In an exclusive interview for The opinion, daniel rodriguez, the Latino percussionist who has the Soul, Funky and Pop band, The Isley Brothers He talked about his journey through music and how he managed to become part of one of the most current musical groups in the industry. The Cuban left Bayamo, made some strategic stops, settled in Los Angeles and finally conquered Hollywood.
Latinos are in fashion and if not, let the success of Bad Bunny say so, Carol G., Gustavo Dudamelthe athlete Diana Floresthe doctor Rene Sotelo and already the consecrated Camila Cabello, Ana De Armas, Salma Hayek, Eugenio Derbez and Sofia Vergara. But this also includes other branches within the entertainment and music industry, such as instrumentalists, directors, and producers. Such is the case of Daniel Rodríguez, who belongs to The Isley Brothers.
Daniel was born and lived his childhood in Cuba. He always liked music but his condition as a humble child did not allow him to have instruments. “I studied on the pillows, like everyone who doesn’t have an instrument… There I could spend hours hitting it like crazy.” He also came to confess that he did everything to not continue in school: “I was not a good student, nor was I the worst. It’s also true that I started getting bad grades on purpose.. If I didn’t go out in high school, my dad would have told me: “Go to the field…”
The same regime prevailing in Cuba made little contact with the outside world. She would have had it like that, surely she wouldn’t have cared. The percussionist of The Isley Brothers was only interested in music from a very young age.
“I got sick with music. I said that I consumed 32 hours a day of music to be well. My mom used to take my drumsticks out from under the bed, from the pillows, from the bathroom…”, she says Daniel laughing. Seeing his extraordinary talent, the next thing that comes to mind is asking about his professional studies.
“I ate the cassettes. Since I didn’t pass school, I had to find out. Discover things. Sometimes it’s easy but I don’t know how good it is. It was not my turn to have a teacher on hand. When it’s your turn to discover it, you see it differently… In the same way, the street school is not more important than the other, nor vice versa…” Daniel R.
At what point did Rodríguez dream of Hollywood?
Daniel Rodríguez had not left Bayamo, so his dream was not abroad: “I am a peasant… my influence was Havana, I did not want to be abroad… I did not know about that. I wanted to go to the capital…”. So he embarked there after playing with children’s and youth groups. He started as a substitute. There he would keep an eye on what everyone was doing and he would learn it. I took advantage of grabbing those instruments and practiced a lot. There were none at home.
First he was in Varadero and then he went to Havana right there in his native Cuba. She began to meet more people, to relate. Her talent was impressive. Same that has only continued to grow over the years. However, Daniel’s reality was that you couldn’t live so easily with music and less at that time on the island. So Danielwith that suspicion that characterizes him, he also did other things for a living: he sold cigarettes, took tourists to destinations, recorded cassette tapes, etc.
But that independence led him to cultivate more in other genres: “I got to play every day, I played with urban people, I did things with DJs. I began to worry about becoming a versatile person. Oriente has another musical trend. That current has Vallenato, Cumbia. Apart from Changüi, Folklore, Son Montuno… ”, He added.
The truth is that more influence came to the capital from other places. There he began to consume music of all kinds. What he listens to, he is interested in and replicated. “If you have a passion for what you do, you always want to learn much more. I liked to sail in all waters… If I like Bachata… I know all the bachatas…”.
Of course he started playing with everyone in Cuba. She got the opportunity and went out to Mexico. There the growth that came was greater. As he himself tells, from the stimuli to the food. Daniel Rodríguez became fascinated with those genres that he was discovering beyond Cuban Timba and Salsa.. It did not stop.
“There are so many hours of study, of practice, that when you feel sick from music, you don’t realize it”. In that “not realizing it” he arrived in the United States. To Colorado, then to Los Angeles.
Why Daniel stood out in Hollywood among all the rest.
It’s very rare to talk about yourself and not sound mean, but the Cuban from The Isley Brothers it is clear. “Passion, perseverance and love for what you do is what can differentiate anything. I like versatility… -Today I’ll take a drum video for you. Other I have independence exercises. It seems simple, but there is always something in which I become curious and there it is. I am one of those who think: -If you put an hour in it and it sounds good, imagine if you put more in it-…”.
Mexico was a big step for Daniel. It was the first time of him as a true immigrant. Not just anyone, one who left his country with the sole objective of continuing to consume, discover and create more sounds.
To its Cuba always come back His family, life and musical friends are still there. She doesn’t lose her accent, nor her customs, and even his son, who was born in Los Angeles, also goes to the island frequently. He is one of the Latinos who does not stray from his roots.
“Wow man. Here we always talk about you because when you went out beating your chest like a drum, we considered you crazy…”, Daniel comments on what a childhood friend says in Cuba.
barely stepped on hollywoodthe conquest was immediate. To see him playing with anyone is to turn your head and fix your eyes on the percussion, on his drums. It is a human machine and you have an independence in your hands that is almost impossible to put into practice. Daniel Rodríguez also fell in love with the diversity of Los Angeles. It was love at first sight.
has played with Arturo Sandoval, The Havana Charanga, cecilia claus, camila cabello, collin hay (Men At Work) and many more. She has also been on major stages for galas at the Grammy Awards galas, Latin American Music Awards and Billboard Awards.
In the midst of all this he arrives at The Isley Brothers. Like everything in the musical life of the Cuban, once again there was a connection with his style. Immediately, one of the most important African-American bands in the United States hired him.
In principle, to Daniel He even had a hard time communicating with them in English. Today, almost 4 years later, she has not only toured the entire country on the group’s tours, but they have become his family. “I worried about growing more by being by their side. The Isleys are a school of improvement for me. When they called me, I had a happy face**. I finally found a group with which to share so many musical ideas! If you have a passion for what you do, you always want to learn much more”.
Daniel has been in countless music recording sessions for film, television and streaming on Hollywood. If you want a sound full of colors that are almost impossible to match, but you know sound amazing, he’s the person to call.
In addition, he is very clear about the contribution he has made: “I have tried to create a bridge between Latin music and American music.” Daniel’s musical language, from his Afro-Cuban base, introduces a new air to Afro-American pop music without a doubt.. Wearing the famous “Cuban Clave” to formats where no one had thought of or tried before: “The key was never in me, nor has it ever been. Feel it, yeah… It is now that I think about it, I have always tried to feel more”.
daniel rodriguez He is also in independent projects. He has a band with other Cuban and Latino friends called “The Hot”. He has some songs in which he sings alone, produces for other musicians and continues to create content on social networks and thus educate the new generations.
You can always find him in any bar, club and even the most exclusive private events of The Angels playing with different bands and artists. As well as somewhere else like in the middle of a campsite. If there are instruments, he will play.
Music gave Daniel Rodríguez a new opportunity in life, a way of communication, a chance to study and also recognition. leaving like this a footprint as a latino in the music industry.
“I have a lot to thank music for. Thanks to her I overcame many obstacles. She is my language, my fight, my survival and my pride”, Daniel R.
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