Puerto Rico on Sept 17th 2017, suffered the worst natural disaster covering the entire island in possibility its history. As a result, the total infrastructure basically collapsed. To put this in perspective, no power for months, no water for weeks and no phones stretching across 2.2 million acres of land impacting approximately 3.6 million people. Phones wouldn't normally make this list. But on an island communicating within the island for necessary logistics and/or off the island is both critical and essential. That first week families waited desperately to hear if their loved ones were still alive. While everything was unclear to the outside world, things became crystal clear for those on the island. We are all we have. Even today the adored Puerto Rican flag, that means so much too so many, now hangs in front yards as a symbol of those who stayed never leaving the island after of the storm. In addition, there's a new black and white version of the precious flag which emerged as a symbol of the resolve, the resistance and the sheer frustration of the singleness of our struggle. But just before Hurricane Maria hit there was also a musical movement emerging. It's force wasn't over night like Maria's but it had a much larger span and had been moving for years. Reggaeton was blowing up in a major way. Numbers don't lie and Reggaeton had the winds of hurricane proportions indicating a global takeover.
However, those uncertain weeks after the hurricane of no contact with the island or the mainland felt like those possibilities were in parallel. But the Reggaeton Artist like it's people had other plans. An openness, a willingness, a commitment to each fellow men, the hustle grew larger and out of the dust began to blossom the resolve of a prideful people with hopes and dreams. The youth working with their elders. Each as hungry to succeed as the other. An island full of the rich history of Salsa, Bolerdos and Jibaro folks songs, also found the sound of Reggaeton infused with Trap were being immersed in the island's culture. These artist were not merely telling a story of the struggle facing them but were expressing the necessary steps they were taking to hopefully become financially sound in the midst of the struggle. As in all devastating situations people tend to remember the need for creature comforts. Music and Alcohol usually lead the way, and Ice Cream of course. Two out of three are found in the strip club. Sometimes you'll even find some gorgeous lady named Crema there too. I digress, Reggaeton experienced this phenomenon in the midst of this tragedy. Artist like Nicky Jam, Bad Bunny, Ozuna, Anuel began working with so called mainstream American artist like Drake, Will Smith and Cardi B. The truth is the reggaeton artist audience were just as big if not bigger by the time these collaborations occurred.
After personally being there during the Hurricane and experiencing the conditions first hand, even only for a short time. I decided returned to the island a year later to find fresh new talent to tell us their story. Now enters in, la Isles de Encanto, Reggaeton Trap Queen herself, Roxie Santi aka La Siren, The Mermaid. After the storm, this strong beautiful 25 year old mother, artist, student, stripper, song writer found solace in her craft. Writing more, working more, studying more for her degree in Sound Engineering, loving her son more, wanting more and willing to do more. We met and drove and drove. She talked, I listened. Until we reached our very fitting destination, Survival Beach in Isabela, PR. The irony wasn't lost as you see in her stunning pictures. We ate and drank, she talked some more I listened. Currently Roxie has produced and promoting her own album that is straight fire. Featuring 8 tracks, such as Hacer Dinero, Mala y Descara, Trap Money and Hoe On. Her approach is as raw and as brazen as they come. In all honesty, with all that she endured she deserves to be that free. Along with the album, she has collaborations with many other Reggaeton artist.
Here's a brief look into Roxie's story the night after Hurricane Maria. Keep in mind this is just one story that repeats itself over and over for the millions Boriquens that faced this situation head on. Roxie's home experienced shattered windows, requiring major clean up and repairs. Her vehicle was literally sandwiched by other vehicles in the parking lot due to the velocity of the winds. That vehicle still has not been returned to her a year later due to the enormous amount of repairs local body shops have taken on. Roxie and her son forced to take brief temporary shelter with family. During those extremely dark days she found herself wishing for some of the smallest things we sho easily take for granted like ice in your drink or even just a really cold drink at all. Her happy place became the university and her work. Places she felt progress and other people's good energy. Seeing people pull together to change a tire or help clear out debris to create a passageway, both literally and metaphorically. This reminded her she was not alone. Yes, she's still waiting for that mega deal but her drive is stronger than ever before.
To make sure you're kept a breast of this beautiful young lady's progress and success, do yourself a favor and subscribe to her Youtube Channel and/or her Instagram at Roxie Santi or her Facebook at Roxie Santiago. For booking stateside contact Brandon Solis at firstname.lastname@example.org. Roxie, we're so grateful and honored that you shared your story with ISABELLA Magazine.