Johnny Lozada: “If Menudo existed right now, I would be singing songs like Bad Bunny’s”

In the 80’s, Slight It was more than just a fashion group. They were a true Latin phenomenon. His first presentation in Lima, which took place in El Amauta, in 1981, gathered hundreds of fans outside the Jorge Chávez International Airport, as he recalled Michael Cancel in interview with RPP News. “We landed and the crowd entered the runway,” he said of his first taste of “menudomania.”

More than 40 years later, the Puerto Rican singer has returned to our capital on other occasions. But this October 29 he will do it together with his companions Ricky Melendez Y Johnny Lozada to offer a concert at the Esplanade Olguín de Surco. A show that is part of a tour called “Get on my motorcycle”, in honor of that reference song of Latin pop that also titled a series about the group, released on the Prime Video platform in 2020.

With successes that sounded every so often on the radio, in addition to a couple of movies, the youth quintet founded by Edgardo Díaz had different stages in its history, with a lineup of talents that was renewed as age took its toll. By Slight stars paraded like Ricky Martin either Rene Farrait (Today sworn in La Voz Senior). However, the trio of singers that will step on Lima these days belongs to the first generations of the group, those who were part of the years of splendor.

Currently in his fifties, Johnny Lozada Y Michael Cancel connected via Zoom from their homes in Miami (USA) to talk about what it still means to them Slight. They also referred to the renewal of their audience over the decades and the rise of Latin music in a music industry in which, of course, references to Bad Bunny, the Puerto Rican icon of this era.

Those years of ‘Menudomania’

Nine years have passed since the last time Menudo performed in Peru. In fact, our country is usually a mandatory point when they go on tour. What places do they usually return to every time they set foot on Peruvian soil?

Johnny Lozada (JL): Every time we go to Peru we go to visit friends. Peru is a place we have been going to since we were 13 years old and we have very good friends there. Normally, we go to sing in Lima.

Miguel Cancel (MC): Johnny says friendships, and it’s true, because the public for us means many friendships. Whatever the country, the public is part of those friendships. And in Peru, I had the opportunity to go to the Pan American Games in 2019 with my son, because he swims for the Puerto Rican team, and I was able to enjoy your wonderful and unique cuisine. It is the best. And then I was able to go to Machu Picchu, share that time and fill myself with all those energies.

“Get on my motorcycle” is the name of his tour and it seems to me that it connects with the Menudo of the eighties, that unstoppable phenomenon. But now that the waters have calmed down, how do you see those times of the boom from a distance?

JL: hilarious Many people ask us that we live different things and if we would not have liked to be normal. Well, for me that was normal. It’s a matter of how you look at things. It was a wonderful time, I had fun, I thought it was GI Joe mixed with Superman and Spiderman. It was hilarious.

MC: Now, a little mature, I have something very present in my mind in Peru. The airport. We landed and the crowd poured onto the runway. And a young man enjoys it. Singing is one of my passions and to be able to have the opportunity to sing around the world, blessed. But getting there and seeing that reaction from the crowd that’s inside the runway, the crowd surrounding a commercial plane that’s packed with people wondering what’s going on here… That crowd had so much love, care, and wanted to let you know. . That is one among many other things, and to be able to live it, again, every time nowadays we fifty-somethings have the opportunity to visit these countries, because it becomes as if everything had happened yesterday.

The series “Get on my motorcycle” and the “essence” of Menudo

The series that came out on Prime Video helped us to better understand Menudo’s golden years, but also difficult episodes that cast a shadow over the group. How involved were you with this project?

JL: I was in the project, I was one of the people who gave their testimony. And how good that the members who agreed to do so were given the opportunity to express their emotions and what they felt in their life. we were 36 [miembros] and each one of us could have lived a different thing, not all of us lived the same as can be seen in the documentary. I really like that it was done by some Puerto Ricans, who are young, enterprising, and at a given moment they wanted to give the world what happened in Menudo, without a mocking or harassing perspective, but from that of the members who lived through it. It’s not what the magazine said, but what happened here. That gives it a lot of validity.

As you said, Menudo has had several members over time, litters of new talent. But do you think he has preserved an essence despite the changes?

JL: Often it was evolving with what was happening. If Menudo existed right now, they would be singing songs like Bad Bunny’s. Often it was evolving with the youth and the youth was changing to where we are now. Music guides youth. As a person from the 80s, I can listen to whatever I want. But on a musical and commercial level, today the world has changed a lot. I repeat: if Menudo continued, today he would be singing “say hello to Tití, let’s ‘take’ a selfie.” This is generational. They blame Bad Bunny, but who’s listening to this?

As veterans in the music industry, were you surprised by the current rise of urban music?

JL: Urban music has become the pop of today. We have an exponent in Puerto Rico, in this case Bad Bunny, who is the number one artist on the globe. That makes me understand that youth, once again, marks what is the trend in music whatever it is. Be a little ruder, be a little more romantic.

MC: I can’t compare one music with the other. In the 80s, every genre of music was good. It was spectacular. From pop to ballads to heavy metal, great. And then the genres were defined. We have reached the moment of urban music, because it is number one. Consumers buy and search. And music also evolves, and one as an artist has to continue to evolve if you’re in the world of music, you can’t stay alone in this cubicle.

Well, Bad Bunny’s worldwide escalation also speaks of an escalation of a certain Latin culture. Don’t you think that Menudo set certain precedents? Do you think that groups like yours paved the way for the advancement of Latinos in the world?

JL: I would love to think so, but I have always been a humble person and I stay a little shorter. I can say that we were pioneers at a given time when music was needed. There was music for adults, for children, but not for young people. In that aspect, I give credit to the pioneer of the group who decided to change the members to maintain the front of the youth band, because children at that age grow a lot.

Menudo and its new audiences

There is no doubt that its drag is maintained. As soon as they announced their concert, their fan clubs in Peru took it upon themselves to remind us of the validity of the menudomania. But do you see new generations in your shows?

MC: Yes! We sometimes sit down to talk, because there are three generations. There are the grannies, who back then were the mothers who took their daughters or sons to concerts. Then there’s the mom taking her kids to concerts. And there are also people from another generation who have nothing to do with us, who also knock on the door of what we do.

JL: I think people forget that this music is made for young people. If your mom plays it every Sunday, and you listen to it and you’re attracted to it, it’s because that music was made especially for you. At some point, by hook or by crook, you become a victim. The party of the forties, fifties, always ends with a song from us.

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Johnny Lozada: “If Menudo existed right now, I would be singing songs like Bad Bunny’s”