Over the last few years, I have struggled to find an identity in a cyber world and a personal world. I think that as social media plays a role in our identities, there are people who look to be more. Influencers and people gaining success for just liking things or talking about things make a lot of us insecure or even unsuccessful and unfulfilled. It’s not that I want to be famous, I just want to feel like what I do makes a difference in a world of You-Tubers and Instagramers. Again, not that I want to be one.
Many times over the decades, I have gotten so close to stepping over that line only to not take the step and give up. This seems to be my life…
Back in 1983, my sister introduced me to the world of Menudo – This was before I knew I was gay or transgendered. I loved me some Menudo. Not just the guys, but the music. I loved the music. While waiting for Menudo to come on television in early 1986, I found myself. Four teenage girls took the stage on Siempre En Domingo. I can still see them vividly now. I had no clue who they were so I taped them on my VCR. After the commercial, 3 teenage boys took the stage with them. This was when my world changed. Sasha, Alix, Mariana, Paulina, Diego, Eduardo, and Erik became my new obsession and doorway to a lifetime of music exploration.
I knew no Spanish but lived in a highly Latin populated area of Los Angeles. My sister and I took trips to the stores and even to Tijuana so we could buy magazines, posters, and records. My sister found people like Los Chamos and Yuri. I took to Timbiriche and Flans. Honestly, as I became exposed to more music, I had everything I could find. Even singers I barely liked.
In the late ’80s, I formed a fan club for Latin music. “Estrellas Del Momento” was born. I published a monthly newsletter with news, song lyrics, and pictures of my favorites. Over the years, the club became recognized by radio stations and record companies. At barely 18 years old. I was invited to press conferences and backstage at the concerts. Sometimes we can’t control our destiny. My father decided to move to Houston, Texas where the music scene was banda and cumbia. I didn’t have the means to stay in Los Angeles on my own, so I moved to Houston and left my growing success behind.
It took a while to make a come back (we were waiting on the internet to be created) but when I did, I created a new version of Estrellas Del Momento. “Pop En Español” was created as a place to talk about Latin pop music. The website took a lot of forms from a Wikipedia to a database of records to a blog, to nothing, back to a blog. This is where life changes you. I had the idea but didn’t know how or what I wanted Pop En Español to be. Sometimes, I didn’t want it to be anything. At some point in my life, I gave everything up. I ripped my vinyl to CDs and sold everything. After buying CDs, I sold those off after making copies on MP3. My 600+ VHS tape collection of decades of television performances were sold and given away to another collector. A lot of bad decisions that I kick myself for doing.
Life says you can’t go backward, so when I got off my butt and learned the wonders of Spotify, I brought Pop En Español back alive. The world was different. Blogs were big and the music was plentiful. I published and published and grew my website. When the site stats were on the brink of taking a step over the successful line (note, I was working on this almost 24/7 when I wasn’t working a real job), I met someone who wanted to help bring the website to more people… in Spanish. I took her up on it and we turned Pop En Español into a bilingual website. This did well for a few months until she wanted money. Hell, I wasn’t making money. How could I pay someone?
It was at this moment that I realized I didn’t know what I was doing and didn’t know how to grow the site enough to pay for help. People think I do this for cash which is so not true. I do it for the love of the music. People are not like me. If they are working, they want to be paid. I closed the website down. Maybe it was the wrong thing to do, but again… at that moment, I wanted to give up everything all over again. I never learn.
Pop En Español disappeared. A few years later, I wanted to try again. The domain Pop En Español no longer was available as I let it go when I gave up. And besides, I got a kickback from many fans protesting that it wasn’t “en Español” it was “en ingles.” I created a new website called, “Viva Latin Pop,” and published all the articles from the past on the new site. The site numbers did not come. It barely saw traffic. I gave up. I started again on a .net instead of a .com still under Viva Latin Pop. Finally, after struggling… I got some bites from celebrities with reviews.
You know that thing called life? Well… it gets in the way. Always. I got tired of struggling so I found other hobbies like photography and writing. I gave it up. The number of starts and stops will always be my downfall in the world. Maybe this is why I can’t find an audience is because I give up so easily and can’t get through the tough times.
Today… I am on the cusp of turning 50 years old. I am a Latin music lover still. I am eager to explore new music and leave the past in the past, but when I go back to the 80s and 90s, I remember “the olden days” like they were yesterday. I used to dedicate my life and all my time to knowing music, knowing the artists, that I could tell you random trivia that no one should honestly know. Maybe that does make me a historian. I don’t know. As I said, I am half a century old and still feel like I am no closer to knowing who I am than I did when I started out 30 years ago.
As hobbies go and come, the only thing in my life that has not faltered is my love for Latin music. Okay, I have added a few gems of English music but maybe instead of looking for something and someone to be, I should just focus on who I actually am and the one part of my life that has NEVER changed. Latin music!
I guess my next question to myself becomes to domain the website and focus truly focus on it… or stay here live with no traffic in my own world.