The 116 Life Ep. 28 – “Latin Christian Music: Representation through Authenticity with Samuel Ash, Tommy Royale and Alexxander”
Reach Records VP and A&R Lasanna “Ace” Harris sits down with grammy award winning artist and producer Samuel Ash as well as rising latin christian artists Tommy Royale and Alexxander to talk about their journey into music, being influenced by latin music and the church and what it looks like for them to be cemented to that foundation going forward. Their new single “De Camino” from the Summer 23 Playlist presented by Reach Records is out now everywhere.
A Journey into the Heart of Latin Christian Music: A Conversation with Ace Harris, Samuel Ash, Tom Royale, and Alexander
First up, we have Samuel Ash, a Grammy award-winning producer and artist who has been a significant part of the Atlanta music scene for 20 years. He’s a big fan of what Reach Records and 116 are doing, and I’m grateful to have him on the show. Samuel is a humble soul, and his work in cultivating Latin culture in Christian spaces is truly commendable.
Next, we have Tom Royale, a Puerto Rican artist hailing from Orlando, Florida. His humility and gratitude for being on the show are palpable. Alongside Tom, we have Alexander, another Puerto Rican artist. Their shared heritage and camaraderie are a testament to the unity within our community.
Personal Journeys and Challenges
Our conversation took a deep dive into the personal experiences and journeys of these artists in the music industry. Alexander reflected on the sacrifices and challenges he faced growing up as a pastor’s child. He questioned why his family had to make sacrifices while the church seemed to thrive. However, he also expressed his realization that his calling as an artist is important and beautiful, and he wants to show his children the significance of pursuing their passion.
Tommy shared his journey into music, influenced by his young mother’s love for rap and his upbringing in the church. He emphasized the importance of representation and how artists who look like him resonate with listeners. Tom also discussed his recent album release and the pressure to change his music to appeal to non-Christian labels. However, he ultimately realized that his identity is rooted in his faith and the church.
Breaking Taboos and Embracing Authenticity
We also discussed the music projects of Alexander and Tommy. Alexander’s album, “The Green Cup,” co-produced with Dosa and Timbo, focuses on mental health and his personal journey. He mentioned that addressing mental health is not common in the Latin Christian music genre, but he wants to break that taboo and be transparent in his music.
Samuel added that in Spanish Christian culture, there is a tendency to suppress discussions about mental health. He believes that the genre is a few years behind in terms of mentality and that it takes a big person to step into addressing subjects like mental health.
Tommy shared that his style is authentic and different, and he tries to be himself rather than imitating others. This conversation highlighted the importance of unique styles and progression in Latin Christian music.
The Process of Creating a Song Together
The conversation also revolved around the process of creating a song together. We were writing fast, and Samuel was producing just as fast. We pushed each other until the song was completed in a few days, and it was an amazing experience.
Samuel, a Grammy-nominated and Grammy award-winning producer, sees his role as a bridge for his community and aims to raise questions and conversations in the industry. I praised Samuel for using his platform to support and elevate younger and newer artists. Alexander and Tom expressed their gratitude for being included on the 116 summer playlist and the exposure it provides for their music and the gospel message.
Trust and Execution in the Creative Process
Samuel expressed gratitude for the freedom and trust given to him by me, which allowed him to feel confident in his creative process. We discussed the quick turnaround time and how we pushed each other to create a polished track within 24 hours.
We also mentioned the importance of having a reliable team of producers and writers, giving a shoutout to Sage. I wanted to finish the record before going on paternity leave and appreciated the peace of mind that Samuel brought to the project.
Tommy joined the conversation and talked about how he got involved in the song, mentioning the quick turnaround time and the freedom he felt working with Samuel. We emphasized the importance of trust and execution in the creative process.
The Heart Behind the Music
We reflected on the significance of the song and how it points to something bigger than ourselves. The heart behind the message of the song is about discerning God’s voice and surrendering to His will. We expressed our gratitude for being able to create music that brings hope and points people to God.
In conclusion, the conversation was a deep dive into the heart of Latin Christian music, the personal journeys of these artists, and the importance of authenticity and representation. It was a testament to the camaraderie and support within the Christian music community. We hope you found it as enlightening and inspiring as we did. To stay up to date on Reach Records releases, visit Reach Records online.
Thank you for tuning in and remember to leave a comment and let us know what you think of the show. Catch The 116 Life Tuesdays at 8 pm est. on Holy Culture Radio Sirius XM Channel 154. Until next time, keep the faith and keep the music playing.
The journey into music [00:04:14] Discussion their personal journeys into music, including their early experiences and influences.
Reflecting heritage in music [00:07:08] Discussion on the importance of reflecting their heritage in their music and the impact it has on inspiring and motivating others.
Realizing the importance of music ministry [00:08:28] Alexxander shares his personal journey of initially rejecting music ministry due to the pressure of his father’s iconic status, but eventually realizing its importance and answering the calling.
The sacrifices of being an artist [00:09:44] Discussion about the sacrifices and challenges faced by artists, including power outages and separation from family.
Getting into music and influences [00:11:20] Tommy Royale shares his journey into music, influenced by his young mom’s love for rap and his experiences in the church.
Identity and transparency in music [00:15:05] The importance of maintaining one’s identity as a Christian artist and the value of transparency in connecting with listeners.
The importance of addressing mental health in Latin Christian music [00:19:44] Discussion about the album “Green Cup” and the intention behind it, focusing on mental health and transparency.
The taboo of discussing mental health in Spanish Christian culture [00:20:48] Exploration of the cultural stigma surrounding mental health in the Spanish Christian community and the need for more open conversations.
The importance of authenticity and finding one’s own voice in music [00:26:21] Tommy Royale and Alexander discuss the significance of being true to oneself and not trying to imitate others in their music, emphasizing the importance of authenticity.
The songwriting collaboration [00:28:24] Artists discuss their fast-paced collaboration process and how they pushed each other to complete the song in a few days.
The importance of representation [00:30:10] Samuel Ash talks about the significance of being a bridge for his community and using his platform to raise questions and conversations in the music industry.
Being on the 116 playlist [00:32:09] Tommy Alexander and Alexander express their excitement and gratitude for being featured on the 116 summer playlist and the impact it has on their music and message.
The creative process and quick turnaround [00:38:04] The speakers discuss the quick turnaround and collaborative process of creating a track within 24 hours.
The heart behind the message of the song [00:43:29] The speakers discuss the message of the song, which is about being discerning and following God’s voice, and how it fits into the 116 identity.
Where to find the artists [00:45:27] The speakers share their social media handles and where listeners can find their music on various digital platforms.
Related Radio Show: 116 Life