We had the good fortune of connecting with Antonio Rivera III and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Antonio, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
It was something innate within me. Since really young I always loved emulating the voices of singers, male and female alike. In fact probably more female singers because of their range….Aretha, Etta James, Diana Ross, Sade…my parents loved songs by each of those artists and their sound was angelic and awesome to me. So singing was definitely my first fascination, then fate intervenes when my grandfather gifts me a classical guitar at 12 years old. I plucked and toyed with it at first, not even knowing how to fret (change notes) LOL! I saw one Metallica video “Sad But True” on MTV and BAM…I was sucked in! It looked SO cool and those dudes looked like Rock Gods! (still are…shoutout to Metallica). Since that time way back when, i taught myself by any means necessary…and believe it or not, fate has ALWAYS opened the next chapter each step of my life…through the band mates I’ve met and are now family…the numerous countries I’ve been humbly blessed to perform…and the journey is truly just beginning. It all starts with a fascination that turns into unbridled passion. That’s the most important part for anyone pursuing their dreams.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I take great pride in the AUTHENTICITY of my music. Any and every performance is of utmost importance to me. I craft my guitar tones with precision until I am satisfied with how they FEEL for the listener. I sing with every ounce of intention…whether the deep lows of heartbreak or the joys new love….the pains of injustice and the pride of being a talented Brown Man in America, spreading good feelings and inspiring that pride in others. Music has opened doors everywhere I’ve turned…even in places I dont speak the language or know the culture. Sing a song or play a tune and watch the smiles shine from the audiences faces….that feeling is inexplicable….it’s why I want to do this for the rest of my days. The one valued lesson I’d like to share to those looking to do the same: Be Confident, Be Yourself and WORK WORK WORK on your craft! I’ve been playing guitar for nearly 30 years and i still am striving to learn and tweak my sounds and performance habits!! Record yourself and watch or listen back: you will DEFINITELY find things to improve!! LOL For the record: I definitely DO NOT like doing this, but self critique is essential mastering your craft and ability. Above all…make sure you ENJOY what you’re doing! All the practice is just making you that more confident in front of your audience!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Sooo much to do. Wynwood would be a likely be first stop, with all its progressive artist and cuisine spots. A few nights would also have to be spent at my favorite local music and drink hangouts: Las Rosas, Lagniappe, Lincoln’s Beard, Anderson Bar, Blackbird Ordinary…the lists go on hahaha. Just so many years of great experiences, whether on stage or in the crowd
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
It has to start with Mom and Pop. They are true 1970’s High School Sweethearts that got married and got this all started! Their vivacious nature (always threw GREAT parties!) , my Moms love of culture and music and their Puerto Rican pride….its all in the DNA that is sprinkled on every note I sing or play…So BIG Bendeciones to the Rivera Clan! I am also supremely blessed to have a musical family of Brothers that continually push our talents to new heights. Having one cohesive and talented band of true friends is one super lucky thing…but I have TWO. My hermanos in Fusik (aka: Florida’s Funk Band!), which I co-founded along with Daniel ‘Felix’ Garcia and Mack Henry Moore III in 2005. We started off playing for breaking competitions in Florida and Georgia the first year or two to playing Red Bull sponsored televised events in Europe just two short years later! It opened up the World to my eyes and ears, literally, and definitely gave my soul full confirmation that this was my life long journey. We have added even more firepower over the years (shout out to Chippy on keys, Quinto on Congas, Spencer on da Bass, and Bobby Smiley the Sax Assassin!), have started our own Florida Funk record label where we exclusively sell 45’s of all our funk / soul heavy hitters. The next cast of incredible talent that I am blessed to be a part of is none other than the roster of Mango Hill Records, founded by ‘El Voz De Oro’, Jason Joshua. He has assembled a collective of all the talented friends that he’s worked and toured with over the years and created the powerhouse backing band: the Beholders. Eddie Garcia on Drums – Andrew Amegor on Trumpet – Bobby Smiley (double band shoutout!) still killin’ on Sax – Matt Pyatt on the Bass – Chippy G (yet ANOTHER double band shoutout) on all Keyboards / piano / Organ and yours truly on all guitar. Jason’s vision has lead to the debut of my Tony from the Bronx persona / career, created as a dedication…a homage…to the incredible Fania Salsa / Soul / Latin Boogaloo artists we both grew with in our homes. Like I mentioned before, its in the DNA, and to see this come full circle…writing and performing songs true to my culture and nature is an absolute marvel to me.
Instagram: @tony.from the Bronx @mangohillrecords @the_beholders
Other: You can find Tony from the Bronx , and all of the Mango Hill Records family on all streaming / media platforms 😉