Residente - Bringing Authenticity Back to Music with "Residente" - Extended Interview

Extended - March 29, 2017 - Residente 03/29/2017 Views: 100,940

Residente explains how he took a DNA test to trace his roots for an eponymous documentary and solo album and weighs in on Puerto Rico's standing in America. (9:39)

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Please welcome Residenté.

(applause and cheering)

(applause, cheeringand whistling swell)

-Welcome, welcome.Welcome to the show. -Thank you.

-(woman shouts out) -You gota ton of fans in the audience.

-Welcome. -Ooh. Thank you.-(applause and cheering)

Uh, first things first.Welcome to the show.

Congratulations on making itback from your documentary.

-I just want to say...-Yeah.

...I did not know how manyGrammy Awards you had won.

Is...? What is it now?22, 23? How many now?


(applause and cheering)

But that doesn't matter.That doesn't matter for me.

That doesn't matter?

No. Yeah, for me, it's like,I don't...

-Yeah, because you won them all.-Yeah.

-(laughter)-No, but...

-No, that's funny, but...-(laughter)

But... No, but, when you...when you think...

Like, I never thought thatwhen you win a Grammy,

eh, about, like-- I don't know--"Record of the Year"--

I never think that my recordis the best of the year.

-Yeah. -Like, I think thatthere are so many artists

and musiciansmaking great music,

and they don't havethe opportunity

to submit to the Grammys,so I don't...

You know, it's, uh,business-wise, it's okay,

it's good, you know,to have 25 Grammys, but...

You know, as an artist,it's good,

but it's not, you know...

I know that there aregreat artists out there,

like, better than me,making music,

and they didn't havethe opportunity,

and they should have won.

-Oh, that's a really nice wayto put it. -Yeah.

I will say, on my side,I would not be that nice.

-I would be like...-(laughter)

I'd be like,"Yeah, I'm the best."

-Uh... I would...-(laughter)

Like, if I won 25,at the Grammys,

I would just stay standingfor my category.

I would just be like,"Yeah, it's me.

-Don't worry. It's me."-(laughter)

"It's me. I know it's me."

Um, but now you're moving onto the next journey,

and that is moving onfrom Calle Trece,

which a lot of peopleknow you for,

and now Residenté is your newproject, which is fascinating.

You've designed itas a documentary

that is all about the album.

Why did you chooseto do it this way?

Uh, well, I thought it was...

Like, in music, like,there is a lack of honesty,

I think, and realness,

and I wanted to be, like,with the people there.

Like, if I am gonna talkabout Africa,

like Burkina Faso, I-I...

I go there, and I staywith the tribes or the people.

-Yeah. -Like, andI make music with them,

and it's more real and honest.Like, that...

You don't have thaton the radio.

Like, people now,the music industry--

-for me, it sucks, and, uh, youknow, radio, too. -(laughter)

And, uh, and it's importantto have that honesty.

Like, I... I can't believe,like,

if you're talking aboutNew Orleans,

and then,you shoot the video in L.A.,

it's, like, for me,it's kind of weird, you know?

-(laughter)-And that happens, also,

-in the music industry a lot.-I...

That-that-that'sa strong statement.

-Yeah. -And you reallyfollow through on it.

Because, uh, I wasreally interested to find

that what you did was you tooka DNA test, you know,

-Yeah.-to see your ancestry, really,

and you foundall these different places

that in some way were connectedto you through your blood.

-Yeah. -And so you wentto all of those places

to make music there.

What was the countrythat surprised you the most

when you found you know,

you had some sort of lineage?

I think every countrysurprised me.

I went to Ossetia--I don't know if you guys know

where is Ossetia.

I-I... I didn't know before.

And it's the south of Russia,

and it was a countrythat was at war in 2008

against, uh, Georgia.

And there are no tourists there.

I went there...I-I had to ask for permission.

It was very difficult to go in.

And it was... was kind of...

At first I was kind of scared,but then I... I realized

that they were, like, nice,you know, nice people.

-Yeah. -But, you know,because you have ISIS

and all the... things happeningaround the Caucasus,

it's kind of scary sometimes.But yeah.

But I did a song about war,

so I-I... I used,like, kids from Ossetia,

drums from Ossetia,and then I used, um,

the panduri from Georgia,

that they were at war,like, against each other,

-and I did a song with themtogether in the song. -Uh-huh.

-So it's... Yeah.-Wow. Wow.

(applause, cheering, whistling)


You... not only wentto all of these places,

you also took a journeyback to Puerto Rico,

which is interesting to me,because at some point

you called, uh,

you know, one of your leadersa son of a bitch.


-I'm not gonna do it now,but yeah. -(laughter)

-I can, if you want me...-No, no, I don't want

to get you into trouble.I mean, you got banned

-Yeah, that's crazy. -for fouryears, your music was censored,

you were banned.

What was that like, you know,

going back to Puerto Ricoand being in a place

where your music wasoff the radio,

and yet you had so many fanswho resonated...

you know,your music resonated with?

