Glen Monroig: A 50-year career

The emotions that arise in the singer and the musician are inevitable Glenn Monroe looking back and thinking of that teenager who was 14 years old when – guitar in hand in his father’s business, “La Guitarra de Gilberto” – he began to manifest himself in music.

What he feels is gratitude for accompanying him in the course of this half-century career because his essence was not separated from this young man who moved through countless fields, with music as the protagonist of his life.

For 65 years now, he has brought with him countless compositions, several albums, countless presentations ranging from clubs, cafes to festivals and concert halls, as well as countless collaborations and experiences.

Less than a month before his concert was held in Santurce Fine Arts Centeraccompanied by Puerto Rico Philharmonic Orchestraspoke to this newspaper about the show he will present on August 13, titled: “Yesterday, Today, Forever,” as well as details related to his health, career and legacy.

Enjoy meeting your audience

“This concert is taking place at a crucial time. The people who do it have great respect, love and affection for it and my music means a lot in their lives. More than anything, I’m excited to be lucky enough to be able to do something like this, a philharmonic concert., for which new arrangements are being made. I am very happy”, shared the artist, indicating that he will be accompanied by Frank Suarez, who has been his musical director and arranger for almost three decades.

The evening, which he has chosen to look “super elegant” and “very chic”, will give way to Glenn’s interpretation of some classics, in the tenor register, as well as symphonic arrangements and orchestrations of his other songs.

One of the surprises of the evening, which has him very excited, will be performing some songs with his 18-year-old daughter Salome, who is a singer and actress.

From the “Festivalna” hall, for about an hour and a half show, he will perform songs that have accompanied him throughout his career, such as: “Forever”, “Without your love”, “Lost cause”, “Cause and effect”, “Live for you’, ‘And Then It Hurts Again’, ‘Now What’, ‘With You’ and ‘I Think It Was Love’, among others.

early maturity

Although he assures that he wouldn’t change a thing in his life and that he appreciates the good and the bad, he emphasizes that he could not afford a responsible adolescence and had to mature quickly, “from a very early age.”

as a teenager He was immersed in the adult world and in a home where he had problems with his father due to his heroin addiction. He also lives grateful for it because there were many lessons learned. He remembers growing up seeing great artists around him at home and cherishes those beginnings when he performed in clubs and coffee shops.

“There was a beautiful culture at that time, what existed was very beautiful and it was hand in hand with the people, a time of very brave culture, with huge shades of the left. To this day, there are people who think your political ideals are tied to your human or cultural integrity, which is something I greatly resent in this country,” he said.

Authentic and avant-garde

In expressing his art as a singer, songwriter and musician, he has had a variety of influences. As a singer, he emphasizes the figure of his father, the bolero player Gilberto Monroigand then to Jose Jose, for whom he had the pleasure of directing a music video. Coming from a home where a lot of music was played, there were too many influences.

In the same way, he evolves and allows himself to be an authentic artist without allowing himself to be governed by the prescriptions established in the music world and what is classified as “successful”, which he defines as one of his greatest satisfactions .

“I did what I wanted without letting myself get caught up in the parameters that dictate what it is to be successful. These parameters are in the service of that entertainment that moves the world and leads it where it is going. Some people interpret it as arrogance. I don’t consider myself an entertainer, I consider myself a communicator. The communicator has a very big responsibility. A brief explanation of all this, I’m not happy in the world I live in. I’m grateful for everything, but I’m not happy with what it’s become, with capitalism and consumerism.”said Monroig, who loves literature, writes and likes the word.

His themes have always enjoyed an admirable depth that is not limited to love and heartbreak, but is also characterized by an examination of social and political issues.

“It’s a legacy that I’m leaving in many ways, it’s political, social, emotional and philosophical, and the beauty is that I’ve done it in a language that everyone can understand.” It’s very sad that people sometimes think they don’t, but the only thing that proves it is my outrage at a society that has so devalued public discourse that they do everything they have to explain to you or that every word that you use that it’s not a popular word, it’s an overused word, they resent you and say you’re a pedant, that you think you know them all,” he said.

Among his social themes, he highlights Cause and Effect, Don’t Pretend, I’m Told, I’m Told II, Cuba Libre, and El Punto, which he explains were the most the transcendental. It was he who highlighted the new song “La Bolsa o la Vida”, which will be premiered at the concert.

