Grammy-Nominated Farruko Shares Thoughts on His Career and La Onda Festival

Courtesy of La Onda by BottleRock

The people behind BottleRock, the perennial Napa Valley music event, are bringing the hottest Latin musical acts to Wine Country for the inaugural La Onda festival on June 1 and 2. The weekend concerts feature major touring acts, local acts and DJ sets all with the usual cornucopia of food (including regional Latin cuisine) and drink you expect from a BottleRock event. We talked to the Grammy-nominated Puerto Rican artist Farruko, who is well known for his own hits as well as collaborations with Bad Bunny, Nicki Minaj, Travis Scott, Post Malone, Ricky Martin and others, about his career and why this festival is important for Latin music.


How did your career start? You credit MySpace with getting the ball rolling.

My career began underground in school, recording with some friends, uploading songs to MySpace and then burning CDs and putting them in mixes. I also sang in school talent shows.

The songs grew in popularity until they were eventually picked up by Puerto Rican radio stations and broadcast to a larger audience. Did you always know they would catch on like they did?

When you start, you don’t imagine that these things are going to happen and when they come to you, you feel fulfilled.

You’ve collaborated with some big names in the music industry. How do you prepare?

I put passion and heart into all the collaborations I do, regardless of the artist. I prepare myself as a person because when I collaborate with someone I use all my tools and give everything within my reach so that something very productive can be done for all parties.

One of your songs, “Pepas,” has more than 1 billion streams on Spotify. Did you ever think you’d reach this large of an audience?

I never in my life thought I would have numbers like that. I didn’t come from that era where music was mediated like that so I was very happy and very surprised when I saw the growth of those numbers.

What was it like being nominated for the Latin Grammy Award for Best Urban Music Album in 2012?

I felt super proud about a goal achieved and happy that the industry considered my work.

Tell me about starting your own label, Carbon Fiber Music. How does it differ from other labels?

It’s been super uphill; not everyone understands the music business — it’s a very competitive industry. I offer other artists a more humane experience and don’t just treat them as a product. They have dreams that can be developed.

What does it mean for you to be traveling to Northern California and Napa Valley for this festival?

The area really grabbed my attention. I like the natural environment and the forests that surround it.

Latin music fans will be there, but do you hope this festival exposes people to Latin music who maybe haven’t heard much of it before?

As Latinos we always seek to reach new audiences and for our music to be recognized, so I would love for people from other cultures to be able to get closer to our music.


crowds gathered at BottleRock
BottleRock (Courtesy of La Onda by BottleRock)