Yeah, it was... it was crazyfor me at that time.

And I felt that, like, you know,like, bad all the time.

Like, the people said hi,but I was, like, the...

-you know, the "bad guy"back home. -Yeah.

Uh, but then, um...

the guy who was, um...

he lost, you know, the governor.

-(woman whoops)-Uh...

(laughter, cheering, applause)

And... and then I was ableto perform again

-in front of 30,000 people,and it was great. -Wow.

And for me, I cried at the end,because I...

I really wanted to perform.

And, you know, it's, like,a kind of a happy-sad story,

because my grandma, uh, shenever saw me perform like that,

and she died before...because I was banned.

So... but at the end,was, yeah, uh, it was good,

and the people,they-they were...

they were happy to see me,and me, too.

It feels like that's a storythat's all too common

with Puerto Ricoand Puerto Ricans.

You know,a lot of people don't realize

that Puerto Rico isits own country,

and yet at the same time,is what they call

a territoryof the United States,

which is sort of like a colony.

Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens,

but they cannot votein the presidential election.

You have a lot of viewson what you wish

the future of Puerto Ricowould be.

Uh, yeah, I don't know.I-I wish...

Like, I am oneof the five percent

of the people from Puerto Rico

that believe in the independenceof Puerto Rico.


Uh, and of course it's becauseI would like to be like the...

like the U.S.Like, with one flag,

one national anthem,and with a president.

We don't have a president.

Well, we have Trumpas a president,

but we can't vote for him,so it's kind of weird.

So you're sayingyou would have voted for him?

-Uh, no.-(laughter)

I like... I like Bernie.

-But...-Oh, you like Bernie?

-Yeah.-Oh, look at that. Okay.

(cheers and applause)

Bernie's a great guy.

Uh, but yeah,it's kind of confusing,

and if I start...

-If I try to explain now...-Yeah.

-It's a complicated situation.-Yeah.

It's gonna take,like, three hours.

It's funny, because,you know, Lin-Manuel Miranda,

h-he had an amazing piece thathe did on John Oliver's show

-Yeah.-trying to explain, you know,

part of what's happeningin Puerto Rico,

and I was shocked... I guessyou were shocked, as well,

to find outthat the two of you are related.

-Yeah, yeah. -But you didn'tknow that you were related.

You guys are cousins.

How on earth do you find outyou're related to Lin-Manuel?

Is that when you're lookingfor Hamilton tickets,

and then you go,"There's got to be some way

I can get these tickets."

-How did you find that out?-"We are cousins."

No, I met him before,way before Hamilton.

-Like when he was, uh, doing In the Heights. -Yeah.

And, like, nine years ago,when my grandma...

She used to tell meall the time,

like, "Oh, you have your cousinin New York."

And I didn't know about him.

And then when he startedto write In the Heights,

we met in Puerto Rico because...

And my mom, she saw his faceand, "Oh, you...

you have to be, uh,the son of la-la-la-la-la."

-And I was like...-(laughter)

-And then we discoveredwe were cousins. -Wow.

We were cousins, and...

Yeah, and we've been togethersince then.

And I remember, like,when he started...

he first started to write Hamilton.

We were in a restaurant here--a Mexican restaurant.

Uh, I don't rememberthe name, but...

Uh, and he told me,"No, I have this cool idea

"of making, like Hamil...Alexander Hamilton.

You know who it is?"

"No, I don't know."


"Explain to me who it is."

"And, you know,it's a rap story, and..."

And whatever.And then it was like...

-(imitates explosion)-It was gone.

-Yeah. (chuckles)-Yeah. It's been...

It's beenthe most amazing journey.

Uh, before I let you go,the album is coming out.

It is really a fascinating storythat takes us around the globe,

takes us around your lifeand your story.

What would be one thing youwould want someone to take away

from this documentaryand from this album?

No, it's, uh...

Just listen to the music,

and if you can,watch the documentary.

It's coming to...It's gonna be out in May

and on Netflix and iTunes.

And there is a videocoming out, also,

and two Hollywood actors,Edgar Ramírez, Charlotte Le Bon,

that... actually,she's in love with you.

She told me,"Oh, tell him that I love him."

She's a French actress,and she's... Yeah.

She's in The Walk. I don't know,have you watched that movie?

-Oh, I have. Yes, yes.- The Walk.

-And she's the...the girlfriend of the guy. -Oh.

-(laughter)-Yeah, so...

-Well, thank you.-I don't know if I-I...

Well, thank you.

-Can connect you if you want.-Thank you. I appreciate that.

-Yeah. So, yeah.-(cheers and applause)

It's coming out this Friday,

and the albumand the documentary is in May,

so thank you. And thank you forall the fans and Puerto Rico.

The people from the college,

the University of Puerto Ricothat they are in strike,

I'm gonna support you guystomorrow.

I'm flying there. So, yeah.

-I'll be there.-(cheers and applause)

Thank you for everything.

Residenté's documentarywill be available soon,

and his solo album comes outFriday, March 31.

Residenté, everybody.

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