Fulfilling an important milestone in his career, Puerto Rican singer, songwriter and producer Gabriel 'Mora' Quintero triumphantly returned to the Coliseo De Puerto Rico 'José Miguel Agrelot' (known as "Choliseo" by San Juan residents) starting last Thursday, selling out all tickets for three consecutive dates. This achievement demonstrates once again that the 'Isla Del Encanto’' continues to be a hotbed of musical talent that (although demanding) provides them with unparalleled support and recognition.
The more than 15 thousand seats at the Choliseo were sold quickly to give a warm welcome to the new favored son of Puerto Rico. Recently, Mora concluded a successful string of shows through various countries, which is a clear testimony of the growing success both nationally and internationally to an artist who started out producing and writing for some of the most renowned figures in latin urban music today, such as his friend and colleague Bad Bunny.
Despite us interrupting his FIFA game behind the scenes, our chat with Mora began in a congenial manner -a testament to his down-to-earth attitude-. We congratulate him for his fantastic presentation, where the Choliseo audience did not stop dancing, singing and enjoying the rhythm of his infectious songs and his energetic presence on stage. Right now, Mora has a touch of gold and everything he produces reaches massive popularity.
In this interview we had the luxury of asking him a little about everything, from the I-don't-know-what of the Boricuas to who his number one fan is. Mora also clarifies that he is not from Bayamón nor that he is thirty-something years old as claimed by some erroneous biographies that circulate on the web.
Three sold-out nights at the Colosseum. What emotions do you feel?
I obviously had a lot of anxiety yesterday. At first - the first three or four songs I was still getting used to because I came from touring basically all over the world and, well, the Puerto Rican audience is a little different, because this is my country so there’s a deeper level of pressure.
You have been working hard on your career for more than six years. What part of your personality do you think has helped you continue in difficult times?
Trying to find the positive in the bad things that happen, because things are always going to happen, and having that patience of knowing when it is time to do each thing is key. I think that has been what has helped me the most.
This week, outside of music and the concerts that are obviously killer moments. What has been one of your favorite moments?
This week? When I got to PR. It's just that I haven't been here in a while, I mean, I came to Benito's (Bad Bunny) listening party, but I was really here one day and I left. I had a show the next day and I wasn't really here nor did I stay at home; I had to stay in a hotel to be able to get here and there quickly. Arriving to PR after a super-long tour and feeling like I'm *here*, that's enough for me!
To get to your homeland?
Everyone says that your mom is your number 1 fan. What is one thing your mom taught you that has helped you a lot?
My mother supported me from the beginning, she never had a “No. That is wrong" for me. Maybe there were moments at the beginning when she didn't agree with the decisions I was making because maybe she didn't understand them, but she figured it out quickly.
Maybe things are still bothering her, but she hasn't let me see that, she's let me see the side of: “Go Ahead! Keep going!” and that's it.
Puerto Rico has always had enormous artists throughout history, but recently Puerto Rican artists are having a much more international moment. Why do you think this is happening? Is it because of globalization or…?
I think that people have more tools to listen to whatever the hell they want. Before we didn’t have all of this technology, social media sites were not like they are now. If you want to look for something you will find it and good music has always come out of Puerto Rico. Maybe before It didn't reach certain places because it didn't have a “way” to get there, but the technology has helped people know what's going on here.
...and we Latinos are among the largest growing communities.
You are from Bayamón, right?
No! No, that is a biography that is out there that until today's sun has not been changed, I am not from Bayamón nor am I however old it says I am [Laughs].No, I am twenty-seven and I am from San Juan.
What does it feel like to be Boricua? What is it that you see that Boricuas have that other people do not have?
The character. The Vibes. The energy of Puerto Ricans is different. I couldn't really explain why, but I feel that we make everything a more “family-like” environment with jokes and fun. I couldn't really explain to you what the hell it is about Puerto Ricans, it's like they are always in party mode: Everything is resolved by celebrating.
From this tour that you just arrived from, what lesson did it leave you with?
I learned a lot of things. This is the first tour I've had that is this big. Last year I had done a couple of shows here and there and maybe I thought “ah, I know how it works and all the way around...” but now that I'm finishing this year's tour, I'm realizing that we were really still just puppies. Now I feel that the whole team has grown and we have all learned.
I couldn't tell you one thing specifically, and I feel that overall, as a group and as a team we have grown too much and we have learned so many new things. Within that, really everything that has to do with the show. Take a video of me from a year ago with Coca-Cola and compare it to a show of mine from now and it's totally different. It's a matter of security, confidence, all that...
You kill it in Reggaetón. You kill it in Trap. You kill it in Pop and Electro. Do you have any other genre that you say “I want to dive into this a little bit”?
I am open. I listen to everything and I go with what flows to me. If I'm on one of those days where I want to do a reggaetón, then I'm going to do a reggaetón. If I feel like doing an electronic one I'm going to do it all the same. Just as if I wanted to do an Afro or a ballad, I'm going to do it as if it was the same thing. It depends on how I feel at the time I go to the studio or when I’m creating music.
Obviously you have done many interviews. What is something you have wanted to talk about but you have never been asked?
In truth, I swear to you that [Laughs] I hardly like to talk and I really go to interviews with anxiety and everything. “Don't ask me, don't ask me!” Obviously if they ask me something I'm going to answer it, I don't think I've ever evaded a question, but I'm not really that person who wants to be asked something so I can say something, and if I want to say something I'm going to say it whether they ask me or not.
I saw that you were playing FIFA, what is your team?
Oh that depends because the new one is different. In the previous I used Madrid, and now I use City or Bayern too
Because of Haaland?
Of course, with Haaland! Goals go in quick! [laughs]
The start of this new phase of the Estela Tour has been simply spectacular. Mora invited to the stage prominent artists such as Yandel, Arcángel, RaiNao, Elena Rose, Saiko, Quevedo and more. This historic 3-date concert marked the first time -of many more for sure- that Mora completely filled this iconic venue in his home turf.
The shows were produced by Noah Assad Presents and Move Concerts Puerto Rico.The series featured a stunning display of lights and colorful projections on a giant background screen. These projections incorporated futuristic elements to hammer home the notion that the fans were in fact witnessing the future of Urban Latin music.
At 27 years old, Mora had already been recognized by 'Billboard' as one of the 10 best Latin producers and composers. After having started his career in production and composition, he decided to make the big leap into the music scene in 2017, becoming the protagonist of successful collaborations with renowned artists such as Jhayco, Rafa Pabón, Big Soto, Myke Towers and Bad Bunny.
The Estela Tour is not over yet and there are enormous collaborations and moments to come, don't miss it!