Wampi: If we put our minds to it, we can take over the world.
A few days ago we published in the networks of Magazine AM:PM a video with the announcement of the ice cream sandwich in the background. Never in a million years did we expect to find a comment from Wampi, the consecrated promise of the genre, saying: "you won't believe me... but that audio of the popsicle and the ice cream sandwich was made by me 😂😃".
"I honestly don't know at what point that became so popular," he says. I was in high school at the time, and I was a little kid who was doing beats She would do anything to earn a few pesos. So when her cousin's boyfriend asked her for some delivery to hawk her popsicle business, she didn't think twice. Based on the well-known melody of the ice cream cart (a version of the popular English folk song London Bridge Falling Down), Wampi half-heartedly recorded his voice on the phone ("la paletica... el bocadito de helado"), added a pedal and a box, and delivered the result. Neither he nor anyone else could have imagined that this assignment, carried out with reluctance, would spread like wildfire among the ice cream peddlers and become part of the city's soundtrack. "That's practically all over Havana, as if it were a theme song of mine in the street," he comments amused.
A few years later it would seem that he has achieved it all: after becoming one of the essential names of the Rami Records trident and generating a bewildering fan base in Peru, this 2023 he launched completely independent (with his brother, Daryel Mustelier, as manager), made his first presentations in Europe and on December 2, he will be part of the line-up of the nascent Cimafest. As if that were not enough, it has just released a remix of its last hit, Maleantewhich features Puerto Rican reggaeton musician Lenny Tavárez. But listening to him speak, one suspects that he is just beginning to climb the ladder. He's eager, he's hungry, he's young. And all the time he is looking for a new goal to challenge.
"BroI consider myself a visionary of music, and of what can happen with our movement," he tells me as we talk one November afternoon in Havana, a few days before he leaves for the United States. On her dress, of rigorous white, stands out the Eleggua necklace she wears. His eyes have a very particular light, a mixture of determination and childlike joy. Now that I am so close to him, I remember how tremendously young he is.
His enthusiasm and confidence in the cast is inspiring, infectious, especially if you're a fan of the genre like me. "I think if we all pull together and support each other we can go a long way; we can follow the dembowwhich followed in the footsteps of reggaeton. But it's a matter of learning how the business works and supporting each other as Cuban artists, which we all are," he says with conviction.
-What do you think the cast might need to internationalize? I feel that...
-No, nothing is missing.
-I feel that it has to evolve, but...
-From the bottom of my heart I can tell you that nothing is missing. [If anything] it lacks time, and to mature the attitudes of the artists, because there are times when we look arrogant, and those things don't appeal to the outside public, they don't attract their attention, and they are a little disappointing. But that is what it is, to improve our attitudes, because the cast is already international, even if people think it is not. The only thing left to do is to defend it and show that this is here to stay.
-There was some speculation about whether you were migrating or not. How do you live that relationship, at the time of creating, between being here and being far away?
-That has a lot of influence; whoever tells you it doesn't is lying to you. It influences in part because, asere, the cast is [from] here in Cuba. Don't look for it in any other part of the world than Cuba, in what Cubans live day by day. I myself live in a cast, I was born and grew up in a cast, and all my songs are based on my experiences and the experiences of other people [close to me], and I imagine that my colleagues base themselves on the stories that they and the people close to them live. When you leave you lose that connection, you start to have another one, but it's not the same. I don't think it affects me so much, because I always keep in touch with the people here in Cuba, and since I'm creative I don't depend so much on people.
-We were talking about the collaborations you've been doing in recent years and this Friday comes something big with Lenny Tavárez. Tell me how you got there.
-Broder, it's super funny, because I didn't arrive, he arrived. If he sees this interview he knows that he has all my respect and affection forever, because he was one of the people who trusted me blindly. I had released the music of the MaleanteI wake up in the afternoon -I was tired, I had a concert the day before-, and when I see the DMs on Instagram I read "Lenny Tavárez", and I said "msh, that's someone who is burning me". I open it, go into his profile and I'm like "I think this is the real deal". He said "if you're going to do the remixthink of me.
"Everything was exact -two weeks later he traveled to Miami-. I arrived, I got in touch with him and he opened the doors of his house and his studio to me. When it comes to creating, I listen a lot to other people's points of view, I don't close myself to an idea of mine, because everyone knows what they are doing. He's been in the industry longer than me and he gave me a lot of advice, and that's what made us connect a lot more. [I'm] grateful to him, to his whole family, to his team. We recorded a couple of tracks, and this Friday people will see the work we did.
-You've been touring quite a lot, tell me how it went in the context of Europe and if you have any anecdotes of something that has impacted you.
-Thank God it went very well. Just like the first time I went to Peru, I didn't think there were people who listened to my music. You think "[I'm known] in Cuba, everything's fine", but when you go out and start seeing people who know your music, it impresses you. I was in an international festival [of Cuban music] that takes place in France, in Orange, and that marked me, because they were people (French!), who didn't know any Spanish, nor had any idea what a cast was. We went there for the first time, and thanks to the energy of the band, of my energy when singing, dancing, connecting with people, I feel that whoever saw me there, went to look for my music. And I keep that.
-On December 2nd you will be participating in Cimafest, together with Cimafunk, Elena Rose and Walshy Fire. I am struck by that curatorship, with artists with different careers and approaches, but if you pay attention you can find an affinity, more than in the sound, in what they are looking for when creating. How do you think the reception of your work will be in that context, which takes you out of what may be the Cuban urban scene, and that may even be another audience?
-I live in the moment, I don't know what might happen. I always enjoy every moment of life, every concert. Every time I stand on stage is a new concert, in which I have to give the best of me. I don't see the future, but I think that new opportunities will appear as a result of this, let's see what happens when December 2nd arrives.
-What are you listening to these days?
-I listen to everything, everything, everything, everything, I have a lot of musical information, and that is what I reflect in my songs; in my music I always reflect several things.
-Now that you mention that, would you like to focus on the producer side at some point?
-Of course, asere, definitely. I'm going to have a time... when I achieve all the things [I want] as an independent artist, I'd like to focus on music production, help other people blow up.
-At the beginning of the interview you mentioned things you would like to see happen. Where do you see the cast, and specifically yourself, in five years?
-Well, I would dare to tell you... since I was 15 years old, when I started, I have had a plan. Five years from now [I see myself] being a good musician, a good music producer and, God willing and God permitting and giving me the health for that, already involved in important things in music worldwide, not only in Cuba. I would talk about some Billboard [awards], some Grammys, I would dare to tell you that.
"About the distribution, I tell you, it doesn't depend on me, it depends on the attitudes and decisions that both the colleagues of the genre and I make. And if they put their minds to it, we can take over the world. The Puerto Ricans have done it, they have united and they are dominating the world. dembow The same; the people of Argentina made their rap movement, and even reggaeton, and they passed us by. And it was all because they got together, they understood how the industry worked, and they have reached where they are. I think the same thing can happen with us Cubans, [but] we still have a lot to learn".
As I am editing this interview, the melody of For Us 2the infectious track he recorded in 2022 with Fixty Ordara & Ja Rulay and Wow Poppy. Just months after the release of that song, he is already getting his head in the game and recording with an experienced big league urban artist like Lenny Tavárez. How far will we see Wampi go?