Gocho

Nombre(s) : Jose Angel “Gocho” Torres
Lugar : Carolina , Puerto Rico

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When musical genius is encrypted into your DNA, the decision to pursue a career in said genre comes as little surprise. Puerto Rican producer Jose Angel “Gocho” Torres boasts a first-class family pedigree - his grandfather owns the beloved vocal quartet Los Hispanos de Puerto Rico; his father is Rafi Torres, the legendary trombonist who has played with salsa icons like Tito Nieves and Ray Barreto; his brother, Luis Rafael Torres, is a member of the band Cultura Profética; and his aunt sings back-up for such Spanish pop luminaries as Ednita Nazario and Luis Fonsi. But unlike his kin, Gocho shies away from the limelight, preferring the intimate and private setting of the recording studio.

Although music permeated his childhood and adolescence in Carolina, Puerto Rico, the 22-year-old proigy didn’t always plan on becoming one of the most sought-after producers in Reggaeton. Instead, he was pursuing a medical degree in the University of Puerto Rico when, in a twist of fate, he ended up accompanying his friend Angel (of the Reggaeton duo Angel y Khriz) to the studio, where he was to record the smash single “Yal” for the compilation album Guatauba XXX. The experience changed Gocho’s perspective on what he wanted to accomplish in life. Only 19 years old at the time, Gocho made it his goal to maneuver his way into the music business.

Gocho quickly signed on to work for producer Manolo Guatauba, who is widely acknowledged for his help in facilitating Reggaeton’s crossover success. “I wanted to learn so I just wanted to be around him, “Gocho recalls. “I was distributing flyers, helping out, just doing whatever it took.” Whenever he wasn't paying dues in the music industry, Gocho was working at the loading dock in the airport.

Gocho managed to save $20,000 and with that capital, he decided he would fund and executive produce his very first “various artists” Reggaeton album, MVP. Released in December of 2002, MVP featured such heavyweights as Zion y Lennox, Yaviah, Angel y Khriz and Don Omar, whose hit “Dale Don Dale” elevated him to superstardom. “’Dale Don Dale’ was the first reggaetón song to be played on every station in Puerto Rico,“ Gocho says. “It wasn't just played on [Mix 107.7 FM, Coyote’s all-Reggaeton station]. We managed to get it airplay everywhere.” Independently produced and distributed, MVP sold over 100,000 units, a huge accomplishment at the time. “To sell 50,000 back then was a heroic feat,” Gocho says. “Those numbers were incredible.”

Months later, Gocho met his current business partner Raúl Lopez and, together, they founded their label MVP Records. “All my life I dreamt of being a Major League baseball player,” Gocho says of his company’s name. “I figured if I couldn't be an MVP on the field, I’ wouldbe one in Reggaeton.” Since then, Gocho has earned the respect of his peers, audiences and music critics alike. He produced Divino’s 2003 album “Todo A Su Tiempo” and Angel y Khriz’s “Los MVP.” But perhaps his most high-profile stint was as co-producer of both the pop and Reggaeton versions of Shakira’s mega-hit single “La Tortura.” “Shakira had been doing her research on Reggaeton and figuring out which producers she liked,” Gocho says of how the gig came about. “The next thing I knew, her representatives at Sony/BMG were calling me and offering me the job.” “La Tortura,” which has remained steadfast on Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles chart since its release, has earned Gocho an unprecedented amount of accolades. Puerto Rico-based newspapers like El Nuevo Día, Primera Hora and El Vocero have ran extensive features on the young prodigy, and the buzz overseas is growing louder and louder.

In July, Gocho released the compilation album Los MVP 2: The Grandslam, which debuted at No. 4 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums charts and has spurned such hits as Angel y Khriz’s “Fuá.” Songs by Hector El Father, Eddie Dee, Zion y Lennox and Yaviah promise even greater market penetration for this stellar album. Although he’s a guest vocalist on Angel y Khriz’s “De Lao a Lao,” but he admits that he has no current plans of picking up a microphone full-time. “I like writing songs and producing them, but I’m not much of a stage person. I don't think of myself as a singer,” he concedes. Which is just fine with the dozens of artists clamoring for his production magic. This year, he will produce Divino’s next album, as well as a DVD featuring eight new songs and four remixes of previously released material. “The disc will be mixed using 5.1 so it will sound like you’re in the movie theater, with the surround sound on.”

In 2006, he will release Angel y Khriz’s next project and a solo album for Maiky, a Christian reggaetón singer. “There’s a lot going on within the Christian reggaetón scene. It’s not a huge audience, but it’s growing and it’s a challenge for me. Nobody’s delving into that scene, and I want to try it, to do something different and help out a guy who is really talented and humble.” For Gocho, ensuring quality records means producing at a realistic pace and being both creative and methodi- cal. “Any producer here can release four albums in one year, but I’d rather do just one or two because you don’t want to sacrifice the quality. When I produce I think of listeners of every age, gender and ethnicity. That’s why my records have been so popular.”

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