Original Article Nyrene Paranga | LATIN TIMES: A Latin music legend’s life story hit the shelves this week. In his memoir “The Latin Hit Maker,” Rudy Perez writes about his journey from being a Cuban refugee to a world-renowned songwriter and, as the title claims it, a Latin hit maker, who has bagged five Grammy awards and written hundreds of songs, around 300 of which have made it to the Top 10 charts.
He’s one of the founders of many landmark Latin institutions, including the Latin Recording Academy (previously Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) and the Latin Grammys in 1997. He also co-founded the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame with Desmond Child in 2013.
He has produced songs for various American and Latin celebrities, including Jennifer Lopez, Luis Fonsi, Michael Bolton and Westlife. The memoir retells his tales of working with big celebrities like Beyoncé for the Spanish “Dreamgirls” album, Shakira for the “Beautiful Liar” duet, Michelle Obama for a campaign jingle for her child health advocacy and Christina Aguilera.
In an excerpt exclusive to Billboard, Perez wrote about working with Christina Aguilera and facing a setback with one major issue: Christina wasn’t fluent in the Spanish language and would not convince the Latin market in this situation.
“Christina would need to be convincing to the Latino world in how she sang the lyrics, and I was going to do whatever it took to make that happen,” Perez wrote. “Recording an album for a major label is already an arduous and stressful task and having to navigate a different language on top of everything else makes for a true challenge,” he added.
He further talked about the process of writing Spanish lyrics phonetically; the accidental making of the classic Latin ballad “Contigo En La Distancia,” which translates to “With You In The Distance”; and discovering a male artist to match Aguilera in a duet.
In an Instagram post dedicated to the book, Perez wrote: “To sum up my sixty years, I have to say that the only way a Cuban boy who came to America with one set of clothes could become an internationally known music composer and producer … is by the grace of God.”
Perez recently posted with the book cover on Instagram after a successful book-signing engagement. Books & Books hosted the activity in Florida on July 23 and 24. Book publisher Zondervan released “The Latin Hit Maker” on July 23.