Essay Example on Hector Lavoe: The Best Salsa Musician in History

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  8
Wordcount:  2041 Words
Date:  2023-02-11


Hector Juan Perez popularly known as Hector Lavoe was a salsa singer from Puerto Rico. Hector was born in the year 1946, and he is considered as the best interpreter and most important salsa musician in history. He was born in the town of Machuelo Abajo barrio of Ponce in Puerto Rico (Fania, 2015). He helped improve the standards of this kind of music in the 1960s up to the 1980s. He died in the year 1993. Some of the things that led to the great success of his career are his style, personality, and the quality of his voice. His ability to sing fast and long phrases with a lot of naturalness coupled with the brightness of his voice made him a favorite in the Latin public (Shapiro, 2007).

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Personal Life

Hector Lavoe was born on 30th September 1946 in Ponce, Puerto Rico (Fania, 2015). His parents were Francisca Martinez and Luis Perez. His was born in a musically talented family which inspired him to be a great salsa musician. His grandfather Don Juan Martinez was a musician who did controversial songs. His mother popularly known as Pachita was also well known for her beautiful singing voice in the local town. His father was also a band singer. His father was a highly demanded guitarist in the festival such as the Fiestas de Cruz celebrations, and he wanted his son to follow in his footsteps. From this kind of influence from his family. Hector wanted to become a musician. He joined the Juan morel Campos school of music, where he learned to play different musical instruments such as the Saxophone. His quality in music was seen from his charisma, charm, and talent. He also had an exceptional voice. He started singing in clubs together with his friends. He later abandoned school and joined a local band known as the ten-piece band. He then moved to New York in the year 1963 against his fathers wish. He died in New York in the year 1993 from a drug overdose (Fania, 2015).

On arriving in New York, his sister Priscilla met him. Here he began working as a messenger, painter, concierge, and porter to earn a living. He later met one of his friends with whom they started going to the Latin clubs in the Spanish Harlem. He then met Russell Cohen who introduced him to the New Yorkers band. It was the first band that Hector recorded with. Later his old friend and musician Roberto Garcia invited him to the sextet band for a rehearsal. Here he was given the role of lead vocalist after his goodwill to demonstrate to the lead vocalist how he was supposed to sound (Aparicio & Valentin-Escobar, 2004). The vocalist was singing off-key.

Lavoe joined several bands in his career. His talent stood out amongst other band members, which led to one of his managers, convince him to adopt Felipe Rodriguez moniker La Voz, which means the voice (Fania, 2015). He later turned it into Lavoe and used it as his stage name. In the year 1967, Hector met Willie Colon, who was a salsa singer and a bandleader. They together recorded a track on Colon's first album called El Malo. The truck sold well, which prompted Colon to use Lavoe for the rest of his collection. Colon then later invited Hector to join his band. The album became a huge success and transformed the lives of Lavoe and Colon. Their group became accepted by the salsa fans as they featured more aggressively and raw. Lavoe extraordinary voice, sense of humor, and ability to improvise was a contributing factor to the success of the band. Their album sold multi-millions in Panama, France, Colombia, and other countries. From that moment on, the life of Hector changed as he had enough money to steady his life and career. He received a lot of recognition and success that came so fast that he didn't know how to deal with his sudden success. In that year, he met Carmen Castro with whom he had a romantic relationship. He made her pregnant, but she refused to marry him as she saw him as a womanizer. Hector also had another relationship with Nilda Roman who he married.

Music Career

In the late 1970s, Lavoe and Colon recorded the first two Asalto Nvideno albums. The albums featured folk songs from Puerto Rica. During this time, Lavoe had started using drugs such as heroin, marijuana, and cocaine, which resulted in his lack of professionalism. However, his onstage presence, which was more like stand-up comedy, compensated for his lack of professionalism. The Colon band made other hits such as the Calle Sol and Calle Luna

In the year 1973, Lavoe was given a chance to lead the group after Colon decided to focus on record production (Fania, 2015). Together with his band, Hector traveled across the world. He was also a guest singer on several occasions with the Fania all-stars. The performance of the group during the boxing fight between Muhammed Ali and George Foreman in Kinshasa is considered as the most exceptional performance of the band. Apart from featuring in the Fania All-stars music records, Lavoe also starred in three movies recorded by Fania records. Hector then recorded songs with Colon which turned out to be his best-selling songs of all times. His first song to record with Colon was El Periocdico de Ayer, which was Mexico's number one for four months (Fania, 2015). He later recorded the song El Cantante which became his signature song.

