Prince Royce gets candid in Billboard’s new “Growing Up” episode, where the chart-topping artist talks dabbling in the music industry as a teenager to recording a cover that would change everything.
Artists such as Usher, Eminem, Enrique Iglesias and Marc Anthony soundtracked his youth and inspired him to want to sing and perform. While initially it was more of a hobby between the ages of 13 and 15, at age 16, Royce — who was born to Dominican parents and raised in the Bronx — started to take music more seriously.
“Singing in the shower was when I discovered that I had talent, and at 16 years old I started handing out flyers, going to festivals and parades, where my cousins would help me pass out flyers. They were my little street team, so my family has always been very supportive,” Royce says.
Initially, the 32-year-old artist was part of the Gino Y Royce duo, where he started writing his own songs to the sound of reggaeton but he quickly transitioned into a solo artist as he released his first album, which cost Royce — who was in college and working at a cell phone store — $8,000 to make. “I did not know I was making something special but it felt special.”
After meeting with Sergio George, who then signed Royce to Top Stop Music (Royce is no longer signed to that label), he recorded “Corazón Sin Cara” and “it flopped,” says Royce. So they decided on recording Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” as a cover with additional Spanish lyrics and as a bachata. “I’m like ‘yo, I think this is wack’ not because I thought the song was wack but because I thought that doing a cover of some song that is random to be in bachata … but I just rode the wave,” he adds.
The bilingual track, released in 2010, peaked at No. 8 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart (dated May 7, 2010).
Watch Prince Royce’s “Growing Up Dominican (In the Bronx)” episode above.