What does it mean to be a “streaming monster” like Guaynaa
Jean Carlos Santiago Perez, better known as Guaynaa, was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico. In 2017 after the tragic devastation of Hurricane Maria, Guaynaa released a song title “Maria” that went viral on all social media platforms, where he expressed his anger and frustration at the situation. He went to release “Rebota” which became a massive success.
In his most recent single, “Monterrey,” Guaynaa has some controversial images that accompany his eclectic music. Images of women dying to be in his colonial hands and subtle transphobic imagery enhance the imagery of white male dominance. Galore wants to know, what do you think about Guaynaa’s latest song and the accompanying images?
Felicitaciones en el lance de tu nueva canción y clip “Monterrey” What do you aim to convey through the overall production of the music and video?
I just want to bring happiness to the fans; good moments and excitement! Dance moves. That’s my concept. That’s what I bring to the people. Guaynaa’s music, people are dancing and having moments that they are going to remember for all their life. An example at the beginning of my career the people came to me and they were like, oh my god I heard your song at my cousin’s wedding. I was dancing a lot, I am never going to forget you. I was like oh my god my music is really working. That’s really what I want to bring to people who hear my music and see the video. The video inspires and it means the same thing that I am saying in the song.
Para ti, en realidad, ¿qué significa el clip? Como crítica y estudiante de historia, la representación colonial tiene su propia connotación. Claro que la música tiene una energía muy alegre, pero ¿cuál es la conexión entre los dos?
The connection between both is the revolution. It was a Hernan Cortez structure he built. I was inspired by Pancho Villa. It was that revolutionary guy, but at the same time he was so funny. He made everybody laugh. He had like twenty-seven girlfriends, twenty-six kids. That was one of the biggest inspirations for the video.
You are an eccentric artist! Especially because you go against what we come to expect from reggaeton. For example the fusion of what is more authentic reggaeton with what is more electronic. Or the song “Taxi” with Mariah talking about she can pay the taxi, essentially highlighting that women can handle things on their own and they don’t need no man. What inspires you in your creation process?
It depends what you wanna do. Sometimes it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. A lot of things can influence the final message. I just try to make content for everybody. At the hand it will hit me back. I have to be careful with what I say. I’m not saying that I don’t got bad words in my songs, because I have. It’s what you say and how you say it.
For me my inspiration is if I wanna do a cumbia I wanna be like Los Angeles Azules. If I’m going to do a reggaeton I’m going to listen to Daddy Yankee. It depends. I think that a good thing for me is that I was a fan before an artist, so I was identifying that style, song and composition. For me now I got it more clearly.
There is so much Latin culture in “Que Sera?”, not just because Chimbala is dominican and you are puerto rican, but also because of the Brazilian funkee fusion. What was it like to work with Chimbala, and the overall production of “Que Sera?”
It was so good, it was my first with a Dominican. It’s good, especially because Chimbala got that trompeta that identified his sound. He presented me two ideas, and I said yo, that’s the one! I’m not gonna make any other so give me that I’m gonna record it. We made the video here in Miami. Good thing about music is it opens new doors and explores new countries.
Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico are so close, but it can jump to Europe, New York, Canada; you don’t know where your music is going to hit so hard. That is the interesting part of making a fusion of different cultures.
How do you feel having that global impact throughout your music?
I feel so so so good, you have no idea. I am going to make a song with Chungha and it’s the first time in Latin history. For me, being a Latin, being a Puerto Rican makes me so proud, I am making history with my music. It is so interesting how K-POP created a huge monster in the industry. Now K-POP is hitting the charts, they are killing everybody out there. We are gonna keep making new things. We are in the best moment of our career in our music.
What has it been like to be able to collaborate with artists that may have very different styles and sounds and how do you think that has influenced your growth as an artist? You’re about to release a song with Chungha which is a super famous K-POP artist, what should we expect about this specific single?
It is so good because you are always learning. Especially with that lady Chungha, I learned a lot. It’s a different world completely, but they treat you with respect because they jump the line to look for someone and they pick you, it’s because they like you, they like what you bring to the music, what you inspire. For me, for my career it means alot because it’s going to take me to unknown places. It’s going to define the reach of me as an artist and the potential that I got as an artist. For me it’s beautiful. Now I am going to have a song with Diplo. Major Lazor. It’s going to expand the reach and the respect of the public.
How did the quarantine period impact or inspire you as an artist?
The quarantine period impacted me in a good way because there are two kinds of people with emergencies. You got the one that get distracted and the one that makes a huge empire. I think that you have to identify the necessity and how you can satisfy it. That’s what happened to me, thank God, I identified the necessity of music and the necessity of content on the platforms. Now the business has changed. Now it’s a streaming game. What I have to do to become a streaming monster, I have to release a lot of good music, it has to be a good product so that the people stay in contact with you. And thank God that’s what I did and it’s working for me. I am in the best time of my career.
Interview conducted by Shirley Reynozo and Eduardo Rolle
Photos by PRINCE AND JACOB