Hector did rehabilitation for two months as he had become a drug addict. In 1987, his son Hector junior was accidentally shot by his friend. His house was also destroyed by fire the same year. One of his concerts was canceled after it sold poorly. On June 26th, 1988, Hector attempted suicide by jumping from the ninth floor of a building but luckily, he survived (Fania, 2015). From that day onwards, his life was never the same again. Hector then gave his last public performance in 1990. He later died in the year 1973 from complications. He died at the age of 46. Lavoe's life is hugely recognized all over and has inspired the production of two biographical films. He is also known in Ponce, where he is honored with a statue and was inducted into the Latin music hall of fame in the year 2000 (Fania, 2015).

Analysis of Hector Lavoe Life and Work

The life and work of Hector Lavoe can be analyzed using various theories, ideas, models, and constructs. The life and music career of Hector Lavoe can be considered to be a boundaryless career. A boundaryless job is one where an individual move within a range of possible forms of career across organizations (Bravo 2017). Hector's music career is boundaryless as he was not restricted to work in a single band. Throughout his career, he moved from one group to another. He started with the ten-piece band in Puerto Rico before moving to New York where he joined several bands including the New Yorkers band and the Colon band owned by Fania records. Boundaryless careers are characterized by movement across various physical boundaries. Lavoe performed in different countries from France, Colombia, Puerto Rico, and other countries. Boundaryless careers also happen when a person decides to live an organization voluntarily or by being forced, thereby putting an end to their career advancement in that organization. Throughout his career, hector moved from one band to another mostly voluntarily. His movement played a huge role in his success as it is through this that he met Colon and Fania records that helped shape his life and music career. Another characteristic of a boundaryless job is that it is highly unpredictable and works on opportunistic markets. Lavoe's music career was highly variable. Lavoe was quoted saying that his success with the Colon band came too fast that he didn't know what to do with it. The music industry is subjected to high degrees of uncertainties as one can not tell how the fans will react to their music.

Hector's career also experienced some mid and late-career issues. The mid-career items are when one strives to remain productive. It is characterized by growth, maintenance, or stagnation of career (Grant-Vallone & Ensher, 2017). In the middle of Hector's music career, he experienced growth as he moved from one band to another. He became one of the biggest salsa stars when he was still young. His music continued to grow when he joined Fania records and the Colon band. During Willie Colon years, Hector experienced a lot of success in his career where they toured the world performing all over. They made millions of dollars from their performances. This success made Lavoe begin indulging in drugs such as cocaine and heroin, which was some of the challenges in his middle career. He continued to gain success when he became the leader of the band after Willie Colon decided to focus on production. It is during this time that he produced the song El Cantante that became his signature song. Hector late career issues began in the year 1987 when his son was shot dead by his friend. His house was also burned, and he tried to commit suicide by jumping from a building. His concert was canceled two hours before time after it sold poorly. His career then ended when he died in the year 1993.

Several theories can also be applied in the life of Hector. The first theory is chaos theory. Chaos theory is a mathematics branch that defines the dynamic systems that are sensitive to initial conditions (Bright & Pryor, 2016). It is used to show behaviors that can be predicted. The amount of time that the practice remains predictable depends on the amount of time that uncertainty can be tolerated. Hector's life began getting chaotic after they sold millions of records with Willie Colon. He started using drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. He also started lacking professionalism in his career, which led to more chaos. At one time when performing, he abused an audience member who had requested a song. The member got angry and beat up Lavoe that he almost got hospitalized. Chaos theory also applies in the relationship life of Lavoe. He impregnated Carmen Castro, who refused to marry him as she considered him as a womanizer. At the same time, Hector had impregnated another woman by the name Nilda whom she married. More chaos is seen when he tries to commit suicide, but he survives. His life was never the same again from that moment, onwards.

Happenstance theory can also be applied in the life and work of Hector Lavoe. Happenstance theory deals with the fact that it is impossible to predict the destiny of an individual (Kim, Rhee, Ha, Yang & Lee, 2016). The theory tries to explain why a person follows different paths in their life. The happenstance theory indicates that human behavior is influenced by the experiences he passes through in both the planned and unplanned circumstances (Kim et al., 2016). Happenstance theory can be used to predict why the life of Hector was the way it was. First, Hector became a musician as he came from a family of musicians. His grandfather, mother, and father were all musicians. His father also wanted him to be a musician, and he helped him join music school in their home town. Hector also wanted to become a musician like his father and mother. It can, therefore, be seen that the musical life of hector was a planned event from an early age.

Emerging adulthood can also be used to analyze the life and work of Hector. Emerging adulthood is the phase of human life between adolescence and adulthood (Tanner & Arnett, 2016). It consists of late adolescence and early adulthood. It describes young people with no families, has no income to support themselves fully and who do not have their own homes. Hector's emerging adulthood can be analyzed. He joined music school at the age of 16. When he was 17, he left home for New York where he was received by his sister. He stayed with her and did jobs such as bring a painter, porter, messenger, and concierge. All this time, he had no income to support himself fully and lived with her sister. He also did not have a fa...

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