While most 13 year-old boys were out chasing girls and shooting hoops, Romeo opted to stay home, penning his first songs. It is well known that Romeo’s idol in bachata is Antony “El Mayimbe” Santos. However, his fascination with the art of the popular genre commenced when he discovered the likes of Camilo Sesto, Manuel Alejandro, Juan Gabriel, Omar Alfanno, and – of course – Juan Luis Guerra. Most people focus on the artist, but Romeo always wanted to know who wrote the song. His blossoming love affair with songwriting was only the beginning of a journey he had barely envisioned.
As fate would have it, Romeo soon joined his church choir with his cousin Henry. Shortly thereafter, Romeo and Henry would meet their destiny and join Lenny and Mikey to form Aventura. From inception, Romeo wrote (arranged and produced in collaboration with Lenny) Aventura’s songs, recording only one cover (“Gone” as contained on We Broke The Rules) throughout the group’s amazing trajectory. A string of hits – “Obsesion,” “Cuando volveras,” “Todavia me amas,” “Hermanita,” “La boda,” “Un beso,” “Mi corazoncito,” “Los infieles,” “El perdedor,” “Por un Segundo,” “Su veneno,” “Dile al amor,” “El malo,” to name a few – were Aventura’s catalyst to stardom. Romeo has been almost fanatic about releasing original material and was almost disappointed when his incredibly soulful rendition of “Lagrimas” – recorded for a TV tribute to Jose Jose, went viral overnight.
By late 2002 Romeo’s Megahit, OBSESION as performed by Aventura, had traveled the world – Latin America, Asia and Europe, including Israel, Slovenia, Slovakia, Poland, Russia, to name a few. There numerous cover recordings of “Obsesion,” including one by Third Wish, a German band. At one point in 2004, Obsesion by Aventura was #1 and the Third Wish version #2. In 2006, after Frankie J had covered Obsesion and the song was #1 on mainstream charts for nearly 22 weeks, Romeo took the ASCAP Song of The Year in tropical music and another in the American market in Pop – the first time a Hispanic writer had won an ASCAP award in the American market. In 2007, Romeo took the Billboard Composer of the Year Award over legendary writers such as Marco Antonio Solis and Joan Sebastian – as well as in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. He has also penned hits for artists such as Thalia (“No no no”), El Torito (“Me voy” aka “El anillo”) and Anthony “El Mayimbe” Santos (“Matame”), and Carlos Santana (“Margarita”) among others.
In 2010 Romeo embarked on an historic journey as a solo artist with “Formula Vol. I,” released in Fall 2011. The artist chose an eclectic mix of Bachata, R&B, Ballads – up tempo and fusion to delight his fans. With all of the Bachata tracks written, arranged and produced by Romeo himself, he invited A-list Anglo Market producer, Rico Love, to collaborate on the megahit track “Promise” (feat. Usher) and on “All Aboard” (feat. Lil’ Wayne).
A stellar production from beginning to end, Formula Vol. 1 was emphatically endorsed by critics and fans, as well as inviting to the fold a brand new audience. The record spawned a number of promotional singles, including “You,” “Promise (featuring Usher),” “Mi santa,” “Llevame contigo,” all of which flew to the top of the Billboard “Hot Latin Songs” chart. The record also features “Rival”, co-written by and performed in duo with Mario Domm, leader of the rock band “Camila”, and “All Aboard” featuring Hip Hop icon Lil’ Wayne. Romeo’s star-studded Formula Vol. I not only solidified his king-of-Bachata status with his immense fan base, but it attracted a brand new group of mainstream, Anglo market admirers.
According to Billboard Magazine, Formula Vol. 1 was the #1 seller in Latin Music during 2012. This is incredible considering the record was released in 2011, and that sales during the year subsequent to release of Formula Vol. 1 surpassed sales of other commensurate 2012 releases. This landmark album sold more in its first week than any other Latin album released during the prior five-year period.
