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Mau y Ricky’s “Hotel Caracas” Album Is an Ode to Family

By newadmin / Published on Thursday, 20 Jun 2024 15:22 PM / No Comments / 10 views

Although some celebrities shy away from the topic of their famous parents, that’s never been the case for Mau y Ricky. The Venezuelan singer-songwriters are the sons of Latine pop icon Ricardo Montaner. However, the talent in the Montaner family doesn’t end with Mau, Ricky, and Ricardo. Mau and Ricky’s sister, Evaluna Montaner, and their brother-in-law, Camilo, are also impacting the industry. If you listen closely, the elder Evaluna and Camilo’s voices can be heard on Mau y Ricky’s new album “Hotel Caracas,” which also marked the brothers’ return to Venezuela for the first time in over a decade. Family and community are core tenets for the duo.

“There’s no hiding the obvious,” Ricky Montaner says of his famous family. “I’m proud as a family that we’ve been able to lift each other up, inspire each other, and connect with people in this way. It’s beautiful and special.”

Growing up in Caracas, Mau and Ricky saw their father perform big-time hits like “Tan Enamorados” and “Bésame” to sold-out crowds. He would even bring them on stage to sing with him occasionally. Ricardo also once had a record label with Venezuelan brothers Servando & Florentino. They often rehearsed at home and showed the younger Montaner brothers that a sibling duo in Latin music was possible. Now, the sons are inviting their dad to sing their songs. In a hidden feature on the song “Muriendo de Miedo,” Ricardo’s voice beautifully harmonizes with his sons’.

“It’s full circle,” Mau Montaner says. “I feel like he had to be in it. We’re so grateful for what he has meant to us as a father, obviously as support in the early years and as an influence. It’s like paying homage to him and musically thanking him for everything he has meant for us and honoring what he’s done.”

Despite having the Montaner connection, Mau y Ricky still had to work hard on their own to gain respect within the industry. While developing their musical act, they also formed a songwriting collective that included longtime collaborator JonTheProducer and their future brother-in-law, Camilo. They helped pen hits like Becky G and Natti Natasha’s “Sin Pijama,” Karol G’s “Pineapple,” Ricky Martin’s “Vente Pa’ Ca” with Maluma, and their own breakthrough hit “Desconocidos,” which served as a launching pad for Camilo’s pop career. Mau y Ricky cowrote a song on Camilo’s recent album “Cuatro,” and their brother-in-law is also featured on their song “Karma.”

“It’s pretty crazy and wild to think back on what we were able to accomplish that started from being these fucking four hopeful kids that had big dreams to one day make it in music,” Ricky recalls, referring to himself, Mau, Camilo, and JonTheProducer.

“We did it our way, and it was in a collective with people we love,” Mau says. “Being able to get together and have these little moments of creative bonding is beautiful. We created some of my favorite music alongside Cami.”

“Hotel Caracas” signals a new era in Mau y Ricky’s music. It marks the first album release on their own label, Why Club Records, in partnership with Warner Music Latina. The LP also comes on the heels of Mau y Ricky expanding their own families. In 2022, Mau and his wife Sara Escobar welcomed their first child, Apollo, and Ricky later married Argentine model Stefi Roitman. It’s their most personal and daring album, with songs about romance, heartbreak, and sex.

“Being married and starting our own families has given us a sense of security,” Ricky says. “At this point, my wife knows me exactly as I am, and I can tell the stories I’m telling, and many of them speak of my past or Mau’s past. Before, we might have been like, ‘You’re not going to say that.’ With that sense of security, I’m like, ‘I’ve been through all this, and I got to say it because I know that it can help somebody.'”

To promote the “Hotel Caracas” album, Mau y Ricky are putting on intimate Lobby Bar concerts around the US and Latin America. The brothers also plan to hit the road with a tour at the end of the year. Mau admits that he is adjusting to juggling being a father to Apollo and living out his dreams as a pop star with his brother.

“To be honest, it’s hard, but it’s also super fun,” he says. “Let’s say 60 years from now, I love knowing that those songs [on ‘Hotel Caracas’] are a part of his childhood. I love the idea that he learned to say certain words and that he learned to play pretend drums or pretend trumpets because he heard these songs. They’re a part of his development, and music has more of a development in kids’ brains than we even realize.”

“Hotel Caracas” also marks Mau y Ricky’s return to their home country of Venezuela. The songs drip with Venezuelan swagger and use local slang. All 15 music videos for the album were shot in cities around Venezuela, with an upcoming documentary that captured their experience. Mau y Ricky worked with over 200 crew members based in Venezuela for the project.

“We needed to reconnect,” Mau says. “We felt like we were going through this identity crisis or lack of feeling a part of somewhere. For the longest time, we felt that, and as you mature, you start noticing those little wounds that you have to heal. That was one of them. It was beautiful when we got to heal that [wound] when we went back to our country. It was three months of getting to know our country in the best way possible, plus filming the videos to represent the beauty of Venezuela.”

Lucas Villa is a Mexican American music journalist who covers pop and Latin music. Over 11 years, he has interviewed pop queens and Latin music superstars for places like PS, Allure, Elle, Rolling Stone, Billboard, MTV News, Paper, W Magazine, Vibe, and LGBTQ Nation.

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