Former Menudo member Monti Montanez is branching out on his own. With the help of red-hot producer Jadion, his first EP is out now on iTunes and is entitled "My Dreams". It's a tasty Latin-dance and pop-flavoured morsel that has most definitely caught my attention. Not only is the EP a strong solo debut, but it's also supporting The Children's Miracle Network and The Family Career and Community Leaders of America. Armed with his hot tunes, chairitable heart and energetic penchant for performance, it's only a matter of time before the world falls in love with Monti Montanez. Take note EQs.
I was lucky enough to get some face time with the up-and-coming star for a quick chat about Menudo, is solo work, screaming girl fans and his love for red velvet cupcakes…Enjoy.
EQ: Well hello Monti – how are you today young man?
Monti: I'm pretty good, very excited!
So for those of us who don't know you yet, you were one-fifth of teen boy-band Menudo. How did you end up being in Menudo?
In 2007 there was a reality show on MTV Tr3s called "Road to Menudo", looking for 5 guys to be part of the legendary group Menudo. I made the top 15 and was part of a
following reality show on MTV called "Making Menudo". I was very nervous throughout the audition because I not only had cameras on top of me all the time, but also
Johhny Wright, (manager of Justin Timberlake, Jonas Brothers, Britney Spears) was the judge and the future manager of the new Menudo. After three months of auditioning, I made
the group! It was the best feeling ever!
Are you guys still together – or did you turn 18 and they kicked you out? Isn't that the old longstanding rule of being in Menudo?
It is the old longstanding rule of the old Menudo. But if that were so I would have been gone before I made the group [laughs]. But unfortunately, many problems happened with
the record label and management, as we were not pushed in the Latin market properly. That would only make sense because Menudo is a Latin boy band. But the way things were ran did
not work as everyone expected. The label dropped us, and our manager left us. Soon after members of the group started moving on to different projects. Now the group is in
the process of being re-formed.
Argh – well that's pop music for you. I have to admit, I was a massive Menudo fan back in the Ricky Martin days, are you hoping the Menudo platform will propel you to the heights of solo success that Ricky
Martin has had?
Yes! Not being a part of the group any longer, I have had the opportunity to work on my solo career. My goal is to bring fun, catchy songs that people can enjoy, along with Latin beats. I am combining pop along with Latin sounds to create a new sound that the world can enjoy and relate to!
So you have a new EP out called "My Dreams" – tell me about it…
I was so honored to be given the opportunity to be a part of the "Dig It!" campaign by Cause Creative, a campaign benefiting FCCLA and Children's Miracle Network. I
was asked to write a song to inspire people to help sick kids by donating. So I wrote "My Dreams", and combined it with the song "So Hot" in the EP, so fans can really get
the feel of my music and new songs and sounds to come!
Tell me some more about the charities the EP is supporting…
FCCLA, (Family Career and Community Leaders of America), is a non-profit organization that will be raising money for the Children's Miracle Network. I thought, since they
are raising money for the Children's Miracle Network and they are a non-profit, it would be nice for the EP to benefit FCCLA.
You're track "So Hot" is a dancefloor burner – I can't stop jamming to it – tell me a little bit about this song and how it came about.
I'm glad you like the song! This song described the style on how I want my new solo career to be musically. After recording "My Dreams", I sat with producer Jadion and
picked beats and sounds that I really wanted to describe my style. After the track was made I started writing the song! I really went for a fun, simple song that people
could have fun and dance to, and also learn a little spanish. [smiles]
Are you working on a solo album project?
Yes. I am currently recording songs I've written with Jadion. I can't wait to finish the album so that everyone can enjoy it!
I love asking this question…so if you weren't doing writing and performing music, what sort of civilian job would you be doing? Fireman? Lawyer? Chef? Guidance
CHEF! I love to cook, and I love food. I make the best red velvet cupcakes, I will send you some!
Now that sounds like a good idea – ha. I'll send you my address later. Now do you ever get used to girls screaming at you on the street – a little birdy told me that you always get stopped by excitable female fans when you're out and about in
Sometimes. Most of the time it's fans that stare at me, and are too shy to come up to me. I always tell them, "I don't bite! unless you tell me to". But there are other
times when fans start screaming or even crying! I always go up and give then a tight hug. I love my fans [smiles].
What's been the most memorable thing a fan said or did to you to get your attention – spill the beans Monti…
Well, there's tons of memorable things, but the one that I will always remember is a fan calling my hotel room from Brazil – I was in the U.S. at the time, I think that is so crazy! How did she even know where I was, or my hotel room number! So I talked to her for a little bit, it was kind of cool!
How have you been taking the passing of Michael Jackson – did the King Of Pop have an impact on your music?
Of course. Michael Jackson is one of my idols. He is such an inspiration on my music and performance. When I heard the news I couldn't believe it. To me, Michael Jackson
will always live, and his music will keep making an impact on my career and inspiring my music.
So I hear you are originally from Puerto Rico – do you get a chance to go back home often? What's your favourite thing about going home now.
I visit Puerto Rico about 2-4 times a year or when I have time. My favourite things are the food, the beaches, the weather, the music, and just enjoying the beauty of the
island. It always takes me back to when I was a little kid…
Now if I compared you to let's say a male version of Jennifer Lopez – would you take that as a compliment or a put-down?
I would definitely take it as a compliment. Jennifer Lopez is a Latin icon. She represents the Latin community from all over the world, and her music is heard worldwide!
So when are you launching in Europe? Something tells me you would do quite well in Spain, Portugal and even the UK – us Europeans love a Latin heart-throb you
Really?! I can't wait for Europe to hear my music! Everyone can get my EP on iTunes, and my new album will come soon! And I'm glad Europeans love Spanish music. I
remember when I lived in Germany, Ricky Martin was on everyone's playlist!
Well that's all Monti – thanks for taking the time to chat to us. Any parting words for our EQ readers?
Please check out my new EP album on iTunes! New music coming soon, and i can't wait to visit Europe. Thanks for all the support and THANK YOU EQ! I love you guys!