There are but a handful of young, solo artists who dare to tackle the challenge of performing bachata music at the international level. And there are fewer still who embody the drive and determination of the great old bachata performers, when the genre was consigned to the smaller rural areas of the Dominican Republic.
But “it is much overdue” as Prince Royce explains, we need a new talent whose name symbolizes both performing excellence and Latin pride. Singing in both English and Spanish, it is easy to see this gifted young man quickly becoming one of the genre’s hottest new stars.
Geoffrey Royce Rojas was born and raised in the Bronx, New York, and this city has remained a key influence in developing his unique musical style which not only sets him apart from the rest, but has also added to the growth of his career.
His inclination towards bachata is not just a coincidence. His parents who are both from the land of the bachata, the Dominican Republic, always instilled in him a strong sense of cultural identity and pride.
“I feel one hundred percent Dominican,” he reveals with a smile, although his strong Caribbean accent has already given him away.
Though he may be a novice to the music industry, he is no stranger to performing. Captivated by the popular music and dance moves of his childhood, he auditioned and performed in numerous school talent shows from very early on. “I needed to know what it felt like to be any given character in front of a lot of people,” he explains, alluding to his first stage performances in elementary school shows.
In addition to his spontaneity and determination to be an artist, Royce had two important factors in his favor. The first was the unconditional support of his family.
“My mother also dreamed of becoming an artist in her youth, so she was always my biggest supporter when I’d say that I wanted to be an artist. But generally, my entire family has always stood behind me,” he reflects.
The second factor in his favor was being raised in New York City. “I noticed that everything around me was defined by the latest trends and styles, so I started defining my own brand of music, nourished by all the experiences that a city like New York can offer, a place where only those that innovate can truly have an impact and make a difference.
At 13 he discovered a new “hobby” that occupied all of his time and fueled his inspiration, bringing him closer to his ultimate goal. “I began writing poetry and eventually songs, inspired by the personal experiences and issues that affected my generation,” he recalls.
At the age of 15, he begins to narrow in on what he wants to do as a performer and begins “experimenting” with music, working towards becoming a great new artist.
Some time later, Prince Royce would unknowingly discover his artistic destiny, after meeting his future manager Andrés Hidalgo, who suggested that he sing a few bachata songs to judge the quality of his voice.
“It wasn’t a total surprise because I knew that sooner or later I would be performing traditional Dominican music professionally, it just had not occurred to me as my first choice, but I am thrilled that it happened this way.”
Still, he promises that what will set him apart will “not be purely bachata,” but rather more of an urban experience within the tropical genre. “I want to take the bachata to the next level, to break away from the traditional sound that is familiar to everyone”, he emphasizes.
With a fun-loving, energetic personality typical of a Latin youth, topped with ambition and a fervent determination to achieve his objectives, Royce firmly believes in his music and says that he will not let his fans down by offering more of the same thing.
His debut album, titled “Prince Royce”, features mostly bachatas fused with other contemporary rhythms like pop and rhythm and blues, all written by Royce himself.