Eladio Carrión has defied expectations, following his career from comedic prowess to musical stardom; a testament to the power of chasing dreams and unyielding passion.
In 2017, Eladio Carrión transitioned from being a Vine comedian to a celebrated singer. He bursted into the music scene by collaborating with Ele A el Domino and Ñengo Flow on the hit track “Me Enamoré de una Yal.” Since then, Carrión has amassed an impressive catalog of successes and collaborations, including notable artists like Rauw Alejandro and remixes featuring Cazzu and Myke Towers, to name a few.
Carrión’s talent and hard work caught the attention of Rimas Entertainment – the label behind Bad Bunny and Karol G, arguably two of Latin Music’s biggest global superstars. He joined their roster, leading to the release of his debut album, Sauce Boyz, in 2020. The introductory compilation landed the young trap star in the top ten on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart in its first ten weeks, and Carrión his first Latin Grammy nomination for Best Rap/Hip Hop song for “Kemba Walker,” with Bad Bunny.
However, these accomplishments are just the tip of the iceberg for Eladio Carrión.
In a recent collaboration, Billboard and Tequila Don Julio embarked on a 70-hour journey with the Puerto Rican singer to celebrate hispanic entrepreneurs, delving into the depths of his passion, heritage, and the legacy he aims to create, offering fans a unique glimpse into Carrión’s artistic world and the inspirations that drive his musical journey.
Eladio Carrión and Don Julio González, the late founder of the iconic tequila brand, share a familiar spirit. Carrión’s dedication to music and González’s commitment to tequila-making reflect their unwavering pursuit of excellence. Just as Carrión’s passion fuels his musical journey, González’s passion for tequila led him to create the world’s first Critstalino, Tequila Don Julio 70 Crystal Añejo, a testament to his dedication to pushing boundaries and leaving a lasting legacy.
Hour 24: Heritage & Foundation
Day one, we meet Eladio in his beloved hometown of Humacao, Puerto Rico. Born into a military family in Kansas City, Missouri, Carrión moved around a lot, briefly living in Alaska, Maryland, and Hawaii before eventually calling Puerto Rico his permanent home after his father’s retirement in 2005.
Humacao, located on the picturesque east coast of Puerto Rico, with its breathtaking Caribbean blue sea crashing against rocky cliffs, became the backdrop that shaped Carrión’s childhood and transition into adulthood. He describes his hometown as his sanctuary, his peaceful haven amidst the chaotic life of a superstar in the making. He says it is his “paz,” where he finds solace and inspiration.
Throughout his transient childhood, one constant remained: music. Carrión recalls how it has always had a profound impact on him from a young age. He fondly remembers his father, whom he endearingly calls “Papi,” introducing him to salsa music at home. Fascinated by the storytelling aspect of salsa songs, he wondered how the singers effortlessly conveyed their narratives. This early exposure planted the seeds of his passion for storytelling through music. “I think that today a lot of my music, you will find that I tell stories, and it started with salsa,” he states.
During this time, Carrión also discovered hip-hop. He absorbed whatever played on the radio and embraced the wordplay of artists like Eminem, thanks to his older sisters’ influence. So, when the young artist landed in Humacao amidst the hype of reggaeton, he had an ear for something his middle school classmates likely didn’t – hip-hop and R&B.
Hour 48: Rehearsals
For the next part of our journey, we’ve left the sunny isles of the Caribbean and traded it in for the bustling lights of Las Vegas, where a laser-focused Carrión is preparing for his festival run. Here, we spoke to the singer about his artistic process.
Carrión’s music is a captivating blend of trap, reggaeton, and hip-hop that keeps evolving as he hones his lyrical style. Reflecting on his creative approach, he finds himself in the zone when the right mood, people, and rhythm come together. He describes spending hours on end, fully committed to perfecting his songs and only re-emerging from the booth when he’s achieved his goal. He passionately admits that his worst nightmare would be releasing an album without giving it his all, a feeling he’s grateful to have never experienced.
“I make a record, and I come out so mentally drained because usually, I give my 200%. And it’s not because I have to, because I want to,” he explains. “I say it in the song, ‘Mbappe,’ ‘Every record I come out is better than the last one,’ and it’s always going to be like that!”
Beyond his music, Carrión takes pride in being heavily involved in the production of his shows, working closely with his production team to shape the future experience for his fans. Proudly, the trap artist boasts that his success is shared, thanks to his team’s commitment, who tirelessly work alongside him towards the same goal.
With an unwavering devotion, he crafts songs brimming with emotion, storytelling, and authenticity, capturing the attention and respect of both his audience and peers in the Latin music scene. He explains that with every record, he aims to leave behind a legacy track that fans can revisit for years.
Hour 70: Showtime
After days of meticulous preparation, we caught up with Carrión 1,300 miles away from our last encounter, in Austin, Texas, hours leading up to his highly anticipated performance on the Billboard Stage at SXSW.
“The Sauce Gang keeps growing,” he exclaims proudly. “A few years ago, I didn’t fill a place with 500 people, and now we are doing shows with 40,000, 35,000 people. It’s nice to connect with people through music or a record.”
Connecting with his fans is where the Puerto Rican singer sees all his efforts coming to fruition. Ahead of a sold-out show, Carrión takes a moment after soundcheck to say hello to a few fans eagerly waiting in hopes of an encounter with the star. The “Sauce Gang,” as he endearingly calls his fans, is an embodiment of living your truth and exploiting the unique parts of yourself that make you.
He reflects that being on stage is the most fulfilling part of his musical career. Albeit traveling and living out of suitcases, connecting and singing alongside his sauce gang makes it all worth it. Known for his electric shows, he delivers his enigmatic performance full of high energy, leaving a lasting impression and inspiring people of all ages to approach life with determination and a strong work ethic.
In Carrión’s words, “I think I have a story that people might see and say, “Wow, if he could do it, I can do it. Nothing is impossible. I want to inspire youth and people who are older than me, everybody, to have that mentality of: ‘If you’re going to do something, do it right,’ ‘If you’re going to dream, dream big,” “If you’re going to attack, attack with all your might.’”
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