Originally from Paraguay, Fito Espinola has taken his personality, amazing vocals, and hypnotizing guitar skills across the world to places one may only be able to dream of. His journey began at a young age and his story leading up to becoming a Latin Grammy nominee has been miraculous, to say the least. Fito Espinola has recently been sharing his talents with the world by sending short performance videos, better known as Fitogram’s to the friends and loved ones of those who order one. He has recently released a new single titled “Caminando” and is working relentlessly on his next album. I had the opportunity of catching up with Fito to talk to him about his adventures and music.
When did you first begin playing the guitar and at what age did you know that music would be your career path?
I started playing the guitar at the age of seven. All I wanted was a guitar, but unfortunately, my father, he bought the guitar. I used to love so much that guitar that I lied it on my bed, and I covered it with a blanket. So one day my sister came, jumped in the bed, not realizing the guitar was there and broke the guitar. My father couldn’t afford to buy another one so I had to wait seven years to have another guitar. I continued playing my guitar seven years later officially. But, yeah, it was kind of sad. But I knew that I loved music since as long as I can remember. And yeah, when I was just a little baby, when I gained use of memory, I recalled that I was always singing, and I always had music in my mind. I always wanted to learn to play the guitar, and I wanted to be a musician. That was my will.
How did you come to performing for different cruise lines and what are some of the differences in the performing environment?
I started working with cruise lines because of a friend of mine. He’s a performer. He developed this amazing concept called Olé Olé. He fusioned guitar rhythms with a sensual dance of Flamenco, and powerful, passionate, and with the projection of what’s going on the stage, what’s going on on screen as well. It’s a very, very good concept. He worked with them for many years, and he just got tired of it. [chuckle] He told me, “Fito, you wanna work on cruises?” And I said, “Yeah, sure.” So he sent me out to do an audition. So I auditioned for the cruise line, and they loved our show, and they loved the performance. They said, “You are on.” We started working, performing, and doing our shows in cruise line. The difference between working in the cruise line is that you cannot go anywhere. [laughter] You have to stay in the water, in the ship, in the vessel. But it’s a whole production, it’s a production show. So you’ve got all your engineers, your stage manager, and everybody else to help you to have the best show possible for the guests. And they have big, big theatres inside the cruise ship. Some often are like 3,000 people, big cruise ships. But it’s very good. After a while, you get very, very… Not tired, but maybe anxious or tired of being always in the sea, and it’s kind of tiring as well. But we were always guest entertainers, so we were treated very good. I had my own cabin, they gave me a suite. They treated us very well. [chuckle] We performed once a week, two shows of 45 minutes, and one at 7:00 PM, and the other one at 9:00 PM, and that was it. The rest of the time, we were free to roam wherever it was, so everywhere the cruise ship goes, we get off the ship and go visit the country. I’ve been to Africa, Asia, South America, North America, Central America. I’ve crossed the Panama Canal four times… It’s a great experience.
What was the inspiration behind “Simplemente Te Quire” and how did it feel to be nominated for a Latin Grammy?
Simplemente Te Quiero is a song that I started writing when I was heartbroken. It’s always to musicians or artists, they always get heartbroken and they start writing music. You have to take it out of your soul, of your heart, you have to take the pain out. So I think one of the ways to do that is to write something, to write about it, and to present it through music. And that’s how it became. I used to live in Miami, and I started a song, but in the middle of the song, I was in the middle of the broken relationship. And also, I almost got killed in Miami, somebody attacked me from behind. I never knew who attacked me because it was from behind. They hit me in the head with a pipe, they led me out. A couple hours later, I woke up, and I was all covered in blood. I was by myself in this alleyway ’cause I was playing in this venue that they didn’t have much security. So it was very late in the morning, and I was performing with the band, so everybody else left, I just stayed. And in that minute, I was in the middle of composing the song and this happened to me. And fortunately, I recover, I’m back on my feet.
Yeah, it’s very crazy. I got unconscious, I left out unconscious. And the funny thing is I was recording on my phone to leave my greeting on my phone. And the machine says, “Hey, to record your voice message, press one,” then when I pressed one, I remember up to that moment. After that, I don’t remember anything. And it got recorded on the phone, my greeting. So everything that happened stayed recorded.
But that was actually in the middle of me writing the song. I was working on the verse… On the bridge, on the second verse. Anyhow. [chuckle] But after that, I felt I had to finish the song because I feel that this song was part of me, that it marked something like before and after. So that was the writing history on Simplemente Te Quiero. I am a member of the academy, then I call some friends and I told them about the experience. I told them that I wanted to do a music video. We flew to Las Vegas, and then we flew to Los Angeles, and we filmed in the desert, and Los Angeles in Beverly Hills. And we put it out, and we actually won the song for the Grammys, for the list of the Grammys, and it’s been there so it’s a great experience. It’s wonderful to be part of the music industry.
What types of opportunities have being a member of The Forbidden Saints offered you and what was it like performing for Armenia’s Independence Day?
Well, the opportunity with the group of Forbidden Saints with the orchestra is that we’re all friends, and my brother plays with an artist called Yanni for 14 years, he’s very well known. Yanni is a world class musician, and he’s very famous, and my brother plays with him. I used to go to watch the show, to go to the concert, and I make friends with the musicians. One day, we decided to put together this concert of the best musicians in the world and to perform. It came out from a TV show with that in Los Angeles for an award TV show that they were going for, and the Armenian community in California is really big. From there, start developing little by little, and I got to meet the most amazing musicians in the world. That was a very amazing experience, and that opportunity, to ask to be the feature orchestra in Armenia’s Independence Day of the city, of the capital in Yerevan, in front of 150,000 people… We went there six weeks before the show, and we were here for all those six weeks. It was amazing, amazing… We played for two hours straight, and they featured a different artist from the country, like a popular artist from the country, but we were featured there. The orchestra featured in the Independence Day. After the reviews came out, the audience say that the only thing was, “The show was too short.”
That was one of the biggest stages that I played in. And the food is unbelievable.
For those who haven’t heard, what can listeners expect to hear from your new track “Caminando?”
That album is going to be the same line of the music that I’ve been working on, but this one is going to have a little twist, because I live in the Cayman Islands. I’ve lived there for four years. And they have a lot of influence from the Caribbean music; from Soca, from Reggae, and Calypso. And it just hit me up really, really, really, really badly in my heart. I love it, I love it. And the combination that I’m working on is to mix my style and to put it like the rhythms of almost like Shaggy or Sean Paul. With Flamenco and that’s the next step that I’m working on, on this concept of the new music that I wanna put out starting next year.