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In those days the big U.S. labels didn't have any particular interest in the Latin market.
I was the first person to come into New York with a Latin American point of view which was also very much influenced by political happenings in Latin America.
I was born in Panama, the Republic of Panama, on July 16, 1948 in Panama City, in an area called San Felipe.
I was a kid, and I remember my mother singing. She was also a radio soap opera actress, but my mother sang.
I think we risk becoming the best informed society that has ever died of ignorance.
I think in New York we had respect and we would pretty much fill up the places where we went, but I never got the sense that we really were Number 1 here in New York among the Latin crowds.
I didn't do drugs, I never did do drugs. Never. I don't have any story of drugs, you know, to speak of. Never did drugs, never was interested in drugs and then I wasn't interested in the people around the drugs.
I decided we should book ourselves, so I started booking the band.
Every band had their own distinctive sound, but it was pretty much dancing music and rhythmic music with a tremendous emphasis on copying the Cuban models.
But, when I was about thirteen, I began to sort of sing in my neighborhood.
Anywhere you had a commerce center, you had a lot of music.
And, he'd seen me in Panama, and he talked about maybe doing something in New York so I hooked it up when I came here and I recorded in 1969 my first album with Pete Rodriguez.
And music was a very important part of our lives. The radio was on all day.
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