Fans of La Banda, do you remember Jaime Cruz?
If you followed the first season, how could you not? The 14-year-old Puerto Rican performer stole our hearts from the beginning with his on-point audition of Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend."
Although he had always been a dancer, having two parents in the music business has sparked Cruz--who now goes by "Jae"--to venture into singing and embark on his own career, which he initiated by competing for a spot in the winning band of Univision's Simon Cowell-produced search for the next great Latino boy band. Finding inspiration in the career of Justin Bieber, it was on the La Banda stage that Cruz officially became a true multi-talented artist.
Surprisingly, even though he was a stand out among the season's contestants, he didn't make it to the end of the competition as one of the members of the winning band, CNCO. However, he loved every part of being on the show: "I think that everything that happened was for a reason. I wouldn't want it to have happened differently because I wouldn't have had the same experiences."
Being a La Banda contestant provided him with priceless advice from three of the biggest superstars in Latin music, judges Ricky Martin, Laura Pausini, and Alejandro Sanz. Could you imagine what it must have been like being mentored by Latin Grammy-winning artists? MNGBlog had to ask: "Having those three important people watching you and judging the way you sing and dance is a really good feeling because you know that they criticize you to make you a better performer, and a better person," Jae said.
As a result, Cruz has acquired the tools to pursue a successful solo career. "My experience in La Banda has helped me grow as a singer, as a performer, it has made me free on the stage, not fearing if anything goes wrong," he said.
In addition to growing as an artist--we witnessed his development before our very eyes as the weeks went by--being one of the most popular contestants on La Banda has also helped him to quickly build a fan base that is faithfully supporting him on his journey. He can't wait to meet those fans, affectionately known as "Cruzers," on his upcoming Never Give Up tour in August. "I know that some are even coming to Puerto Rico from Miami, LA, New York, and Texas to see the show," he said. "I can't wait to see their reactions towards all the surprises that we have for them in the shows."
Jae's new single "La Apuesta" is out now and is the perfect song to kick off your summer. Available on digital platforms, it is his second collaboration with Puerto Rican DJ YoFred, who wrote and produced the song. "There will be more to come," Jae told MNGBlog when asked if he had any other new projects up his sleeve. "We are still working now with the second single that is called 'Dejalos Moldios,' also written and produced by Yo Fred, but we are going to start working on the rest of the album after the Never Give Up tour in August." A music video for "La Apuesta" will also be launched soon.
And for all those young artists out there who are fighting to make their dreams of working in the music industry come true, Jae offered some words of wisdom: "My advice to everyone has always been to 'Never Give Up'," a statement that is now becoming his motto. "For real the only thing you need to do is keep fighting and keep striving forward, and don't let yourself down just when something goes wrong, gotta get up and keep trying."
If you're in Puerto Rico, you must go see him perform during his Never Give Up tour, which he is working hard to bring to fruition. "The way we are getting ready is with intense dancing classes at 'JuliArts' with my choreographer Julianna. We are reinforcing the dance crew and the band with more musicians. I'm also taking singing classes with Hilda Ramos, and piano lessons with Nelson Calero."
Cruzers, will you be attending one of Jae's shows? Tickets are available through ticketpop.com.
Never Give Up tour dates:
Aug. 5-Centro Bellas Artes Guaynabo
Aug. 6-Teatro Yagüez Mayagüez
Aug. 7-Teatro La Perla Ponce
Wondering what Jae's listening to right now? Let's take a peek into his playlist:
MNGBlog: If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
JC: The song I would have with me for the rest of my life HAS to be "Life Is Worth Living."
MNGBlog: Name some songs on your iPod right now.
JC: Songs I listen to most of the time are: "Loyal," "Company," "Purpose," "Life Is Worth Living," "The Feeling," "11:11".
MNGBlog wishes Jae the best of luck as he starts his solo career. Keep coming back to musicalnotesglobal.com for updates and follow Jae on social media:
Facebook: Jaime Cruz Official