Cruz Martinez has had a charmed life. He will tell you that. Through a career which saw him involved with three bands and a plethora of awards to his credit, Martinez knows what is most important. After participating in MTV TR3S' "Quiero Mis Quinces" for his eldest niece Jazzmine's quinceanera, he found himself looking at his own life and appreciating it more, despite the battles during his career. Whether it’s collaborating with his wife Alicia Villareal, helping to promote Latin music, or duplicating glory with his current band, “Los Super Reyes,” Martinez has been in the eye of the storm. In the end, Martinez proudly states that it’s all about his family. In time for the New Year, Martinez talks to nocheLatina about performing for Jazzmine on "Quiero Mis Quinces" and if the Kumbia Kings are set for a reunion.
nocheLatina: Now that New Year’s Eve is upon us, what are your plans for 2010?
Cruz Martinez: So far, we released our latest album two months back. The first single dropped in the Top 20 in Regional Mexican Tropical. That's beneficial as it was ranked on all four formats. It’s a blessing to cater to different markets of Latin America. In the New Year we’ll be touring South America.
nocheLatina: A lot of your music fuses various styles together. Would you say that’s the key behind your success?
Cruz Martinez: I believe so. One of the main strengths is catering to different markets. One location we had 20,000 people attend our concert. On another tour 70,000 showed up. The audiences are younger and a lot of that is because we are multi-formatted.
nocheLatina: How was your experience in being with the Kumbia Kings?
Cruz Martinez: I put the group together with family relatives. It was during a time when few allowed Latino rap artists on their shows. Our fans made it possible to reach the pinnacle of the urban Latin market.
nocheLatina: What was the most important award of the many you acquired over the years?
Cruz Martinez: As part of the Kumbia Kings, I was nominated for a U.S. Grammy and an American Music Award. The market has grown a lot since then. Now we can branch out to other listeners via the New Urban market. Before, music like ours used to be placed in Regional Tropical. Now we have a legitimate category. It’s been a blessing and all the awards we have won have been equally important. However, it’s also rewarding to go out, perform, and hear the crowd sing your songs word for word. There is no greater thrill.
nocheLatina: The Internet has impacted the music business, some for the better, and some for the worst. How has it gone in your case?
Cruz Martinez: It’s this great thing we’ve been provided with for the future. You have to adapt as an artist. You don’t want to get behind and play catch-up. It’s a blessing to cater to adults and youth through these technologies. It’s good for an artist to be able to update your fans on a one-on-one basis. Our music is like a music store that is open to the world.
nocheLatina: Ever think of reuniting the Kumbia Kings in the future?
Cruz Martinez: We have already let bygones be bygones. We did a four-hour energetic show recently, so it’s no problem.
nocheLatina: Career always clashes with home life, time wise. How do you combat it?
Cruz Martinez: The advantage of having success and producing your music is that you can set a list of priorities. I break it down to three things. First, free time for my family and my kids. Then my girl, you have to give her quality time. Then work.
nocheLatina: What is the key to producing for you?
Cruz Martinez: To produce is to be creative. The energy that vibrates from it is confirmed when your audience sings your songs.
nocheLatina: You did the soundtrack for the film Selena. How important was that to you?
Cruz Martinez: A.B. helped out. I worked the production stage. Selena was important because it caused a permanent change in the Latin market. It changed the outlet because of her and in some ways, opened the Latin market to the United States.
nocheLatina: What do you have in store for fans in 2010?
Cruz Martinez: We are releasing a second single and a video for ‘Todavia.’ We also are planning a new album in mid to late 2010.
nocheLatina: You performed for your niece Jazzmine on her quinceanera on MTV TR3S's 'Quiero Mis Quinces.' Tell us how that was a personal project for you.
Cruz Martinez: It reflects on life as a person who works hard to feed his family. You have to have time to reflect. One day you give birth and then it’s your child’s quinceanera. Time flies so fast. I am going to slow down for a bit for the family and kids, enjoy everything I can. You have to enjoy who you leave at home because that’s what counts at the end of the day. Being on that episode was a great reminder for me.
nocheLatina: What was it like performing at a quinceanera?
Cruz Martinez: It was incredible. We did an acoustic jam session. It’s like when you start out as an artist when you’re playing a hotel and jamming with your buddies. You have to learn and appreciate what you got and do the best you can.
nocheLatina: How did this parallel your life?
Cruz Martinez: I got to slow down take a breath. Success at home sets up success everywhere else. Look, I have my children, my parakeets, and my wife. What more can I ask for? I am blessed.
nocheLatina: What would you like people to say when you have completed everything at the end of the day?
Cruz Martinez: I believe that everyone has an opinion and they’re entitled to it. But, I would like for them to say, ‘He was a good cat.’
You can check out Cruz Martinez’s performance at Jazzmine's quinceanera on Monday, January 11th at 9PM. The season of “Quiero Mis Quinces” ends on Monday, January 18th, so don’t miss it! To learn more about “Quiero Mis Quinces,” click here.