Panamas Finest: Samy P El Conde

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The Panama native, Samy P El Conde, was born with music flowing through his veins. An early example of this was when a cassette tape played throughout his childhood home, within Panama City, he would dance for hours on end. His family would take it as far as to even nickname him El Balatrine. 1996, the year Samy P, then 13, and his mother packed up heading north to Union City, New Jersey. Growing up Samy P says “ All I could think about was music and never understood why it had such a hold on me.”. At the age of 17 he and his friend, who was a DJ, started to make songs off Samy merely freestyle to various tracks being played. The following year Samy traveled back to Panama to visit his family. Once there, something stirred inside of Samy P. He couldn’t wait to get back to the states and create more of the music he was just beginning to tap into.

  Once back Samy P would go on to curate a demo consisting of 2 cover songs and an original track. Samy would go to his barber shop religiously, like most of us do and go about his day but his next visit he would have his demo with him. Little did he know giving his demo to the barbers to play in the shop would change the trajectory of his music career. On another day a man named Junior overheard Samy P’s demo being played in the shop and had an overwhelmingly positive reaction to it. From that moment Junior would reach out to Samy P to ask him if he would like to sign a record deal. Just having the offer on the table was enough reassurance that his skill is something worth noticing.

More years go by and Samy would go on to join billboard topping group Nueve Once signed to Prestige Records. One of his more notable moments with the group was a trip they took to Puerto Rico coming off charting a number one hit on Billboard charts. He points to one specific moment on the streets of Calle del Cristo. After resting up from the flight over, Samy P and his two group mates decided to take a walk. When they went down Calle del Cristo people started to honk their horns, yelling their names, and the group was even chased away by high schoolers charging at them. Samy credits Junior with the discovery but credits John “Gungie” Rivera, Owner of Prestige Records, with the fame aspect of his music career. The rest is history and after a split with the group, Samy P is ready to take on a solo career with all the knowledge he’s gained with his time in the music industry.

Samy P says that in his experience overseas people appreciate the talent and what you can bring to the table in terms of music. His experience in Puerto Rico with his former group made this perspective even more true. The biggest support he receives from fans is from his birthplace in Panama and Spain. Opposed to where he resides in the tri-state area where the buzz doesn’t feel the same.  He uses the story of a famous Latin artist from Spain named Alejandro S to paint the picture of no one from his home country of Spain wanting to do business with Alejandro because they said he lacked what it took. Alejandro S went to America and eventually became a star. Once he arrived back in Spain the same people who didn’t want to give him a shot now begged to work with him. Alejandro ended up charging double his regular fee just for those special people.

Talent alone isn’t what placed Samy P on the path to success. His hunger for doing whatever it takes to make his music career flourish is what drives him but what will also lead him to heights even he couldn’t imagine. 2 people, in particular, have inspired Samy p the most. Them being El General, a fellow Panamanian artist said to be one of the pioneers of Reggae Espanol, and Mariano Rivera, Hall of Famer and best closing pitcher in baseball for the New York Yankee. Fun fact Mariano Rivera is a distant cousin of his but he always felt that if greatness came out of his family in the form of Mariano then there is a chance that he can bring that same glory as well. When asked what 3 artists catch his interest when it comes to collaborations he replied with  “Nicky Jamz, Daddy Yankee, and J-Lo.”. He remembers a time back when, still with Nueve Once, Samy P met Nicky Jamz in New York and the group passed on working with him which he regrets to this day for obvious reasons. Now as for producers he would love to collaborate with the likes of J Fab, Revcadore, and Luny Tunes. J Fab is another example of art being praised overseas. J Fab tells Samy P of a story when he had a gig in Japan. The people praised and cheered him like he was a superstar and it was to Spanish music. The power of music is something that can only be described through feeling.

“Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see.” ― Arthur Schopenhauer

Creators curate art out of shire thought. Samy P sees his future in this music industry and it’s looking bright. Look to hear from him very soon coming to a sound wave near you.

By Joseph Romero