Latino Spotlight

Feels Like Heaven

Nu Flavor reaches for el cielo with their huge hit,"Heaven."

There is new a generation upon us. A generation of up and coming artists and leaders who, together, show the limitless talent that we Latinos possess. One of the most exciting indicators of this movement is the crossover success of the Latino R&B singing quartet, Nu Flavor. Their current hit single, "Heaven" has raced up the charts (complete with a revved up dance remix) and has set them up to become a very visible and potent Latino force in pop music.

I had the fortunate opportunity to sit down with the boyz from Nu Flavor and talk to them about their success, how they got where they are today, and what they hope to accomplish in the future. As a group, the guys were open-minded and down-to-earth yet very dedicated towards their work.

Playful, yet serious, the guys chatted with me about everything, including their attitude towards their Latino brothers. When I explained to them that qvMagazine is a Latino publication, I was received with warm smiles and nods of acceptance along with a collective, "That's cool!"

"We have no boundaries. No racial or any types of biases. If you can appreciate and feel the music, that's what's important," said Anthony Dacosta, 24, the most vocal member of the group.

"You know, we go out there every show to perform for everyone: black, white, straight, QV, whatever-we are out to make you happy," added Rico Luna, 24. "We performed at Virginia Beach which has a big QV community and it was cool. Our show is not directed towards just the heterosexual Latino. It's for everybody. It's all about the music."

Indeed it's all about the music. Inspired by the R&B sounds of Boyz II Men and the Temptations mixed in with the Latin bolero styles of Luis Miguel and Juan Gabriel, the Long Beach quartet has brought a new look to the generally black and white realm of pop music. Along with groups like No Mercy and the Barrio Boyzz, Nu Flavor has become part of a new movement of Latinos in the entertainment industry who are seeing opportunities to succeed, grasping hold of those opportunities, and making our community proud.

"You know, it feels good. We feel like pioneers, and we feel like we're opening doors for other Latinos for generations to come-people who have the talent to go on and do something. It's a good feeling," said Anthony. "It's an honor to be a part of it," chimed in Jacob Ceniceros, 23.

The group formed a few years ago when Rico and Anthony (who are cousins) went to a Long Beach house party. They were singing, just kind of messing around, when they were overheard by Jacob and his homie, Frank Pangelinan, 22. Frank and Jacob asked if they could sing with them, and before the night was over, people were coming up to them and asking them if they were a group. The four of them exchanged numbers and about a week later, they formed Nu Flavor.

About a year later they met Producer Gerry St. Clair who, at the time, was working with All-4-One. St. Clair helped them record a demo. Another friend set them up with a meeting with Warner Bros. Records president, Howie Klein, who signed them on the spot after hearing them sing two songs, "Open Arms" and "Heaven."

Nu Flavor then got busy in the studio recording their self-titled album, which is filled with R&B ballads and mid-tempo dance tracks. Their songs, most of which they either wrote or co-wrote, are based on personal experiences and everyday life. "We try to write so everybody can relate out there," according to Frank.

Their first single was the song, "Sweet Sexy Thing." But it has been "Heaven" which has opened up major opportunities for the group. "You know, it's on the radio constantly, but it hasn't really sunk in, yet," said Anthony.

With the success of the single comes the desire to take things to the next level. As Jacob states, "It makes us work harder, that's for sure. You hear it on the radio, and you want all your songs to be this big. We never become satisfied. It's like the day we become satisfied is the day we're going to retire."

Nu Flavor certainly doesn't seem to be retiring anytime soon. In fact, they are working diligently to maintain the momentum of their current success. They have a new single called, "Baby Be There," a song penned by Diane Warren, who has composed huge hits for artists as diverse at Toni Braxton, Lean Rimes, Ace of Base, Celine Dion, Cher, and Exposé. And even though they are currently touring the country to promote their debut album, they are already in the process of writing material for their next album which they hope will be an even bigger success and demonstrate growth and diversity in their musical style.

"The other night Rico and I were talking about coming up with an alternative song. Something different and socially conscious," said Anthony.

"But we gotta do it good," reminded Rico. "We wouldn't waste our time doing something we thought wouldn't be good. We feel that if the music is good, people will appreciate it for what it is. We don't want to compromise our style. We could even do a jazz song, but we gotta do it right."

Nu Flavor has great ambition and big dreams for the future. Ultimately, they want to be remembered as legends. "When we're done vocally, we want to be able to give others the opportunities that we've had," said Jacob.

Giving back to community is a high priority for the guys. As Anthony explains, "We want to go back to schools and say, 'We come from this neighborhood. We're realizing our dream. You can, too. Maybe you want to become an attorney or a doctor-it's possible as long as you stick with it and stay true to what you feel."

"It's a really positive message giving back. Positivity-that's what it's all about!" concluded Rico.

If there is one word that can describe Nu Flavor, it is definitely positivity. They serve as a very positive role model for the Latino community by showing how hard work and persistence can pay off with big success.

Be sure to check out The Official Nu Flavor Website!!!!

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