“This topic brings up the conversation of whether you are smart or smart. We have a system where anyone who is smart can make money, not necessarily the smart. This gives you a complete picture of what the entertainment is powered by. The more you lower the bar, the less capacity for analysis and critical thinking people and the public have,” he added.

His daughters, his greatest legacy, more than music

Although he emphasizes that his father, in his irresponsibility, sometimes gave him a clear message, “I don’t care about you,” this served to internalize and externalize him. For this reason, and according to his psychiatrist, his life has been a profound exercise in undoing. That’s where the healing was, he admits.

“I had such a terrible childhood that was wonderful at the same time. They loved me more than anything. I know children with stable homes who cannot guarantee that they were loved. So they loved me more than anything. The thing is, they were both crazy. They were in a very dysfunctional relationship and I was the victim, I was there in the middle. When you get in there and do what they did to you, the healing process is nurturing. I’m not perfect as a father, because no one is, but I can be sure that with all my flaws I have raised great human beings, that this is my greatest legacy, more than music,” he said.

His immeasurable love as a father is professed, with paternal ties strengthened beyond blood, as three of his daughters are adopted and one is biological. Even because of this great love for her daughters and presence in their lives, she points out that this is what prevented her from launching her career internationally. Your greatest satisfaction?, we ask. “After raising my daughters,” he assured without hesitation.

“I leave at least four persons, to whom I am quite sure of their sympathy, which I have endeavored to convey to them. To do that, I had to be present and I didn’t have an international career.”said Monroig, who had them not only tattooed in his heart and memory, but also Paloma, Jessica, Sophia, and Salome tattooed on his skin.

Marked by his songs

The singer-songwriter considers his musical legacy to be the tribute he paid to his father with the tribute album he recorded, ‘A papi’, which features a handful of 27 Gilberto Monroig songs. Likewise, he cherishes such songs as “Sin tu amor”, which is the love story between his father and mother, and “Vivir para ti”, which he dedicates to his daughters.

“Lost Cause” is one of those songs that has always marked his career, as well as “Forever”, which, although not by him, but rather by the American rock singer, songwriter and guitarist Kenny Loggins, its Spanish version always accompanies him. .

“’Lost Cause’ is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever written. It’s a super sensitive topic, talking about self-love in a relationship when it’s already over and saying goodbye in love. It is gentle and has poetry, it is very beautiful, as well as its musical composition. On the other hand, “Forever”, when Kenny came to Puerto Rico, the producer picked me up from my house and took me to Fine Arts so I could show Kenny the verse in Spanish in the dressing room so he could sing it.. When started singing it, it wanted to fall,” he recalls.

careful about your health

A few months ago, when his 50th anniversary concert was about to be celebrated, his health caused great concern and frustration for the singer as he already had signs of reduced lung capacity. Compounding this is a pre-existing vocal cord condition, asthma and being overweight, among other things. A “perfect storm” was brewing, he said, but it was the right time to rebuild.

“I had a problem between the Sahara dust and the cigarette and I started to suffocate. I reached 70 percent lung capacity. The first thing I thought: “I don’t want to suffocate to death, and my youngest daughter is 18 years old. I generally think very little of myself. I live up to who I am in the lives of the people I love. I said “eh, lightning, what’s the use of singing”. It worried me because I started to get very choked up even if I spoke,” admitted the artist, who said with relief that the possibility of suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, known as COPD, has been ruled out.

Likewise, he mentioned that he had an inoperable “voice scar” problem that had worsened and combined with asthma.

“It’s not about polyps, it’s about the string not touching where the scar is, which means it doesn’t stick well enough to create a flutter, and you lose air through that. It’s a bit “stress-related” because there are times when if I speak passionately about a topic it shows, you come up empty. I was super rocheao with it a long time ago and had a lot of bad times with it because I was stubborn because I was undisciplined and distrustful. I’ve struggled with some uncertainty about that, I’ve struggled for a few years,” he added.

He has since begun treatment, has now lost more than 20 pounds through diet, and is pleased with the improvement he has shown by receiving therapies and performing two types of vocal exercises twice a day to work on his vocal instrument replacement. “I’ve done my part,” he said.

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