Carlos Ponce: the Cuban from Puerto Rico

Danette T. Sokacich

A humble, rising star who captivates his audience with sultry song notes, Carlos Ponce has emerged as a new ambassador of Latino culture. Carlos Ponce influences audiences around the world through his singing, songwriting, and his work in television as an actor, host, and producer. Because of his convictions and impulse for success, Carlos Ponce serves as a model of leadership in the Latino community.

The performer known as Carlos Ponce was loom in 1972 in Santurce, Puerto Rico, a barrio southwest of San Juan. His parents were Cuban refugees who met in Colorado where his lather was stationed with the US Army.

They then moved to Puerto Rico where man), other Cuban families had settled, and Mr. Ponce became a businessman living in a new community where strength of spirit kept the family together. Carlos speaks highly of their importance in his life: “My parents have always been a great source of influence and advice; they’re hard working refugees who had to start from scratch and made a good living for their four children.”

His fondest childhood memories were the days in Puerto Rico walking barefoot because he lived near the beach.

Restless and hyperactive by nature, tie demonstrated his passion for the arts at a very early age. His first television appearance was in a commercial in his native island at the age of six.

But Carlos’s seemingly idyllic life had a severe shock coming to it when, with his parents and four sisters, his family moved to Miami in 1986. “It was a tough transition, since I had to make new friends and begin to speak a new language at the age of 14.” Learning a second language allowed Carlos to encounter a multicultural community and acquire a new appreciation for bilingualism.

One of the biggest changes for Carlos in the move to mainland US was musical.

Despite his parents being Cubans, “In Puerto Rico all I listened to was rock. Then suddenly I’m in Miami hearing

Latino music. It was a huge change and had a big influence on me.”

Carlos began studying musical theater and exercising his learned skills on stage in several plays while he was still a student.

After high school, he studied at the New World School of the Arts in Miami. His first appearance as a television host was on the Univision Television Network morning program Hablando, Univision is the premiere Spanish-language network in the United States.

By the age of 18, Carlos had appeared in various commercials for Latin America and soon landed a supporting role in the telenovela Guadalupe with Adela Noriega and Eduardo Yanez playing the role of Willy. This debut owned doors for him to audiences in the US, Latin America, and Europe. At the conclusion of the telenovela, in 1994, Carlos became the host and associate producer of Control, a weekly show broadcast by Univision.

The journey to stardom and exposure began early; with his ambition bringing him to viewers throughout latin America and the United States, His work over the next four years earned him two regional Emmys for producer and host, as well as an ACE award for Best Host. While working on Control, Carlos began his first starring role as an actor in Sentimientos Ajenos, a second telenovela. This role further exhibited his skills as an actor, and he received numerous awards, such as Revelation of the Year, by Tvy Novelas magazine and Best New Actor by ERES magazine.

In addition to his media appearances, Carlos began working on his first musical endeavor in 1998. The self-titled project garnered a double platinum award in the US, and numerous gold records in Latin America. His first single release, “Rezo,” displayed his songwriting prowess, and it hit number one on Billboard’s Hot latin Tracks; and there it remained for nine weeks. This feat brought him unprecedented recognition from the music industry and hunched his fame as a chart topper in other latin American countries. Riding the wave of success, the second release, “Decir Adios,” landed a number one position on the Billboard charts, as well as charts worldwide. His prestige merited awards for Best PopAlbum, Best New Artist, from Billboard and Best New Artist from Premio to Nuestro.

Never seeming to underestimate his determination, in 1999 he release his second album, Todo Lo Que Soy. This album featured nine songs written by Ponce. Its first single, Escuchame, reached number one on Billboard’s Hot Latin Tracks. Evidently, his popularity and noted validation from the Latino community raised Ponce into permanent stardom.

The most recent album, Ponce, showcases Carlos Ponce’s craft for songwriting. Teaming with legendary producer Emilio Estefan Jr, Carlos oilers his unique personal style and a new cultural maturity for his fans. “I wanted to sing the music I like to listen to,” said Carlos. “I’ve spent the past few years writing songs that meant something to me and, hopefully, my fans will be able to see that in this new production.” Implementing his earlier influences of Puerto Rican, Cuban, and rock music, Ponce introduces a fresh impression of Latino music, symbolically employing a diversity of musical influences.