The album charted number 1 on Top Latin Albums for four weeks, and had 5 #1 singles. Formula Vol. 1 has been certified Quadruple Platinum by the R.I.A.A. for more than 400,000 units sold in the United States and Puerto Rico. In addition to breaking records, Formula Vol. 1 also took Best Latin Album and Best Tropical Album at the Billboard Awards in 2012.
In February 2012, Romeo commenced his Formula Vol. 1 tour with three sold-out concerts at the iconic Madison Square Garden in New York City. P Diddy, Usher and Wisin & Yandel showed up to collaborate and show their love to Romeo. The finest moments of the MSG concerts were recorded for posterity and released on the DVD “The King Stays King – Sold Out At Madison Square Garden,” released in November 2012. The concert video, which includes 2 hours of live music, was shown in movie theatres throughout the United States as an exclusive, one-night opportunity. It was also transmitted via HBO.
Romeo’s follow-up solo album released on February 25, 2014, Formula Vol. 2 features the participation of Nicki Minaj, Drake, Marc Anthony, Carlos Santana, Tego Calderon and the comedian extraordinaire Kevin Hart. The record, which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums, generated the highest weekly sales of any Latin album since 2006, besting Formula Vol. 1.
Formula Vol. 2 shattered even more records. His first single, a bachata-tango fusion, “Propuesta Indecente”, has been on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart for an unprecedented 100 weeks and counting, and its music video has recorded over 726 million views, a number enviable by any and all music artists across the globe. Formula Vol. 2 is already R.I.A.A. certified 5 times Platinum, and has 5 #1 singles.
When fans look at Romeo today, they see a charismatic and natural artist whose formidable showmanship captivates his audience and whose suave sensuality has enslaved hearts around the world. As lead singer of the iconic band, Aventura, as well as a solo artist, the singer-songwriter has sold out Madison Square Garden 8 times to date. Such an amazing accomplishment would appear to be the pinnacle of any artist’s success. However, in July 2014, Romeo Santos became the first Latin artist to sell out two consecutive nights at Yankee Stadium, joining the ranks of Madonna and Paul McCartney on the very short list of solo artists who have ever achieved such a feat. And in 2015, his global appeal has reached an unparalleled level, selling out stadiums across the world from the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina, to Spain and across Europe. Romeo is currently closing out his second sold-out leg of the Formula Vol. 2 World Tour with three sold-out nights at the Barclays Center, the first Latin artist to do so.
Romeo wears multiple hats – producer, composer, vocalist. He is, above all, a master wordsmith, whose colorful palette of metaphors paints vivid portraits of love, passion, anger, and jealousy; he possesses a profound ability to tap into the human psyche, captivating the tough young audience, even when he turns to serious themes such as abortion, domestic violence, and other high profile social issues of our time.
Romeo’s unquestionable creative flow has made him an icon in the music industry with multiple awards separate and apart from the myriad of honors bestowed upon Aventura for nearly a decade. Almost every year since 2005, Romeo has won awards in one or more categories at ASCAP (American Society of Composers Authors & Publishers) and Billboard. Since 2014 alone, Romeo has won 3 Soberano Awards, 5 Premio Juventud Awards, 6 Premio lo Nuestro Awards, amassed a record-breaking 21 nominations for the 2015 Latin Billboard Awards, taking home 10 of them, and won the 2015 American Billboard Award for Top Latin Artist.
Romeo Santos is not limited to music. Santos has recently brought his talents to prime time television and the silver screen. Romeo was a special invited guest on ABC’s “The Bachelor” where he performed his hit song “Cancioncitas de amor,” a song from Formula Vol. 2. In October 2013, Romeo was a guest on “Sesame Street” where he performed alongside Elmo an original bilingual song about overcoming shyness and making friends. Just last year, Romeo performed on the signature Big Apple float at the 2014 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and was the musical guest on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Falon and with the Today Show. For his debut on the silver screen, Romeo had a cameo appearance on the blockbuster movie “Fast and Furious 7”, and he was selected to be on the cast of the upcoming animation film, “Angry Birds”.