Álvaro Díaz makes music people fall in love with. He makes people fall in love with music. And music brings people to the present moment, to gratitude. Everything that matters is found in that calamity of silence and orchestration.
Five million people listen to Díaz’s music on one streaming platform alone in a month.
Álvaro’s walked Tommy Hilfiger’s New York Fashion Week runway. And he sold out his debut arena show in Mexico.
As genres blend together and pop accepts all flavors of love through sound, the rising tide has given space for innovative artists like Álvaro to thrive.
Before his sold-out show at the Gramercy Theatre in New York City, Álvaro ruminated on beauty in life and that rumination lead him into sleep and sleep’s dreaming roots and flowers.
Ahead, through interview and story a piece of pop portraiture, coos a surreal story in the loveliest sands of literature. And it’s a Valentine’s special.
Álvarito awoke in his dream as if a bird in flight, finally in recognition of its perfect condition, or as if a man sitting cross-legged on the soil beneath a walnut tree, enlightened and hungry.
He was in New York City, somewhere in Mannahatta. And the lights were pink and red, and the peoples’ eyes beat like hearts in their sockets, and they sobbed with longing going about their many ways. Trains overflowed with the faithless. The streets were pimpled with fools.
Dreams are usually dateless, absent from the illusion of the flow of time. Though sometimes dreams are a part of the spectacle and festival of human life. The air of Álvarito’s dreaming tasted like candy hearts, with inscriptions like “I Love You.” It was Valentine’s night in the dream, and everything was sweet.
In the middle of 23rd street stood a cherub, a cupid. It was clear from his eyes – pools of purple liquid divinity – and his three tongues that he served both good and evil. There’s a word for it. Agathokakological, not that it’s a bad thing entirely, the winged boy – he couldn’t have been over twenty-three – introduced himself as Eros. His skin was commercial, material, polished. But his blood and spit had the stuff of affection and protection. A troublesome part of him cared.
“When I was a kid, I always thought I was going to live at some point in my life in New York,” said Álvarito.
“Murk is something one must hold against their heart with unquenchable warmth, love,” said the cherub, looking less like a cupid in his mysteries.
And they started walking together.
“This is my first-time headlining a show. And it sold out and it’s across the street,” Álvarito said. “Yesterday we went there, and we saw the ‘sold out’ sign. And we were like, da*n, it’s really happening. I really don’t want to and don’t let things get to my head. I keep cool. But it was pretty awesome. Seeing that yesterday, it means we’ve been doing, lately, the things the right way. I’m happy.”
The cupid’s face curled into genuine delight . The rest of him was hard at his work on hand, firing arrows into the curled rear torsos of New York’s many mobs.
He hit the married. He hit the young. He hit the sweetest of us. And he hit the stupid alike. Eros, the boy with the wings and the arrows – who just every once in a nothing split second looked like a bull or a lion with an angel’s wings– didn’t bother shooting at Alvarito.
Mr. Díaz was already covered in arrows.
“One puts arrows in their own back amidst gratitude,” mumbled the cherub.
“In Puerto Rico I have been seen like the weird guy. I do the different sounds, and nobody really understands it until somebody with a lot of attention does it. And then people in a way, in a way get it,” said Álvarito.
The cherub began to use his powers, his mystiques to search for the origins of Álvarito’s loves – in the smallest corners of Álvarito’s soul. The angelic-looking thing did all this on the autopilot in the back of his heavenly mind. And Álvaro felt the probing, for it was brutish and unsophisticated, and he released the answer freely. And in the cherub’s own way, he did it because he was a good friend.
“My mom would always sing to me since I was little, church songs. She will always be singing. And I thought that’s what was normal,” said Álvarito. “Twenty-four seven, especially church songs, in the car, in the house, when she’s cleaning, I have some uncles that are pastors. So, I really believe in God, and I’ll put all to him. All thanks go to him every time, every night, all these blessings.”
One of the cupid’s arrows missed its target and hit an old man.
The old man fell in love with the pigeons at his feet and gave them his Bánh mì. Seconds before, he had cursed and kicked at them – homely things, sure, but part of the last remnants of nature in a city suffocating in limestone, marl, fine aggregate, and mineral admixtures.
The cherub missed for he was distracted. Visions of Álvaro’s mother with a bow and arrow of her own shot through his mind like visions of an oracle – wrecking his aiming.
“She’s singing like all these positive things from church, everything,” said Álvarito. “If anything is going wrong, it’s like she’s manifesting blessing for the family.”
“I remember being in the church and seeing the kids in the drums and singing. I was like, I wish I knew how to play drums, so I could play,” said Álvarito. “And one of my good friends, Tainy, a producer, he started in church too. The guy that showed him how to produce music, they all met in church. In Puerto Rico, I think, church is really part of music.”
“All Gods ever wants to do is ask about the devil. The devil – where it exists – won’t shut up with questions about the almighty,” said the Cherub. “And then there’s money and music.”
“It affects the mentality of some of the people. They kind of wake up in a way and walk away from the art. The platforms, they just want artists that make numbers or the blogs or the radio. You need them in a way, you know?” asked Álvarito. “Every artist needs platforms to get the music out there. I been like five years in a major. And I think now is the first time we are working together.”
“The thing is, I have this mentality. You can’t play with people’s dreams. That’s the worst thing a person can do. You cannot fu**ing mess with people’s dreams. So if you’re not going to put in effort. If you’re not going to do your work, then just leave the artists alone,” said Álvarito. “There’s a lot of companies, they just want to have a monopoly. They just want to have the artists be under them, but they don’t want to invest the time, invest the money. They invest nothing in them. So, it’s like you’re destroying this kid’s dream. That’s the problem.”
“I’m heading to capitol hill after this to make some people fall in love with change,” said the cherub. “Anything on your agenda?”
“I would like Puerto Rico be its own country,” said Álvarito. “And legalize psychedelic mushrooms.”
“I did shrooms for the first time when I was creating this album and came up with the whole concept of the album while one shrooms. So, all I have to say about is shrooms is positive things,” said Álvarito. “It’s one of the best experiences in my life.” Then Álvarito woke up and rocked his show, freaked it.
Watch the music video for Álvaro Díaz’s “Close Friends” here. Follow him on Instagram, here. And stream his latest single “SUPRA 94TRO” here. You can watch the music video for his latest song, “1000CANCIONES” here.
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