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Robi Draco Rosa
You may not know his many names but you definitely know his many hits. The man behind Ricky Martin’s smash successes - Livin La Vida Loca and The Cup of Life - gets ready for centerstage.

For this 33-year-old artist/producer/painter it has been a long and adventurous journey from the days when he started as part of Spanish boy band Menudo. When fellow band-mate Ricky Martin experienced great success, it meant success for Robi as well because he wrote the songs that Ricky turned into hits! Three Grammy nominations and four solo Spanish albums later, this eclectic artist is ready to take his music to more parts of the world with his brand new album Mad Love.

Robi's early musical influences came from the sounds playing in his home - salsa, Julio Iglesias, Frank Sinatra, The Who, The Beatles, The Doors and Marvin Gaye all influenced young Robi’s sensibilities. At age 17 when Robi was already part of hot boy band Menudo, he decided to take up songwriting. The response from his managers was devastating – they would not let him do it.
But Robi had made up his mind. He quit the band and became the first member of Menudo to actually resign from the band. After Menudo, Robi moved to Brazil, where he began recording Spanish-language solo records. He even tried his hand at acting but the controlling environment was too suffocating for Robi and he went looking for other ways to express his creativity.
Robi explored several avenues: he took up oil painting, formed a grungy rock band called Maggie's Dream. Then came his biggest international success - his old friend Ricky Martin was putting together his own solo career. Robi was enlisted to write songs for him. The songs he wrote became worldwide smash hits. Livin La Vida Loca, the football anthem Cup of Life and the ballad She’s All I Ever Had made Ricky a superstar. Robi could not be far behind.

When Robi needed to think about his own new album, he knew it would be best done blazing down the Pacific Coast Highway in a new ride with serious tunes popping from his speakers. "I've always had vintage cars," says Rosa. "So I leased a brand new BMW 740 IL, and I took it out on the road and started playing the remastered version of Miles Davis's Bitches Brew. That's when I knew what I had to do, what it would sound like."
The result is Mad Love, 13 songs that reflect all that has gone into the creative journey that Robi has been on. It is also a testament to the love of his life, actress/director Angela Alvarado. "I've always been kind of a romantic, but I reached another level in our relationship and it was just when I was diving into this album. So I just committed to that and I said, 'Let me just go full-on and make beautiful love songs.'"

You can read the rest of our feature on Robi Draco Rosa in the May 2004 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.

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