HOMBRE Exclusive: JENCARLOS CANELA on Music, Television and The Importance of the Latino Vote
06 Oct 2016 by Francisco Romeo in Celebrities, DVD, Event, Fame, Film, Films, General, Home, Music, Pleasure, Power, Profile, Television, Theater
After achieving great successes in Spanish language television and Latin music, Jencarlos Canela is fast becoming one of the most successful and sought after performers in any language. Earlier this year he played Jesus Christ in the ratings winning ‘The Passion’ on FOX, and co-starred alongside Eva Longoria on NBC‘s ‘Telenovela.’ His latest single ‘Pa Que Me Invitan’ is rapidly climbing the charts and gathering millions of views on YouTube. As the political season grinds to a close Canela has joined with Macy’s to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and encourage Latinos to register and vote. We spoke with the multifaceted entertainer when he arrived to New York for his ‘Meet & Greet’ at Macy’s Herald Square.
Born in Miami, Florida, to Cuban parents, Canela began performing at a young age. He became known worldwide for several internationally renowned telenovelas. He was the protagonist in ‘Más Sabe el Diablo,’ ‘El Primer Golpe,’ and ‘Mi Corazón Insiste;’ winning the Tu Mundo Award in 2012 as Novela of the Year and earning the Favorite Lead Actor Award in the process. In 2013 he appeared in ‘Pasión Prohibida,’ winning the Favorite Lead Actor for the second time.
Musically Canela was voted Artist of the Year in the 2013 awards show Premios Juventud, and his song “I Love It” won the Song of the Summer award.
HOMBRE: How do you feel about being a part of these Hispanic Heritage Month Celebrations at Macy’s?
Jencarlos Canela: It’s extremely important to celebrate Hispanic Heritage, especially with the elections coming up and the moment that our country is going through. Latinos are going through the most crucial moment of our existence in the United States. There is more racism and segregation in certain Red states than there was before the first Civil War and that has been proven. People are so focused in their individual problems that we don’t stop to analyze those things and realize that we can do something about that. We are not foreign to that reality because those of us who are a product of immigrants, as well as those of us that are immigrants will see each other affected by this reality.
H: What needs to be done?
JC: Now more than ever we have to scream as loud as we can with unity with peace and love that we are a united community. As Latinos we are very divided Colombians aren’t like Puerto Ricans, and Puerto Ricans aren’t like Mexicans, and Mexicans are not like Cubans; so there’s a lot of division within our own community but we have to fight more than ever so that the diversity becomes unified and so that our differences aren’t a source of division but rather unity. That’s why I’m here, bringing that message to these Macy’s Meet & Greets. I appreciate the opportunity that Macy’s has given me to share with my people and have this kind of dialogue and say these types of things. And I thank you for being here doing this interview so that you also use your power to make people aware of this message. I’m excited. I think we’re going to come out better than expected.
H: Why is it important that Latinos vote?
JC: That’s everything. I find a lot of people that are disappointed with both candidates and they are not going to vote. To that I say is that they’re so busy with the candidate that they are not aware of the team that’s around them. Sometimes you have to analyze the complete infrastructure that surrounds the candidate. After analyzing the Vice President, the entire team that’s part of that entity, the Democratic branch or the Republican branch, then you can make your choice and say I’m out. It’s important that our voices be heard. Also if we vote we demonstrate our power through the census and what we’re capable of as a Latin community. If society sees, and the Anglo Saxon community, and the system sees what we are capable of and the importance of the Latin vote it will only increase the value. If we don’t vote we will only hurt ourselves and here is speaking someone who hardly ever votes, but this time it’s really important.
H: How involved are you personally in the elections?
JC: I’m very involved. I had dinner with Tim Kaine a few nights ago at Eva Longoria’s house. I was impressed to see how fluent he is in Spanish, he speaks it perfectly. He lived in Honduras, he gave carpentry classes, he understands our community, he has a respect and an honest and genuine love for our community. Even if we don’t agree with a lot of things from both candidates, I feel as a whole the blue team favors much more diversity, the immigrant, and that’s what this country is about . This country is what it is thanks to immigrants and that’s why my vote is inclined – and for the first time I say it out loud – and I mention a candidate, and that’s the party of Hillary Clinton.
H: Let’s talk about music…
JC: I’m glad that we made this transition. It’s important for me to state that I have love for every single one of my fans. I’m so appreciative of all the support and all the love that they give me and to be able to branch out to all the things that we were talking about. I have in my concerts fans, and some of them are going to vote for Trump and some for Hillary. I love them either way. We can agree to disagree and still not hate each other. I want to make that clear. I’m taking a stance on this, not a political stance because I’m not a politician, I don’t like to get into politics. I’m speaking on behalf of myself, my community, my family and where I think America should march forward towards.
H: What’s going on musically with you?
JC: I’m looking forward to this whole new tour we’re putting together, it’s pretty special. This new tour is amazing; the special effects, the sounds, the concept behind it. It’s just so much fun, so interactive with people, and the new single ‘Pa Que Me Invitan,’ that’s the name of the tour. We had a great time making the video and it had millions of views shortly after its release, its been a blessing. With ‘Bajito’ they gave us a Diamond Record, ‘Baby’ was a Platinum Record, and now ‘Pa Que Me Invitan,’ its just been a blessing.
H: How do you manage your acting career with the music and performances?
JC: Mostly it’s understanding that when you’re going to focus on something you focus on that at your maximum capacity. No matter what else it’s going on. I fall in love with a project and I commit to it. I’m there and I’m there 150 percent. I have a great team that helps me make those right choices. Music has always been the constant. Sometimes there’s a project like ‘Telenovela’ with Eva Longoria on NBC, those are things you can’t say not to. I’m gonna kiss Eva, I’m gonna say no to that? I gotta do that! (laughs).
‘The Passion’ on FOX where I played Jesus Christ with Tyler Perry, Seal; that’s another example.
H: Tell me about that project
JC: It was blessing. People make the mistake of attaching God to the word religion and they’re two totally different things. I think religion in its organized form is man-made and has nothing to do with God himself. God symbolizes love, unity, perseverance and that’s what that story is about. It has been tarnished with human errors along the years. May be Catholicism, may be Christianity, any organized religion; but you have to think of what the original message was about and that’s why it’s so special.
H: You’ve achieved so much success on your career, what advice can you give someone trying to find their own success?
JC: Don’t lose hope, because there are extremely difficulty moments. I have the jersey of man (Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez) that tried to go the US three times and three times he got rejected, and he never stopped. He ended up not only going to the US but playing in the major leagues, with one of the most important teams in the majors, in one of the most important cities, and he changed the game. He did that in his 24 years and with few seasons in the game. There are players that played the game for 20 years, 15 years, 10 years, and you don’t know who they are. This kid played the game just a few seasons and he’ll be remembered forever. So you cannot lose hope. You have to be in love with what you do, and have the passion to pursue it no matter what.
H: What’s next for you?
JC: We’re focused on the new single, we’re focused on these Meet & Greets with Macy’s, we’re focused on getting that tour ready. I have a concert on October 22 in Puerto Rico and then the tour in February.
JENCARLOS CANELA Photographed exclusively for HOMBRE by PAUL TIRADO
Shot on location Macy’s Herald Square