Coat & Sweater – Religion

JENCARLOS CANELA

Jencarlos Canela
Photographer: Michael Williams
Fashion Editor: Wendy McNett
Grooming: Raquel Martuscelli
Digital Tech: Becky Siegel
Photographed at Sandbox Studio

(Interview follows photo series)

Shirt – Religion // Pants – MAC Jeans

Shirt – Eton // Jeans – MAC Jeans // Sneakers – Gola

Shirt – Eton

Jacket & Pants – Ravazzolo // Shirt & Tie – Eton

Shirt – Religion // Pants – MAC Jeans // Sneakers – Gola

Jacket & Sweater – Jencarlos’ Own // Jeans – MAC Jeans

Shirt – Eton // Jeans – MAC Jeans // Sneakers – Gola

Jacket & Sweater – Jencarlos’ Own // Jeans- MAC Jeans

Jacket & Pants – Ravazzolo // Shirt & Tie – Eton

Jacket – Ravazzolo // Shirt & Tie – Eton

Coat, Sweater & Pants – Religion // Sneakers – Gola

Jacket & Pants – Ravazzolo // Shirt & Tie – Eton

Coat, Sweater & Pants – Religion // Sneakers – Gola

Jacket & Sweater – Jencarlos’ Own // Jeans – MAC Jeans // Sneakers – Gola

INTERVIEW BY MICHAEL WILLIAMS
STORY BY KATINA GOULAKOS

Jencarlos is a down to earth family oriented Latin American performer, whose 3rd Spanish single will be out next month. We at Imagista got the chance to speak with the singer, whose view on life and positive energy was more than refreshing.

Imagista: Where did you grow up?

Jencarlos: I grew up in Miami but I live in Los Angeles.

Imagista: How is the touring going?

Jencarlos: Oh my God! Amazing! We did Guatemala and sold out over there, then we did Miami Fashion Week, which was a lot of fun. My next single, I can’t say who it is going to be with but I can say that he is a successful Jamaican artist and we were in Jamaica doing the vocals and I have another recording session today here in Miami.

Imagista: That is super exciting. Can you tell us how you got into performing at such an early age?

Jencarlos: My parents do this party every year, it’s tradition, every December 16th they celebrate their anniversary and they throw a huge party in the backyard of my childhood home. I was raised in a very humble town called Hialeah in Miami. Growing up my dad wrote songs as a hobby and I would see my older brother singing my dads songs and I would just think “wow”. Then at the parties, I would see these musicians and I would just be in awe of their musical ability, thinking they were gods. I just wanted that so bad, I saw them having fun and making music that I was so captivated by. You know, my parents tell me now that usually at parties when you see young kids, like 4 or 5 years old they are running around everywhere, crying, but not me, I was just mesmerized by the band, and I would just watch them all night. When I was alone, I would just grab the comb in the bathroom and I would sing all the time, I remember every chance I got I would sing, I didn’t know if I was even good, I was just having fun and I really enjoyed it. There are videos of me at 1 years old in the kitchen pretending that I am singing, I guess it is just in my blood.

Anyways, when I asked my parents if I could sing at their annual party that was coming up, they laughed a little bit I was 6 or 7 years old and they told me if I learned a few songs then I could sing. So I did, I learned about 2 or 3 songs, my mom bought me this suit, I looked like Al Pacino in Scarface, it was pretty crazy. So the night came for me to do my performance, and there was about 200 people at the party dancing and singing with me while I performed, in that moment I became addicted, I told my dad “I want to feel this forever”. He had no connections in the industry, I didn’t come from much, so what my dad did was every time he would find out someone was throwing a party, he would ask if I could come by and sing a few songs, and that is how I started. From backyard to backyard I started singing and eventually the right person was in one of those backyards and that is how my career began.

Imagista: Did you know that you were going to end up as a professional performer on any level? Or did it seem like a fantasy to you?

