There is a popular phrase: “Cuando la música corre por las venas te motiva” (when the music runs through your veins, motivates you). That's exactly what’s happening to Jean Carlos Santiago, better known in the Latin music scene as Guaynaa.
First, what does "Guaynaa" mean, and why he did chose it as an artistic name? "Guaynaa” is a Puerto Rican expression that refers to a wealthy/high-class person; Santiago adopted the nickname because of his personality and style. For example, during the 2019 Billboard Latin Music Awards red carpet, he wore a navy blue sweater with white pants, for a refined “nerdy” look:
Santiago started to write songs at a very young age. Both of his parents are trovadores (a singer of decimas or trova, comporable to country music).
"I have a true passion for music," Santiago tells Billboard. But it’s not limited to reggaeton or urban music. In fact, salsa is his favorite genre. But when he creates music, he thinks about music trends that fit within his own style.
Learn more about this week’s Latin Artist On the Rise below.
What inspired you to pursue music as a career? “There are many factors that inspire me as an artist. But, my family is my inspiration. My mom and dad are trovadores. But, I really felt the inspiration after listened to other singers, like Residente. Growing up, I tried to imitate them and I realized that I have a true passion for music.”
Musical influences: “Rene Perez (Residente) and Tego Calderon. Their albums had a peculiar style that made them stand out and that marked my life. Also, Julio Voltio and Zion & Lennox, with their romantic reggaeton.”
Recommended Song: First single "Rebota," which so far has over 130 million views on YouTube
Dream collaboration: "Marc Anthony, but it has to be a salsa. I love salsa and someday I would like to try my qualities. My wish is to record a classic song with him."
Major accomplishment: Guaynaa's "Rebota" has spent 7 weeks on Billboard’s Hot Latin Song charts and is currently at No. 35.