Five boys from five different countries.
Put them all in one place and you could expect chaos. But not for CNCO. In fact, they make good music together – good Latin music.
Composed of Richard Camacho (Dominican Republic), Christopher Velez (Ecuador), Erick Brian Colon (Cuba), Zabdiel de Jesus (Puerto Rico), and Joel Pimentel (Mexico), CNCO was formed out of La Banda – a Spanish-language TV singing competition created by Simon Cowell and Ricky Martin.
If K-Pop boasts the likes of EXO, BTS, and Wanna One, Latin music has CNCO.
With Latin music getting global popularity through hit song “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, the boys of CNCO hope to take the genre to greater heights while also being an inspiration to the youth.
The boy band debuted after La Banda in early 2016. Their biggest hits include a remix of their song, “Reggaeton Lento” which is a collaboration with Little Mix.
They recently released their latest self-named album and are going on an Asian promo tour.
Last September 14, Richard, Christopher, Erick, Zabdiel, and Joel surprised their fans, known as CNCOwners, in a show at the SM City Cebu Northwing Atrium where they performed some of their songs.
It was a brief moment with their fans, but still one that CNCOwners in Cebu, and from nearby provinces who traveled to Cebu just to see them, would never forget.
Here’s for those who missed CNCO—know their thoughts about Cebu, Filipino food, their hidden talents (PS: Joel showed his for the first time here in Cebu), their message for Filipino fans, a possible concert, and their dream for Latin music.
Did you have a chance to look around Cebu already?
Richard: Not yet. But we want to. We can see from the room. It’s very nice like the ocean looks very nice. We would like to go to the beaches and stuff. It would be super dope.
What brings you to Cebu?
Richard: We are right now in an Asian Promo tour. We’ve been to Japan. This is our first time in the Philippines and we’ll go to Malaysia and Indonesia.
Joel: We’re also going to Manila. We were there yesterday.
How has it been, the past two years after the competition? You guys were competitors in the beginning.
Erick: It’s incredible. I think it’s a really cool experience because we never met before La Banda. But now, after that, I think we have a really good connection and we get along a lot. and we do it with respect and communication
What were your first impressions of each other?
Richard: Some of us didn’t like each other at first. But it was like we never really got to talk. Like for me and Joel, it’s hard to talk in Spanish. We weren’t used to talking in Spanish. So we would never really talk with anybody. And after we did the show, we started talking, we started getting along and after that it was super nice.
Do you have artists in mind you want to collaborate with?
Richard: We kind of want to collaborate with everybody—Chris Brown, JB. Daddy Yankee.
Zabdiel: Hopefully, we get to collaborate with artists in the Philippines. That would be amazing.
Are there talks already right now?
Richard: Hopefully. Right now, we try to focus and see and meet our new fans from here in the Philippines and see if we can just come back here and do a show and work with new artists. Yesterday, we saw artists on Youtube and it was super nice. We like their music. Everybody’s so beautiful here.
You released your self-titled album. How was it putting it together and what can we expect from the tour and the shows?
Erick: Before the tour, we were preparing. We had like two months in Miami. We practiced the whole tour, like the dance. And for the show, you can expect a lot of music obviously, a lot of dance, a lot of lights, a lot of energy and some surprises. Hopefully, we can come back someday here in the Philippines.
Aside from singing and dancing, do you guys want to do something like maybe acting?
Christopher: That’s the goal. We’re planning, hopefully, on doing a lot of things—movies, documentaries, traveling around the world, winning Grammys. We try to do our best and work everyday so we can achieve those things.
What are your major influences? Is there a type of band or kind of person in the industry that you look up to and want to achieve the same things they did?
Richard: I feel like Ricky (Martin) is the biggest influence on us since he was our mentor for a while. We learned so much from him. He was the one who took us on tour for the first time in four countries. And we were just super excited and nervous because we didn’t know how people would accept us. We just started and he’s doing massive shows with 45,000 people. And we didn’t know how to even act on stage. We saw him on stage, and he was very … energy up. You don’t see a down part of the show. Outside the stage, he’s super humble and super grounded and very clam. I feel like that inspired us to keep going and to really achieve what we want.
What was the best advice you got from Ricky?