Jencarlos: It’s pretty crazy because when I started singing, the thought did not even cross my mind to be honest with you. I was just having so much fun and I was just happy to have found something I loved so much, that made my heart beat faster than usual and I just held on to that. I was also blessed with a family that stood by me and allowed me to have fun because thats what it was. Then I started generating checks and I was able to live off doing something I loved. I don’t think it was ever about being a “famous superstar”. I was playing sports also, I was starting point guard for my basketball league and they would call me piano man because I would get to the games by half time because I had piano practice, they would all make fun of me for it.

Imagista: Does your dad still write music? If so does he write your songs?

Jencarlos: My dad manages me. I write all of my songs, thanks to him because he pushed me to be a song writer. My dad still loves writing and he will put input and give me advice on the song.

Imagista: Obviously your family has had a tremendous impact on your life and your career which is such an incredible blessing, who outside of your family has been a huge inspiration to you?

Jencarlos: I wouldn’t be able to think of a better person to mention in this moment, outside of my family, someone who has had a huge impact on the man I am, the first name I would have to say is Rudy Perez. Perez is probably one of the most recognized award winning Latin producers of his time. He has worked with everyone, this guy has been responsible for a lot of big careers. When I was starting to come up, or trying to come up, my dad was trying to send him packages for an entire year, never got a response from him. I ended up writing a jingle that ended up getting chosen for a car company, I was sixteen at the time. Not only did my jingle get played and translated in different languages, Ford made me the face of the campaign, it was huge for me. I got a lot of local press from that and the reason why I bring this up, is because through that I became the image and voice for a foundation that supports children who are victims of abuse. They do an annual fundraiser, and they gave us a table at this gala, but my family and I decided to donate it back.

So, after a year of sending these packages and no response, they ended up selling our table to Rudy Perez. So now Rudy is at the show and watches me perform for about an hour and my dad decided to go up to him and ask what he thought about the kid (being me) he just watched perform. His response was “who Jencarlos?” and my Dad asked what he thought and explained he was my father and manager and Rudy asked what we were doing on Monday and that was when our first meeting took place. I ended up doing my first album with Rudy Perez, he took me under his wing, showed me everything he knew. A lot of major labels did not believe in our project so Perez had a talk with me that I will never forget he asked me if I believed in this music, I told him I did, he did also and we decided not to give up. He ended up finding a partner and opened up an independent label, I was the only artist signed to the label, and we launched my album. Three weeks into the launch the album went gold, eventually going platinum. It was all because we stuck to what we believed in and I know I owe him a lot of my success.

Imagista: What a crazy story! So let’s change the pace a little. If for whatever reason you couldn’t be a performer, what do you think you would be doing?

Jencarlos: That’s a good question because I can’t imagine my life without performing. I believe that what we do should be used as a tool for something bigger. I studied psychology for two years and it had a huge impact on my life. I love people, I know we are all damaged in one way shape or form, and we all go through things in life and I know we see tragedies like what happened in Orlando, I would like to take a minute to acknowledge that. Things happen, and the press always tries to point out race, I think it is crazy how we find ways to detach ourselves from the doings of other people. The more we divide ourselves from the pain or from the act, the more we judge, the more we criticize, the less we are going to understand what is truly going on and where the solution lies.

Personally, I think the solution lies within every single one of us doing our part. Instead of filling our hearts with judgement and hate, these primitive actions and emotions which are logical, but we do need to take a step and realize that we are a civilized race we’ve evolved and we need to find more civilized ways to cope with our pain without dividing ourselves even more in the process. You can’t blame an entire race or nationality or religion for the doings of one person. Going back to your point, I believe in people, I believe in love I am a fanatic of the human mind and the way it works with its loop holes and all, so if I wasn’t doing music, I would definitely be in the world of psychology. Not necessarily as a psychologist in the tradition form. I would find a more artistic way to guide the human mind to a more peaceful place.