We had the opportunity of connecting with Los Angeles based artist and multi-instrumentalist Samuel Jacob Lopez, Jr for an exclusive interview to discuss his project "COQUÍ" and the visual for his new single “Rewind”. We also got a chance to pick Samuel’s brain about what inspires him to create new music, as well as how his Latin heritage is reflected in his music, and what we can expect next musically from him, after “Rewind”.
After reading our Q&A with Samuel, be sure to stream and share “Rewind” on your preferred streaming service and connect with him on his website and social media.
Major salute to you on the release of your new single/video "Rewind". Tell us what initially inspired you to write the song and why it's special to you.
Well, I was very much inspired by my abuela Tillie. Before she passed away, she obviously was heavy on my mind. I kept thinking about how different everything was going to be once she passed away. Imagining having to go through my problems without her. Not being able to call when I needed advice, or not having her around at Christmas; not ever meeting the love of my life or even seeing my kids one day. It was such an intense realization and then all of a sudden her words just came to me. "When the weigh of the world seems to pull you behind.. just stop, take a breath and rewind." I cried like a baby. She had left something so special; the hope that this song brings whenever anyone now listen to it.
The single/video has been released as part of your project "COQUÍ". What does this term mean exactly?
Coqui was my mother's nickname. She grew up with 5 siblings and was the youngest. When she was young she was really little and being the youngest, my grandfather nicknamed her Coqui after the name of a rare frog that lives in Puerto Rico. Its like one of the world’s smallest frogs. So i thought what better alias to have then my favorite name since I could remember.
What are some things that inspire your creativity as an artist?
Things that inspire my creativity... hmm I would say skateboarding is definitely one of them. A lot of times, when i'm producing a beat I like to write stuff i'd want to skate to or see in a skaters film part. Other times, i'm inspired by the emotion that a really good song makes me feel. I like to try to recreate the emotion, but told in the way that I see and hear it.
How would you say that your Latino heritage is reflected in your music?
My Latino heritage is pretty much reflected in anything i do really. I grew up with two Puerto Rican parents. They both loved music. One from the east coast, the other from California. So you can imagine the range of musical influence I was exposed to. My uncle Robertito Melendez was also a pretty well known percussionist in the Latin music industry around the 80s to late 90s. He played for some of the greatest like Tito Puente & Celia Cruz. When I was about 12 or 13 I spent a few days in Burbank with him and he took me around to all his rehearsals and shows. I knew from then on this is what I wanted to do. First instrument I learned how to play was the clavi haha!
With "Rewind" out now, what's next for "COQUÍ"? Can we expect a follow up single/video soon? Also, do you plan to release a full project this year?
Yeah I plan to release a lot more music. I'm actually dropping a remix of “Rewind” that I had made in about a week. It's sort of an alternative version. I’m really excited about it. As for another single, i'm aiming to release the next tune before summer. No full length in the works yet, but there will definitely be one by the end of this year.