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South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Lozada Is Staying True To Salsa

by David Cazares

August 16, 2002
Copyright © 2002 South Florida Sun-Sentinel. All rights reserved.

In an era when the major record labels producing Latin music seem intent on watering down rich regional genres with too much commercialized pop, it's refreshing to hear of a young salsa singer who is determined to keep the music in touch with its roots.

One of the latest to make a name for himself is Jay Lozada, the elder brother of Puerto Rican rapper Vico C. Lozada, who is still riding the success of his self-titled debut album, released in 2000 on Universal Music. He performs Sunday at the Ninth Annual Hollywood Latin Beach Festival.

Born Victor Lozada in New York, where he lived for eight years before moving to Puerto Rico, Lozada began singing seriously as a teenager. He studied business in college, but later decided that his future was in the music business after moving to Miami, where he was a member of the bands La Mezcla, Conquista Latina and Tercera Generación (now named Grupo Ñ).

Like others of his generation, Lozada blends modern pop and r&b into his music, a technique that many believe is necessary given that many young salsa fans are more familiar with those genres than the music of salsa's greatest singers. He counts among his greatest influences Victor Manuelle and Gilberto Santa Rosa, two veteran salseros who are faithful to the music's call-and-response tradition, and Marc Anthony, whose style reflects the musical tastes of salsa fans in urban markets like New York.

In Lozada, festival goers will find a musician who aims to blend old and new, but who understands that a good salsero can't stray too far from the music's traditional style.

"The current salsa has a sound that's very pop," Lozada told the Web site "I believe I've come to rescue, in a sense, the musical genre, seducing the public with a very improvised sound, laden with rhythm, freshness and joviality."

So far, Lozada's approach seems to be catching on. One of his first hits, Por Amarte Asi, received good airplay on Spanish-language radio.

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