Zabdiel: He gives us a lot of advices. But one I remember a lot is always being humble, keep your feet on the ground, and always try to rest as much as you can. And we always learn about him, not only when he talks, but also when you see him as a person, he’s very humble, a spiritual guy. To me that makes a big difference.
Have you tried any Filipino food?
Christopher: We tried the fast food. It’s amazing, honestly. I saw that you guys put spaghetti in everything. I like it, I like it a lot. I tried the squid ball? And it was really good. I liked it.
Since La Banda, how has your life changed? And was the life of a superstar everything you though it was going to be?
Richard: I think it’s harder than what we thought. We thought it was just like getting on stage and performing. But there’s so much
behind it. There’s so much interviews, so much traveling, and so much hours not sleeping. It’s a lot of things that we didn’t expect. But we love it. It’s cool but it’s not as easy as we thought. It’s actually work as well, apart form the fun. I guess there’s a lot to look forward to and to learn from.
How do you deal with all the pressure and stress from your schedule? Do you have anything you enjoy doing in your free time?
Zabdiel: In our free time, we like to do fun stuff like we always play foosball. We always ask for foosball. And we always play Go Kart, bowling. But we also try to take everything as it comes, step by step.
What is your dream for Latin music?
Richard: I think our dream for Latin music is just to take it around the world. Right now, Latin music is trending, as you can see because of “Despacito” and so much Latin artists that have taken it global. And to also be an example to the youth, that we were just like them, we were just in school, we were just working and because of one dream, because of music, we all got together. We’re different countries, we’re different cultures. There’s not usually so much cultures coming together for one thing, and we got together for a dream, and that’s music.
Can you tell us a fun fact for each member? A special talent? Or something that your fans do not know?
Christopher: I’ve recently remembered, it’s not like a talent. But we were on the plane, just coming to Asia and I can impersonate a dog really well. I don’t know if I can do it right now. If it doesn’t come out good, it’s because I’m really tired. (ARF! ARF).
Zabdiel: I can beatbox but everybody knows that.
Richard: For me, I draw and I do parkour.
Erick: I can play soccer very well. I can play the guitar. I learned it just five months ago.
Joel: Something I discovered, I can put my thumb behind my hand. I’ve never shown this before. This is something new. First time. Exclusive.
Do you feel like you have to put up some sort of image you have to project to other people as a band?
Richard: For us, I feel like that’s what’s special about CNCO. We’re very genuine. We don’t try to act like someone else. We don’t try to put up a face. We are how we are, off camera, on camera. I think that’s what the fans love about us. And that’s what we want to try to keep, even between each other.
As a group, do you have a leader?
Richard: I think all of us, we try to come together to just come to one conclusion. We are five different minds, five different cultures and so we have different ideas. So why not just take all those ideas and agree.
What flavor does each member bring to the table?
Erick: I think I got the tropical thing about Cuba.
Richard: Actually, all of us, we all have different kinds of genre that we love to listen to and artists that we admire. So for me, I go for R&B and a lot of
Dominican Bachata. So I feel like I can add that to the group.
Zabdiel: I think I can add the romantic thing maybe. I like the soul music like super romantic stuff. So I think I have that kind of flavor.
Christopher: Me too I really like ballads a lot. But I really like rock music too. But I really like, since the beginning, reggaeton since I was a kid. So I have those kinds of flavors, mixed.
Joel: I am Mexican. I grew up my whole life in the Unites States. So I think I can add that American sound to it.
For new CNCO fans, what song would you recommend they listen first? If they just want to discover your group?
Richard: Reggaeton Lento would be the first song I would recommend. That was the song that took us here and opened a lot of doors for a lot of places. I feel like that is our mark. Like if you know CNCO, you know Reggaeton Lento. And then our new single, “Se Vuelve Loca,” it’s just us dancing with no other people. So I feel like that’s personal.
Where do you see CNCO in five years?
Christopher: I feel we’ll still be together. A little bit fat. Still together. Still doing really cool music. Traveling around the world. Living the dream and
accomplishing a lot more things.
What is your message to your Filipino fans?
Richard: That we love them, that we’re super thankful, we’re super grateful for the love that they showed us coming here to the Philippines. We didn’t expect to have fans outside the airport. It was super cool. They had time they were singing our songs.
Erick: We hope to come back soon and do a concert here. Salamat po.