By Christopher Heide
Chosen Magazine recently had the opportunity to sit down with up-and-coming Seattle based pop-artist VELO (AKA Victor Cruz).
CM: Tell us about your musical background. What inspired your artistic career and how did you get started?
VC: My earliest exposures came in Mexico and Arizona, with a strong Latino base of musical influences. In college I started performing seriously in dance and musical entertainment, and began to establish my own form of dominance of the stage. After moving to Seattle in 2009, I won Seattle's Pride Idol competition, and used this exposure to perform regularly as a cover artist in the Pacific North West club scene. I made a number of music videos covers, all YouTube sensations. Now, I added on original work to my resume.
CM: What is the biggest challenge you have faced as an up-and-coming performer?
VC: I don’t think there is anything easy about being a local entertainer. In fact I think its harder to capture your local audience because they know you as a friend, a co-worker, an ex bf etc. So the illusion is gone. Sure, you have a core support audience that always book you for shows and events and love what you do and that’s incredible. However when you step outside of your “scene” and perform someplace new, all they know is the artist and the music, that’s it. Whatever you bring to the table is what they judge you on and if they love it…that’s when you know that what you’re doing has the green light.
CM: As an LGBT and Latino artist, have you faced any adversity in your career?
VC: In a sense I have, its harder to gain visibility or respect but at the same time, I do this for me and if people like it, even better.
CM: Have you had any personal struggles that have inspired your music?
VC: Absolutely, break ups, great parties, lust. You name it, it all come out in the music, music video, what I sing about.
CM: Who are you biggest influences, in music and in life?
VC: When I look at commercial top forty music, I don't see a lot of Latinos up there. I don't identify with Beyonce or Britney Spears but Jennifer Lopez stands out to me because of course shes Latina and because of her ruthless stamina. She inspires me.
CM: What message do you hope to send to your fans?
VC: Having Gay parents, I grew up being a part of gay pride. I always helped with setting up, breaking down and helping out with entertainment. It’s only natural that I ended up working in HIV prevention and it also plays a big part in why I became a gay recording artist. Accepting that has helped me feel comfortable in my own skin and I encourage other to embrace who they are.
CM: What projects do you have coming up?
VC: I just released my second single "TWINK". Twink is a fun project that I’ve been working super hard on. I wanted to go for something different for my second single and follow up to “We Like To Party”. I wanted it to be funny, yet serious and relateable. I also have a collaboration with a singer Bryan Setzer called "Boys” coming out soon, my solo Third single and a holiday track as well hopefully. My agent keeps me busy, I like that.
For more information on VELO, check out his website