Shadow Blow Interview

Shadow Blow On his Collab with Yailin La Más Viral, Love & ‘Tiraera’ Tracks & «Mandatory Triumph»

"Urban music is the new pop", the Dominican artist declares

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Shadow Blow (1983, Dominican Republic) is one of the names that define the urban scene in the Dominican Republic and have managed to elevate the genre and its local peculiarities beyond its borders. His music has gained popularity thanks to hits like ‘Mensaje Directo’ (Direct Message), ‘Foke To’,’and ‘La Mejor Noche’ (The Best Night). Recently, social media exploded after his romantic collaboration ‘Solo Tu Y Yo’ (Only You and Me) with Yailin La Más Viral, following her breakup with Anuel.

José Ariel Fernández Soto became interested in music and art when he was only 4 years old. Years later, his parents enrolled him in the National Conservatory, where he learned classical music. However, it was the neighborhood where he grew up that ultimately shaped his artistic creation.

«I was learning piano and classical music, but I came from a neighborhood. I listened to my friends rap and make music, and in the end, I leaned towards the urban style,» he says. His style, characterized by a unique and explosive blend of hip-hop, R&B, and dembow, is the result of his musical experimentation.

In Los40 USA, we talked to Shadow Blow about his career, his recent hit with Yailin, and other curiosities of the urban scene, such as diss tracks and channeling emotions like anger and love into hits.

Exclusive Shows, Collabs and & Hit with Yailin

Now you are touring Europe, but will we see you soon in the U.S?

Yes, I was recently there doing some exclusive shows. For June and July, we plan to do a more extensive tour, and you will see me in New York, an area where there are a lot of Dominicans. Also, Texas, Washington, Atlanta… These are places I haven’t visited yet, and I see that many people are playing my music there.

Will you take advantage of your visit in Spain to collaborate with any Spanish artist?

I don’t have anything planned, but I’d like to record something soon. I know a lot of artists from Spain.


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What do you look for when you do a collaboration?

I like chemistry. There has to be very good chemistry between the artist and the collaborator before recording. It shows in the song when the two artists get along well. When collaborating, I look more for good vibes than talent.

Speaking of collaborations, social media is on fire after your collab with Yailin, ‘Solo Tu Y Yo’. How did you come up with this song?

Yailin and I have been friends for many years, but when she had her relationship with Anuel, we drifted apart. She was doing her thing, and I was doing mine. A few months ago, when she came back to the country, she called me and told me to go to the studio. But at first, it wasn’t to record anything; it was more to talk, have a drink, a hookah… hang out, you know.

But since we both like music, we played an instrumental, we were flowing… then, she stopped me and told me that she had a song that MelyMel had written for her, who is also an exponent from my country, and she wanted to finish it with me. I immediately thought it was a «palo» when she showed it to me. I quickly put my vocals together, and she recorded a video in the studio that went viral immediately. We did it fast; it was nothing planned; it came up organically.

Love and Tiraera in the Industry

‘Solo Tu Y Yo’ is a love song. What particularities do you think the urban genre has to transmit feelings of love through this music?

In my case, I believe that in the genre, my forte is reflecting situations that can happen to everyone, and that’s why I lean towards the romantic. I like how people who listen to me can identify with my music.

Just like singing about love, urban music is the ideal genre to convey strong feelings of anger and venting. We have already seen it with artists like Shakira, Karol G, and even Anuel recently. What do you think is the importance of ‘tiraera’ in the genre?

The urban genre, including rap, was born from ‘tiraera.’ It originated from freestyle and throwing beef in the streets. So, it is challenging to imagine the genre without ‘tiraera.’ It’s rooted in the competitiveness of determining ‘who is the best.’ As long as there is respect and it doesn’t become personal… I appreciate it when it becomes a way to showcase talent.

Do you think artists should avoid getting personal?

Well, in this case, as you mentioned with Shakira, Karol G, and others, I see it as a way of venting. As artists, we often write based on a person or a specific situation. If you feel that the song resonates with you and communicates something heartfelt to the fans… then it is also valid.

Road to Success: From the Conservatory to Shaking the Urban Genre

You began to take an interest in music at a very young age, when you were only 4 years old. Where did you get the desire to experiment artistically?

I was born with it. Since I was a child, as far back as I can remember, I always had a liking for music. My parents enrolled me in the National Conservatory of the Dominican Republic, and I spent almost 10 years studying piano. I always enjoyed it, but coming from a neighborhood, I was influenced by the urban scene.

