October 7: Berklee Canta en Español Finalists Perform for the Prize

By 
Margot Edwards
September 8, 2009
Rique Colon
Daniel Dayz
Cristal Marie
Pop Filter
Juliana Ronderos
Joel Waldman
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist

Six Berklee student and alumni artists from Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Uruguay, and Puerto Rico have been named finalists in the second Berklee Canta en Español singer/songwriter contest, presented by Berklee and SGAE.

The finalists will perform their original songs in a concert with rising Latin music stars on October 7 at the Lunario National Auditorium in Mexico City, Mexico. The concert will be televised in 60 countries November 22 on the Televisa cable/satellite music channel Telehit. The grand prize winner, who will be determined at the concert by renowned members of the Latin music community, will have a music video produced and then aired on Televisa. Read more about the concert.

Follow along at home! Watch videos and get quick news updates at berkleeontour.com.

The finalists are (in alphabetical order)

Rique Colon, alumnus from San Juan, Puerto Rico

Rique Colon, "Amor Febril"

Daniel Dayz, alumnus from Mexico City, Mexico

Daniel Dayz, "Aunque Falte el Aire"

Cristal Marie, alumna from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Cristal Marie, "Confieso"

Pop Filter, alumni from Montevideo, Uruguay and Mexico City, Mexico

Pop Filter, "Tu Propiedad"

Juliana Ronderos, student from Bogotá, Colombia

Juliana Ronderos, "Minas de Sal"

Joel Waldman, alumnus from Bogotá, Colombia

Joel Waldman, "Nada es Accidental"

Contest organizer Javier Samayoa, a Guatemala native and 2009 Berklee music business/management graduate, received over 80 song submissions by 44 student and alumni artists from 11 Latin American countries. Styles included rock, pop, tango, salsa, dance, Latin jazz, reggaetón, bachata, folk, metal, r&b, and merengue. The judges based their scores on performance, creativity, and musicianship.

The Spanish-language songwriting competition is a result of a cultural partnership between Berklee and SGAE, the Spanish performing rights organization whose members include artistic creators around the globe. 

More than 10 percent of Berklee's student population are of Hispanic origin, and Berklee alumni have won 35 Latin Grammy Awards. Prominent Latin artists who attended Berklee include Juan Luis Guerra, Ximena Sariñana, and Natalia Lafourcade. The college has also granted honorary doctor of music degrees to Latin American artists Emilio and Gloria Estefan, Rubén Blades, Tito Puente, Cachao, Rosa Passos, Guerra, and others.

About the finalists

Rique Colon is a guitarist and singer/songwriter from Puerto Rico. He completed a degree in professional music at Berklee after studying classical guitar at the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico in San German. Both experiences connected him with important figures in the music scene and helped him develop his performance, arranging, and composition skills. Colon's album Sentido Tropical was a 2007 Vox Populi winner at the Independent Music Awards, where it was also a finalist in the Latin Album category. Colon received a grant from the National Foundation for the Arts in 2007 and was a Berklee Alumni Grant recipient in 2006.

Daniel Dayz (a.k.a. Daniel Diaz) is a singer/songwriter and pianist. Raised in Mexico City, he was born into a family of actors, musicians, writers, and painters. In 2005, Dayz enrolled at Berklee, where he honed his writing, performance, and entrepreneurial skills. In 2007, Dayz was awarded the BMI Foundation Inc./Peermusic Latin Scholarship for his song "Todo Lo Que Necesito." After graduation, he won first place in the BMI Foundation/Pepsi Music Enrichment Fund national songwriting competition. Dayz will soon release his debut album Aunque Falte el Aire, cowritten and produced by award-winning producer/songwriter Jeffry Fischman and mixed by 2007 Latin Grammy Producer of the Year Sebastian Krys.

Cristal Marie is an alumna singer/songwriter from the Dominican Republic. She is best known for singing the title song of Telemundo's "Pecados Ajenos (The Sins of Others)" as well as for her ability to sing in Spanish, English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Finnish, and Japanese. She won the 2009 Casandra Award for Best Female Singer (the Dominican equivalent of a Grammy), and is the youngest finalist for Dominican newspaper Diario Libre's Woman of the Year. Marie has been featured in Venezuela's Tu Magazine, Billboard en Espanol, Yahoo! Music, MSN Music, Univision online, and others. She has performed with artists including Armando Manzanero, Maridalia Hernandez, and Adalgisa Pantaleon. Marie studied performance and music business at Berklee.

Pop Filter was formed by musicians/producers Micky and Philip, from Mexico, and singer/songwriter Dahiu, from Uruguay, who met while studying at Berklee. After winning the Yahoo! Telemundo Battle of the Bands, they relocated to New York. There, they recorded their first album, which features diverse instrumentation (including bagpipes, sitar, cajón, and alpenhorns) within a very accessible pop/rock context. Pop Filter recently arrived in Mexico City and, joined by a new drummer, have set out to expand the Spanish pop/rock paradigm. The group describes itself as "the Latino children of Christina Aguilera and Paul McCartney."

Juliana Ronderos is a singer from Bogotá, Colombia who started studying music at 15, playing piano and singing classical music. She then studied jazz at Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá. In 2008 she entered Berklee College of Music where she continues to study jazz improvisation, Brazilian, and Latin music, and has experimented with contemporary music. Ronderos is now searching for a way to mix elements of jazz harmony, improvisation, and instrumental music with songwriting.

Joel Waldman is an alumnus from Bogotá, Colombia whose grandparents emigrated from Poland before World War II. He started teaching himself piano at 5, and at 9 he was singing jingles for TV and radio. Soon he was writing his own songs and teaching himself guitar, which became his favorite instrument. At 19 he was hired as the official chantor for the High Holidays by the Jewish community in Medellin, Colombia. After receiving a scholarship Waldman enrolled at Berklee in 2006, where he studied contemporary writing and production. In 2007, he composed the music for the play The Trial of God, which was performed off-Broadway in New York and at select theaters in Boston.