – MJ
Q: After a long day of gigs, all you want to eat is:
A: My favorite protein bars..(Quest Oatmeal chocolate chip HA) or big bowl of pasta
Q: Does music run in your family? Do you ever play music together? Did your parents make you perform in front of family and friends when you were young?
A: My great-grandfather was a famous concert pianist in Europe, well-known in Spain, and my mom dabbled in singing at my age…my youngest brother now plays saxophone and kills it, we don’t really play together but I plan on sharing the stage with my mom for a duet some day, no doubt!!