At age 10, Jimmy Rodriguez would have never imagined he’d one day be making music with Marc Anthony’s producer and collaborating with major salsa singers.
At 12, learning this would have starstruck Rodriguez, amazed by the magnitude his dream had taken. It was at this age that he discovered his love of music, after earning second place in a singing competition at his middle school in his native San Luis Potosí in Mexico.
“I didn’t know anything about singing, I just wanted to see what would happen,” said Rodriguez. “I loved singing and after that competition, I just never stopped.”
Soon after, Rodriguez began singing on public buses for tips to provide some financial help to his family.
“The economy at home wasn’t great when I was a kid,” said Rodriguez. “I wanted to help out my mom, who had to support me and my two siblings.”
He moved to Los Angeles to start from scratch and kick off his music career, but continued this same tradition; this time, singing on the Santa Monica Pier for tourists and locals walking by. He mainly focused on Mexican and English, as his audience was more familiar with these styles.
Rodriguez first came across the salsa genre through a Mexican orchestra he found at age 18, and he recalls falling in love with the music style. He’s lived in Miami for two years now, and he’s found the salsa community he sought to enhance his craft.
“Coming to Miami was truly a blessing because here’s where all the salseros are,” said Rodriguez. “You go anywhere here in Miami and there’s always salsa playing.”
While salsa is often attributed to Caribbean countries like Cuba or the Dominican Republic, Rodriguez finds a way to incorporate his Mexican roots into his music.
“I think Mexico influences my music due to its charisma, joy, and constant dancing,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez has released two salsa albums, both of which he paid for out of pocket. He’s currently working on his third, which is being produced by Motiff, who has worked with artists like Pitbull and Marc Anthony.
“Before this, it was just me and my savings but now, we’re really going to start,” said Rodriguez. “It’s a huge difference, because I’m not a manager or producer, and he already knows the industry.”
On his YouTube channel, he posts his released songs, highlights from his audition to “La Voz US,” and covers for famous salsa songs. The rest of his discography can be found on Spotify and Apple Music.
He just completed a small tour in his native Mexico, which went to Guadalajara, Tlaxcala, and San Luis Potosí, the latter selling out. He has also joined major salsa artists like Maelo Ruiz in their Latin American tours.
“When I go on tour with bigger artists, the events are bigger: sometimes they’re in stadiums and it’s incredible. And then obviously, when it’s my concert, it’s fully mine and I can do whatever,” said Rodriguez. “I enjoy both, they’re two different ways of enjoying music.”
Some of Rodriguez’s favorites venues in Miami include Cubaocho, Doral Yard and El Maní.
After releasing his third album, Rodriguez plans to work on an acoustic salsa album. He also dreams of winning a Latin Grammy one day and continue collaborating with major artists.
Rodriguez hopes his listeners will see his true self through the music he releases.
“I always try to be super authentic and give others a positive and conscious message,” said Rodriguez.