Prince Royce hasn’t always been called that. Born Geoffrey Royce Rojas, the young man is an up-and-coming bachatero whose music has begun to lure curious listeners. Born and raised in Bronx, NY to Dominican parents, Prince Royce began singing when he was in elementary school and later began writing poetry. At the age of 15, Prince Royce wrote his first song. The now 20-year-old has completed his debut album, titled Prince Royce, which is scheduled to be released sometime in early 2010. His first album is described as a blend of bachata fused with other contemporary Latin and pop rhythms. As he readies for his album’s release, nocheLatina had the chance to talk to Prince Royce about his upbringing, his greatest musical influence, and his dream of creating a movement.
nocheLatina: I understand you were born in New York City. How would you describe your upbringing?
Prince Royce: I was born and raised in the Bronx with my two parents and my three siblings- pretty normal life. I was in the elementary school choir. When I was 13 or 14, I got into poetry and did a couple of poetry jams. I was doing music since I was 15 and then when I was 19, I met Andres Hidalgo, my manager.
nocheLatina: What was the subject of the first song you wrote?
Prince Royce: I don’t even remember…it was like a love song about seeing a girl from across the street. Amor platonico(platonic love).
nocheLatina: Do you consider yourself to be a romantic guy?
Prince Royce: Yes, I consider myself to be that.
nocheLatina: Both your parents are Dominican. What role, if any, did your Dominican culture play in your life? Did you ever clash with your parents in terms of culture?
Prince Royce: They were always really kind of strict, especially my dad. I didn’t start going out until I was 17 or 18. He didn’t want me getting into drugs or falling out with a bad crowd. However, I would always take trips to Dominican Republic for family vacations.
nocheLatina: Did you always know you wanted to be a performer?
Prince Royce: Yeah, I think I’ve always wanted to, even before I wrote my first song. I always used to sing in the shower, but I never really got into the music until a friend of mine helped me a lot with recording. I always saw myself performing on stage and the girls yelling out my name.
nocheLatina: What’s your favorite music genre?
Prince Royce: I listen to a lot of crazy stuff like pop, techno, rock, hip-hop, rap, baladas, bachata…my iPod is crazy. I like listening to a lot of stuff in different languages, so my music is always out there for me.
nocheLatina: Was there one specific moment in which you realized that this is what you wanted to do?
Prince Royce: Once I got together with my manager Andres, I started really working hands on with bachata and realized, ‘Alright, this is what I really want to do.’ I started putting a lot of time, more than before, until like 4 in the morning.
nocheLatina: Can you remember the first time you performed?
Prince Royce: Elementary school, I was singing a Christmas song. I felt really comfortable on stage. My parents and a lot of people were there.
nocheLatina: I understand you began to write poetry when you were 13. What did you write about and do you still write?
Prince Royce: I stopped writing poetry now. I would write about life and family issues, stuff that would go on with my friends. I would write a lot about life and death.
nocheLatina: What message does your music bring to your listeners?
Prince Royce: I’m trying to catch all ages. There are a lot of things going on that’s causing a lot of these young kids to head in the wrong direction. I know a lot of kids that are cutting school. I try to give out a positive message, trying to get kids focused. If they don’t then they’re going to end up like every other hoodlum in the street.
nocheLatina: Who are your greatest musical influences?
Prince Royce: I’ve always looked up to Michael Jackson, but unfortunately, he died. People used to make fun of me for listening to him. I always listened to Usher, Ginuwine, Juan Luis Guerra, Antony Santos, and of course, Aventura. When I grew up, they were already out.
nocheLatina: You’re an attractive guy. How do you deal with your female fans?
Prince Royce: I just reply to every fan. I treat everyone equally. When I reply to a message, I try to respond and be as sweet as I can- I show everyone a lot of love.
nocheLatina: Can you describe your song ‘Corazon Sin Cara.’ What is it about?
Prince Royce: Girls who always wear makeup or think they’re fat or they’re ugly… it’s not all about the materialistic things and the image. It’s not just about that.
nocheLatina: What is your ultimate goal in life?
Prince Royce: My ultimate goal in life, with my music, is to make a movement. I’m also into acting and modeling… I want to get into theater. I do want to give out a positive message and be successful.
nocheLatina: And by a movement, what do you mean?
Prince Royce: I want bachata to go to the next level. It was like a hick country music from the Dominican Republic, it doesn’t even have its own category in the Grammy’s, but its growing really big now.
nocheLatina: I understand your album is coming out soon, early in 2010. How do you feel about its release?
Prince Royce: It’s exciting and it’s also a lot of pressure. With all this stuff and all the little commotion coming out, I want it to be good. It’s a lot of pressure. I finished the album, it’s going through the mastering process now. I’m really satisfied with the material I came up with and I hope everyone likes it.
To learn more about Prince Royce, click here. You can also check out his latest video, "Corazon Sin Cara" and "Stand By Me".