I saw my friends in the neighborhood rapping and singing, and it fascinated me. In the Conservatory, the focus was more on classical music like Beethoven and Mozart. I thought, ‘Okay, I love music, but I’m drawn to what I see in the neighborhood.’ Gradually, I was influenced until I embraced the urban genre.

Your style is a unique mix of hip-hop, R&B, and other genres. What elements or experiences have shaped your style?

At the Conservatory, I learned flute, percussion… I’m very curious about music. I always try to explore how different sounds blend together. I think it comes naturally for me to switch between genres. I can do R&B, pop, dembow…

What stage of your artistic career are you currently in?

I feel like it’s the first day. With 212 Music, we have been in the genre for 8 to 10 years. I still feel that initial excitement you get when you start something new. Moreover, my music has always resonated with the media and fans. Now, I feel that same fever again. There is a new generation of fans who grew up with me. They were children before, and now they are adults. It’s a new stage with new fans. The recent videos we’ve released have brought in a fresh generation of fans, and that’s why I sense this new momentum, joy, as if we’re starting anew.

Urban and Latin music are dominating the charts. Have you noticed any changes in the reception from the U.S. audience?

Yes, and it’s happening here in Europe as well. I receive reports about the consumption of my music and the growing popularity of my career. Everything is changing significantly. That’s why I mentioned feeling this new vibe, this renewed desire to create music and visit different places. My collaboration with Yailin has also opened many doors for me. It gave me a fresh breath of air, reignited my passion to come back and continue making music.


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What do you think has caused this explosion in the number of streams and views in the scene?

Well, I would say that urban music is dominating the music industry right now. It has become a trendy genre, even for artists who previously focused solely on pop. Urban music is the new pop.

In the intro of ‘SAGA,’ your album with Lapiz Conciente, you have a phrase that says, ‘a combination of legends destined for mandatory triumph.’ What does this mandatory triumph mean to you?

Lapiz is a legend in the Dominican Republic, the first artist to pave the way for the urban genre and rap. He is a legend in his own right, and I have also achieved success in my own branch of music. My fans have been incredibly loyal and passionate, and they consider me a legend as well. Lapiz and I had already collaborated on four songs, so we decided to create an album together. With our status as legends in the genre, we believed it was destined to be a guaranteed success.


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What has ‘SAGA’ meant to you?

I learned a lot from Lapiz during the making of ‘SAGA.’ It was my first collaborative album, and it was also the first album of its kind in the Dominican Republic. I gained valuable insights into creating music not only for myself but also in collaboration with another artist.

I’m usually involved in the production of my music, sometimes working with other producers, but this experience allowed me to see how Lapiz works and brought a different perspective. It was a great learning experience, and our collaboration brought our respective fan bases together. I also got to know Lapiz better, and we formed a strong bond. It was a truly rewarding experience for me.

You have previously mentioned that many of your songs contain standout phrases and elements, and you have also produced songs for artists outside the urban genre. Which other artists have you written songs for?

I have produced songs for Grupo Ilegales, including the track ‘Chucuchá,’ which gained popularity within its niche. I have also produced a song for Chayanne on his latest album and for Chino y Nacho, among others. In general, I have collaborated with numerous artists from my country, including Lapiz himself, Mozart, and many others

References and New Promises in the Genre

What are your references in the urban scene?

Who do I draw inspiration from? Well, I listen to a lot of music from various genres and countries, even if I don’t understand the language. So, I adapt and take inspiration from each one, fusing and learning. The artists who inspire me the most are Kanye West and Drake. They create and produce their own music and are trendsetters who don’t fall behind the wave.


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What do you think are the new up-and-comers in the genre?

There are many. Right now, there is an explosion of urban music, and it has become very easy to create. Anyone can make music with their computer and use social networks. There is an abundance of talent in every country, culture, and genre. I’m always listening to playlists of new artists from places like Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. It would be unfair to mention just one or two because there are so many.

Is there any name that seems to be a breakthrough right now in the scene?

There are artists who are not new but are doing something fresh and groundbreaking in the genre, like Eladio Carrión, whom I really admire for his unique approach. While he’s not a newcomer, everything that’s happening to him feels innovative. In my country, there is currently a new explosion of a different style of dembow, like a new and interesting mutation. Artists like Rochy are part of this movement. There is a lot of new music that I enjoy listening to.