Friday, June 14, 2013

Toby Love to Become First Spanish Singing Artist to Perform at Van Andel Arena

Hear the name “Toby Love,” and think “crunkchata.” Think of music moving you across the dance floor. Think of the sweetness of his lyrics and the sultriness of his melodies.

Toby Love has made a prominent name for himself in the Latin music realm. It is his unique “crunkchata” style that hails from elements of R. Kelly, Juan Luis Guerra, Pitbull and even Michael Jackson that energizes his audience and his popularity.

“Crunkchata” is the contagious and dance-worthy rhythm produced by Latin cultures, languages and genres mixing as one identity that Love developed in 2006 while recording his first solo album and traveling between New York and Miami.

At this time, he was picking up both urban melodies and tropical elements. These influences pushed him toward combining the distinct sounds with one another; however, his unique background is what truly enabled the “crunkchata” movement.

The 28-year-old singer was born in the Bronx, New York to parents of Puerto Rican descent. Given the birth name Octavio Rivera, his elementary school friends teased him for always chasing after girls and nicknamed him “Toby Love.” The name quickly caught on and appropriately fits the romantic lyrics of his most popular songs.

At a young age Love’s mother married a Dominican man, introducing him to the culture Love has become an “honorary” member of. He remembers his mother listening to the traditional Dominican bachata music as she cleaned the house and he remembers falling in love with its rhythm and its culture. Growing up in a highly musical family, Love soon found himself on a path toward singing.

In 1999, Love became a member of what would be the premier group that would open bachata to households across the entire globe, Aventura. Alongside mega superstar, Romeo Santos, Aventura was soon producing international hits. Their world-wide success propelled them to the top of Latin Billboard charts and award winning ceremonies.

To Love, music has always been a way to further understand his own identity and after six years with Aventura, he chose to pursue a path as a solo artist in hopes of deepening this sense of self.

Since breaking away, Love has released five chart topping albums, created his own production label, Scarlito Entertainment, and continues to grow as an artist. Immediately after hitting the solo scene, his self entitled debut album was awarded Latin Billboard’s Latin Rap/Hip Hop Album of the Year and in 2007 his successful song “Tengo un Amor” was dubbed Latin Billboard’s Tropical Airplay Song of the Year.

“Crunkchata” has developed into a culture and an identity for urban youth across the world. In finding himself, Love created a voice for the kids who he feels needed it most. And that, is true Love.