By all definitions, Prince Royce is a new artist on the pop scene. Which is why the lineup for his debut English album Double Vision is so impressive: Snoop Dogg, Pitbull, Tyga, Kid Ink and Jennifer friggen Lopez. He also recorded but ultimately passed on a collaboration with Chris Brown. Dude's got A-list approval.
For the second North American leg of her Honeymoon Tour, Ariana Grande picked none other than Royce as the special guest opening act.
Royce will not only get to show off his new pop songs on the humongous summer tour, but has promised to expose the Arianators in attendance to some of the bachata hits that made him a sensation in the Latin community too.
Prince Royce boasts 32 million followers on Facebook, 4.34 million on Twitter and 2.2 million on Instagram. For those keeping score, that combined number means every post on his social media accounts creates more impressions than there are people in Canada.
Just watch the power of his presence in the above Instagram video (which has earned 39,000 likes to date) where he meets a mob of screaming fans.
Prince Royce (né Geoffrey Royce Rojas) was the second of four children raised by a taxicab-driver father and a hairdresser mother in a public housing project in an underprivileged neighborhood in the Bronx. Royce has spoken about his childhood, saying that when he'd visit his grandparents in the Dominican Republic, he'd bathe with buckets. "We understood that we were poor," he told Billboard earlier this year.
At age 18, lil Geoff got a job selling cell phones and he saved up enough money to record his own bachata album, which helped him get signed by Sergio George, who is revered in the Latin music industry and has worked with everyone from Celia Cruz and Tito Nieves to Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony.
See how far the now-26-year-old has come with this reflective performance of his single "Soy el Mismo"—"I Am the Same," the title track to his third studio LP. The background's decorated with photos of Royce as child.
You know how only the most prolific artists get to be coaches on The Voice? Same goes for La Voz, the Spanish version of the singing competition that also got a children-only version with La Voz Kids. Royce was a coach for Seasons 1 and 2 of the series alongside Regional Mexican singer Robert Tapia and Mexican pop diva Paulina Rubio.
Even better: Young singer Amanda Mena, who was coached by the superstar, won Season 2 and snagged a contract with Universal Music Latin.
In mid-2014, the singer launched his own record label, D'Leon, under Warner Latin Music. Royce personally asked Mexican teen singer Sofia Reyes to join as its first artist. The promising 19-year-old has dropped two very hot, bilingual singles on the label (2014's Wisin-featuring "Muevelo" and her summer single "Conmigo," above) and looks poised to follow in Royce's footsteps.
"I have been very fortunate to have been able to break through and succeed in this tough industry," Royce said at the label's launch. "This is one of my ways of giving back."
Super Smash Bros. is his favorite. 'Nuff said.
Royce knows that for every successful crossover story, there's loads that don't catch the same break. And while his attempts might draw comparisons to Ricky Martin or Selena, their journeys to break into Top 40 land are totally separate.
"Ricky Martin went from Spanish pop to English pop; same rhythm, different language," he explained earlier this year. "For me, it's a different language and a different rhythm, which makes it twice the challenge."