Boza overcomes a difficult adolescence and reaches the Latin Grammy

Growing up in the La Meri neighborhood of Panama, singer-songwriter Boza did not have a musical career in mind, much less reach the Latin Grammy. But fueled by the international success of “Made for me”, it now competes in one of the most coveted categories of all: best new artist.

The 24-year-old urban musician, who began his career at 17 fusing dancehall and R&B with the Panamanian “canela” after a difficult adolescence, has managed to position himself as one of the emerging singers of the moment with songs that also include “Ella”, “ On the moon ”and“ Wild dog ”, the latter with Argentina’s Emilia.

The video for “Made for me”, a song released in November 2020 and included in her debut album “Más negro que rojo”, has more than 100 million views on YouTube and next month, just one year later, it will release his second album, “Bucle”, with some of his most recent singles and others to be released.

“It’s really crazy,” Boza said in a recent interview with The Associated Press from Mexico City, where he was promoting. “It’s like I’m in shock. Things keep happening and I kind of don’t really believe it ”.

“Obviously I am proud. ‘Made for me’ was like my before and after, my first international step, and from then on a million things began to happen that I really did not expect. I think everything that is happening surpassed my expectations ”, added the Panamanian musician, who this year already won the HEAT Latin Music Award for revelation artist and the Latin Music Award for best new urban artist.

Currently represented by Sony Music, Boza began his professional career in music almost by chance, after meeting his current manager and producer, Faster, while getting his hair cut in a barber shop.

“One of the boys told him ‘he sings’ … and he told me ‘we are going to take a walk to listen to you and see what you have'”, recalled Boza, whose real name is Humberto Ceballos, saying that then he sang only for taste and was more interested in soccer and extreme sports. He showed him two songs and since then they have worked together.

Boza has said that music saved him from a life of crime and vices in his neighborhood, where he even robbed with gangs in circumstances that led him to spend several months in jail for illegally carrying a weapon at the age of 16.

Now he plans to attend the November 18 Latin Grammy ceremony in Las Vegas, where he will be measured by the golden gramophone with Giulia Be, María Becerra, Bizarrap, Zoe Gotusso, Humbe, Rita Indiana, Lasso, Paloma Mami, Marcos Mares and Jualiana Velásquez. And while winning would be a huge step in his life and career, he says the nomination alone has satisfied him.

“If Panama is a bit difficult for the world, imagine how difficult it can be from Panama to a Grammy. It is one of the achievements that any artist would like, and … (for) all of us in that category it is already a very great achievement, ”he expressed modestly.

This year another Panamanian has a guaranteed prize: the musician, actor and activist Rubén Blades, who will be honored as Person of the Year 2021 by the Latin Recording Academy.

“I have always admired and respected what Rubén Blades has done,” said Boza. “I have not had the happiness of meeting him, I would like to. It is the icon of us. One says Rubén Blades and one says Panama. It is who represents us, really ”.

Among other artists that he would like to meet at the gala, he also mentioned Bizarrap and María Becerra.

For next year he hopes to go on tour, as his international success came in the midst of the pandemic and he has barely been able to make live presentations.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” Boza said. “I have mounted nothing more like three or four platforms and I think I really need that … to get to a stage and have the public shout your songs and transmit that adrenaline to you.”

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Sigal Ratner-Arias is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sigalratner.

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Boza overcomes a difficult adolescence and reaches the Latin Grammy

Hank Gilbert