Can Victor Manuelle Remain Youth’s “Sonero”?


Some 19 years ago, Victor Manuelle did his recording debut in the midst of the “Salsa Romantica” craze. Back then, he was just 24 years old, and was quickly baptized “El Sonero de la Juventud” (Youth’s Son Singer).

But that was then, and now 19 years later, the new generation of youngsters may be more attracted by their contemporary Latin singers than by those maturing Gen X’s.

Salsa Romantica Still Strong

Victor Manuelle in "Justo A Tiempo" album cover art.
Victor Manuelle debuted with Salsa Romantica album “Justo A Tiempo” in 1993.

Sales of Victor Manuelle’s albums continue to do well in a genre that is not that commercially strong. His latest album, “Busco Un Pueblo” has produced two songs that  made it to the top of Billboard Latin Music lists.

Without the benefit of any demographic data on his album sales, I would venture to guess that most of those sales come from the same generation of fans that he cultivated in his early career days.

“Salsa Romantica” continues to do well in sales in general. Young people like the love theme as they have their hormones in full activity. So I’m sure “Salsa Romantica” singers like Tito Nieves, Tito Rojas, Luis Enrique, and others continue to draw their old and some new fans.

So sticking with “Salsa Romantica” is not a bad choice.

Can He Remain The “Sonero de la Juventud” at 50?

Yet, in a few years Victor Manuelle will be heading into his 50’s and the question is: how long can he hold on to being “El Sonero de la Juventud”?

Victor Manuelle foto
Victor Manuelle (foto in 2017) is leaving his youth behind. He still sings with the same voice and passion.

Victor Manuelle has smartly stayed with the musical formula that has worked well for him. At the same time, in the last few albums he has begun to expand more into the ballad genre, a genre followed by a more mature audience. He has also done collaborations with Colombian “Vallenato” star Jorge Celedón. These are indications that Victor Manuelle wants to grow as an artist and wants to market to new audiences.

But can we imagine a 50 year-old Victor Manuelle clinging to his nickname of “El Sonero de la Juventud”? Really? Does he have a choice? I haven’t seen many artists change nicknames mid-career. I can’t remember one right now, but if I do I’ll leave a comment with it below.

Ismael Miranda is still “El Niño Bonito” and he is neither “niño” nor “bonito” anymore. Andy Montañez is “El Niño de Trastalleres”; ok, he’s still from Trastalleres but has white hair and beard. Thank God he is not one of those artists that dyes his hair black to pretend to be younger. Ruben Blades, now into his early 60’s, still refers to himself in recordings as “Rubencito”!

Ok to Change the Nickname

In a few years, can you visualize an old, white-hair Victor Manuelle still being called “El Sonero de la Juventud”? Why can’t artists change their nickname as they mature? Why can’t Victor Manuelle be “El Sonero del Amor”, or Ismael Miranda be “El Elegante de la Salsa” (he has always been a sharp dresser), or Andy Montañez be “El Mimado de Trastalleres”?

What do you think?

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