Just like in fairy tales, young singer Octavio Cuadras‘ life changed in just a few days. First one of his favorite groups, Marca Registrada, agreed to record his song “Bling Bling” with him, which ended up going viral on TikTok.
That’s how the song got Maluma‘s attention and, through renowned producer Edgar Barrera, they reached Cuadras’ manager, Christian Gutiérrez. Then, just before Christmas, Cuadras, Marca Registrada and Maluma met in Colombia — and now, very soon, the world will be able to hear the remix of “Bling Bling,” a song that has become the standard of a new movement called “corridos felices.”
At the helm is Cuadras, 23, from Sinaloa, Mexico, who until recently had been experimenting with corridos bélicos without much success; he was just one more in the maelstrom of performers of the regional Mexican subgenre that shook the world last year. So, he set himself the task of creating something different, and wrote about positive things: no violence in the lyrics and, in the music, friendly and fun sounds.
“As always happens, there are people who don’t see it as regional Mexican and don’t accept it, but there are many more who have reacted positively, fortunately,” he says enthusiastically, radiating likability. Indeed, Cuadras is living the dream of going from a few thousand monthly listeners on Spotify to 5.5 million, seemingly overnight.
In an interview with Billboard Español, Octavio Cuadras tells how this series of fortunate events happened for his life and career.
How did you decide to take the risk of making songs totally different from what was working for others?
I realized that there was a gap — like the music had stagnated. I don’t want to say that I discovered the wheel, but there was a dead time, I saw a space and I took advantage of it. The idea was to do something different and for everyone to ride that wave. I’m delighted that many do it, that’s what it’s all about.
What do you think about the fact that corridos bélicos altered the traditional forms of Mexican regional music?
There was a lot of criticism and doubts about what was going to happen with regional Mexican, but music is art, so when you create a song you don’t necessarily have to stick to one style.
The happy corridos were not accepted by many people at first, but many more liked the concept. The numbers don’t lie, and it is impressive what is happening. People who didn’t listen to regional Mexican music became fans because of the tune and the instruments. That is a positive thing.
How did the collaboration with Marca Registrada come about?
I told Christian [Gutiérrez], my manager: “I want to record this song ‘Bling Bling’ with Fidel [Osvaldo Castro of Marca Registrada]. If I don’t record it with him, I won’t record it with anyone.” He showed it to him and he liked it. We immediately recorded it, it was uploaded to platforms and all this commotion happened.
Is Fidel an influence in your career?
I admire him a lot that he is helping young talents; not just anyone does that. A positioned artist like him usually does collaborations with someone who is also famous. However, he has been working with new artists, and that speaks of his vision and human quality.
When I met Fidel [about three months ago] I had 9,500 listeners [on Spotify]. Today I have 5.5 million monthly. I have a lot to thank him for, as well as the public that is supporting me.
How did the remix of “Bling Bling” with Maluma come about so quickly?
I didn’t believe it. Edgar Barrera, whom I admire enormously, contacted my manager, who is a very well known and respected musician in the regional Mexican music scene.
It turns out that Maluma, although he likes corridos bélicos, when he saw what was happening with “Bling Bling” on TikTok he liked it because it was something totally different and that’s how it happened. Suddenly Marca Registrada and I were already traveling to Colombia, so very soon you will be listening to the remix version with Octavio Cuadras, Marca Registrada and Maluma.
You uploaded videos of your time with Maluma; him singing and you playing the guitar as if you were friends for years.
I was nervous to death. I’ve been listening to him since high school, you know, so imagine me sitting there playing guitar and singing with him, it was unforgettable beyond the recording. We congratulated each other on Christmas via messages, so I already consider him my friend; something surreal, I can’t believe it.
After doing something with Maluma, does planning for what comes next get complicated?
Of course, I wondered what comes after Maluma, but we’re going to keep going with all our might. I have a lot more to offer besides the happy corridos. I have a lot of music.
I promise you that this 2024, Octavio Cuadras comes with everything: corridos, cumbias and more. I have been working very hard on the composition. I’ve been waiting a long time for this moment and it came, so I’m going to take advantage of it. But above all, I’m going to enjoy it.
I simply make music — and, if the public likes happy corridos, we follow that way. But if not, we have everything to offer them.
Now many artists will want to collaborate with you. Are you aware of that?
I have already done several songs for the new Marca Registrada album, and in a few more days I will be recording with Grupo Firme. I would like to collaborate with Fuerza Regida, Natanael Cano and someone special, Arcángel.
Would you like to do something with Xavi, who is taking regional Mexican music to new heights?
Of course, my respects to Xavi. We should be happy that more regional Mexican [artists] are moving forward. The artists who are already there, already have their place. It’s great that people also support the new ones.
You have had a contract with Universal Music’s Fonovisa label since before this success came along.
That’s right, my manager and I went to Universal for a kind of experiment, the “bélico indie” concept. We never imagined what would happen, and the truth is that we were already working very well beforehand, with many plans that will now continue.
The post “Meet Octavio Cuadras, Creator of the Happy Corridos That Won Maluma Over” by Griselda Flores was published on 01/11/2024 by www.billboard.com