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Elvis Crespo's Music Has Gone From Israel to Outer Space

Not many artists can say their music has been heard on the moon, but Elvis Crespo is one of the few estrellas who will forever hold that bragging right.

In 2006, el merenguero’s megahit “Suavemente” was the only Spanish song selected by the Discovery space crew to be listened to during their orbit around la luna.

“'Suavemente' was not only [played] on the Discovery; it closed off [season three of] House of Cards, was in the [2001] movie Training Day, and was used for the Israeli lottery,” Crespo clarifies.

Most recently, he crashed this year's Coachella Music Festival during DJ Deorro's set.

“I feel very proud that I can make that crossover.”

Tonight, el boricua will be making la gente in the 954 bailar “Suavemente” when the four-time Merengue Artist of the Year takes over the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek for his Cinco de Mayo concert.

“As a singer, I feel blessed because my fans [have] crossed the generational border, the language border, and the cultural border,” even the gap between space and time, el cantante humbly admits.

Before becoming such an influential artist, however, Crespo — who was named after Elvis Presley because his father was an Elvis fan — joined Puerto Rico's Grupo Mania in the mid-'90s. As one of the most popular merengue groups on the island, Crespo got his first taste of fame and learned the ins and outs of the industry.

“It was practically my university,” he claims. “Before joining Grupo Mania, I had sang as a background singer for other groups. But with Grupo Mania, I was immersed in it all. I went from becoming a background singer to a figure. I knew I was gonna have a future [in music]. That's where I matured. It helped me develop.”

After parting ways with the merengue crew, Crespo's solo career skyrocketed. In 1998, he released his debut album, Suavemente, which included the song that launched his solo career, “Suavemente.”

Over the years, Crespo has performed across the globe, earning a collection of premios and becoming the first Latin artist to record a live album from Las Vegas. The singer was also named the guest of honor by the POTUS at the 2010 Hispanic Congressional Caucus Annual Awards Gala in D.C.

“It's been empowering,” el rumbero says. “It's also been a process filled with many failures. But I see failures as steps toward triumph. They are helpful and make you realize that you can make it.”

Crespo remains a prevalent voice in el mundo Latino, but that's not to say his estilo musical has not evolved over time, especially with his latest album, Tatuaje. Released this past March, el disco features collabs with Bachata Heightz, Fanny Lú, Olga Tañón, Maffio, and other bachata, Latin pop, and reggaeton musicians.

“When you stay doing the same thing, people think that you're at a slump, and when you change, people criticize you for trying too hard,” he explains.

“But [change] is inevitable. I've been everywhere and all of those experiences are musically enriching and take me out of my comfort zone. When you wanna do something different musically, there's always gonna be resistance with fans, but I love taking risks – where risks are, there are results.”

And gaining results from taking risks and making música is what Crespo does best.

“I don't consider myself an excellent singer,” he interjects, “but a singer with a happy sound. When I'm on stage, that's my yoga, my mediation. It's very fulfilling.”

Elvis Crespo. Tuesday, May 5. Seminole Casino Coconut Creek, 5550 NW 40th St., Coconut Creek. The show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets cost $35 to $65 plus fees via ticketmaster.com. Call 954-977-6700, or visit seminolecoconutcreekcasino.com.
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Laurie Charles
Contact: Laurie Charles

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