We’re excited to bring you another American Song Contest interview – this time with Cruz Rock who will represent the US Virgin Islands! Together we talked about his lengthy background in music, his musical inspirations, and his pre-show ritual for every performance. Get to know Cruz Rock more below!
Hello there Cruz Rock – I’m super excited to get to sit down with you today and chat about your work and the American Song Contest! For those who might not know about you, why don’t you give us a brief introduction as to who you are?
Hello and thank you for taking the time to interview me. I am Cruz Rock, international award winning Artist from the Virgin Islands, Saint Croix to be exact. My mother is from Trinidad & Tobago and my father is of Puerto Rican decent but he was born in the Virgin Islands.
As a child I was blessed with many talents and at the age of 5 I realized that being an Artist was my calling. I could draw and paint anything I saw or imagined. My family was heavily into music, my Father and Sister performed on island regularly. As I got older my love for all artistic expressions grew. My father gave me lessons on the piano which assisted me in becoming a producer as well as a singer, song writer. My Mother pushed for me to go to college and eventually I received a scholarship to attend one of the best Art Colleges in America, CCAD. There is where I grew the courage to perform on stage. I became a star in the state of Ohio eventually graduating and branching out to several other states like Florida, New York & California.
I won several awards, charted in numerous countries, and I am the first Latin Caribbean artist to break onto the international scene out of the Virgin Islands. My music has appeared in movies like “Los Domirriquenos 2” which premiered in every major movie theater world wide. I was honored to be the number 1 break out artist in L3 Magazine of Canada. Followed by winning an award for my sophomore album, Soul Rebel. I have featured on tracks with Grammy winning artists like Beenie Man of Jamaica and Zion y Lennox of Puerto Rico. In 2022 I decided to bring my talents to America and collaborated with VH1’s Love and Hip Hop Superstar Amara La Negra. This has led me here to the American Song Contest.
How has life been for you since you were announced as the representative for the United States Virgin Islands on the American Song Contest this year?
It has been wonderful, many people from the islands and the entire Caribbean are happy for me. This is big not only for me but for us. It is hard to get noticed in mainstream America coming from such little islands and this will help to make me into the Mega Super Star I have always dreamed of being.
I feel like every artist has their own origin story as a musician, that moment when they realized that they wanted to pursue music as a hobby or career. When did you first realize your passion for music, and when did it develop into a career for you?
My passion for music always existed but I broke out of my shell when I came to the United States to attend College and saw that my uniqueness gave me an edge amongst other acts. This built my confidence to continue to pursue this dream relentlessly.
Where do you find your motivation or the inspiration to perform and create music? Do these things change throughout time or have they stayed rather constant since your career began?
I find motivation in the process and that process is a rollercoaster ride with twist and turns, you never know what’s next and that is exciting. To know that my thoughts and creativity can impact so many people is amazing. When people dance and sing to my music it gives me hope.
However in a world where there is a balance of positive and negative there are times when I lose motivation and isolate myself. Every 5 years or so I go through these transitions where I lose myself but I realize that it is Gods way of creating a newer better me. Sometimes the universe gives us obstacles that are meant to completely shatter our perspective. Behind those tears, fears and doubts is a brighter day with greater opportunities.
If in a perfect world where you got to select an artist to open for or collaborate with, who would you pick and why?
I would love to collaborate with Bruno Mars. He is an artist that knows no limits and does not hold his self to one genre of music. We would make a hit I know!
What is one thing our readers might be surprised to learn about you – like something that isn’t posted on your official website or social media channels?
I am an introvert, I think more than I speak. I am the quiet person in the room just observing everyone and everything. I also like to meditate, do yoga, and I enjoy time by myself with nature. I also love sports like Basketball and kickboxing.
A lot of musicians that I know have a very particular pre-performance ritual that they do before every show or concert. Do you have a ritual or tradition that you do backstage and if so, what is it?
I pray before every show. I also watch videos of my favorite artists and take notes on how to perfect my craft.
Now let’s talk a bit more about ASC, how did you first learn about the competition and what motivated you to submit an entry to the online portal?
Because the show is new I had no idea how it worked. So I was skeptical about taking part until I was told I would be able to perform my own song with the freedom to creatively express my self with no limits.
Of course we don’t yet have your song just yet, but what can you tell us about the songwriting process for your song? Is there a particular message you hope the song will convey to the audience?
The original song I submitted was a blend of Reggaeton and Dancehall. It was smooth with a catchy Saxophone melody. Atlantic Records loved it and offered to reproduce the song with more dynamics and assist in the production. I was assigned to work with multi platinum producer Ali Dee Theodore and his team. However I wanted to explore his catalogue of instrumentals being that he is so experienced.
I wrote several songs and we decided to go with an up beat high energy cross over track that is laced with guitars, horns and more. I added a Reggaeton, Dembow drum kit to it and a crazy EDM Saxaphone segment which I created in my studio. The lyrics and melody was created by me and then his team helped to fine tune some of the lyrics. It is very impressive and different. There is nothing like it out there. A blend of Caribbean, Latin, Pop and Funk!
For our readers who want to connect with you ahead of or after the contest, where can they find you and your music?
Alright, one last question for you – is there a final message you’d like to share with our readers?
I love you all and thank you for the support! I look forward to visiting your countries and performing for you! Sound it!
Well Cruz Rock, I want to thank you again for your time today and we wish you the best of luck in the American Song Contest moving forward!
Remember #YOU can catch Cruz Rock on an upcoming episode of the American Song Contest Monday nights at 8 PM Eastern/7 PM Central. #YOU can also jump into the ASC discussions happening on social media @ESCUnited, on our discord, or on our forum page!