Considering his early achievements in television and music, Carlos believes perseverance is the force to enriching lives of others. “Our culture is so rich, and we have so much to offer musically, that the world is intrigued and fascinated by it.” Philosophically, Carlos incorporates his vivacity for the Latino heritage, language, and lifestyle into his work. He promotes Iris music in Europe where audiences are captivated by his image and performances. A testament to his arduous efforts to become a global entertainer came when Carlos’s song “Amelia” was chosen as Germany’s theme song for the World Athletic Games in Sevilla, Spain. Whereas his fame in the United States transcended language barriers with appearances in 1998 on Beverly Hills 90210 and 7th Heaven; and in 1999 he dazzled viewers on Live! with Regis & Kathie, Lee and Donny & Marie. Carlos was also invited to perform as part of the Stars on Ice series, which aired on NBC. In February 2001, he guest-starred on the ABC drama, Once and Again.

Carlos Ponce’s prominence stems from his unbridled commitment to excellence and serving as a role model for Latinos, The challenges confronting Carlos have been the stereotypes imposed upon Latinos in the entertainment industry. “When I went for acting jobs where they wanted a Latino, I world is intrigued and fascinated by it.” wasn’t typically Latino enough for people. I was too light skinned,” he commented. However, with his talent and channing demeanor, Carlos has broken stereotypes to become an icon for the next generation of tattoos. His wisdom for Latino youth, “You have to find what it is you love, and go after it with passion and conviction. Them is a lot of competition out there, and if you don’t study and prepare properly, then you’re at risk of becoming ‘just one more.'”

Carlos’s pride for encouraging Latinos to embrace their dreams comes from a grounded sense of family. When asked about how his family and community shaped who he is today, Carlos proudly states, “I call them [my family and community] my ‘lead boots.’ They keep me grounded and constantly remind me of who I am and where I came from.” Similarly, he notes his greatest accomplishment as his four children. His ideals represent the stronghold of the Latino community, especially when faced with the formidable task of achievement in a complex society. “There are many elements for success, but one of the most important is to stay true to you,” emphasizes Carlos.

Carlos Ponce is a virtuoso entertainer creating a market for diversified Latinos willing to rise above the glass ceiling. Coupled with his sensational musical talents and three albums, Carlos Ponce is a Latino voice that demands attention.

QUICK FACTS:

* Name: Carlos Augusto Ponce Freyre

* Date of Birth: September 4, 1972

* Born in: Santurce, Puerto Rico

* Parents: Carlos Ponce and Esther Freyre, originally from Cuba

* Siblings: 2 sisters, Marivi and Lili; brothel Francisco (Chopo), who is also his road manager

* Marital status: married

* Spouse: Veronica

* Children: 2 sons, Giancarlo (1999) and Sebastian (2001) and adoptive twin daughters Sabana and Siena from Russia

* Hobbies: watching movies and working on his house

* Loves: his family

* Hates: insincerity

* Fears: failing at something because of not trying

* Best friend: his brother

* Occupation: actor, singer, show host

* Resides: Miami, Florida, USA

FILMOGRAPHY:

* “Entertainment Tonight” (2003) Show … Host

* “Karen Cisco” (2003) TV Series

* “Dulce compania” (2003) Telenovela

* My Gardener (2003) Movie … Luis

* Chasing Papi (2003) Movie … Himself

* Protagonistas de la musica (2002) show … Host

* “Sin pecado concebido” (2001) Telenovela … Adrian Martonell

* “Once and again” (2001) TV Series … Giancarlo (episode “The Other End of the Telescope”)

* “Milagros” (2000) Telenovela

* “7th Heaven” (1998) TV Series … Carlos (episode “Here Comes Santa Claus”)

* “Beverly Hills 90210” (1998) TV Series … Tom Savin (episode “confession”)

* “Sentimientos ajenos” (1996) Telenovela … Renato

* “Guadalupe” (1994) Telenovela … Willy

* “Control” (1994) show … Host

DISCOGRAPHY:

* La Historia (2003)

* Ponce (2002)

* Todo lo que soy (1999)

* Remixes (1999)

* Carlos Ponce (1998)

COPYRIGHT 2004 Ferraez Publications of America Corp.

COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning