Ralphy Mata has always been pensive and romantic. At 13, he was writing poems about things he wanted to talk about — from politics to racism — but was too shy to share in public. At 24, he is enjoying sharing his thoughts through bachata music — infused with new sounds, such as opera.
His debut original single, “Máscara” (“Mask”) — which dropped this week on iTunes and Amazon — is a collaboration of Aventura’s Lenny Santos playing the guitar with elements of Mozart’s “Requiem” playing in the background.
“I love the freedom to express myself and not have any limitations,” says Mata, now known as his musician name, Lynx. “I owe a lot of that to Eminem — because of him, I feel like I shouldn’t be afraid and I should talk about things that no one else is.”
Now, the singer/songwriter born and raised in the Bronx, NY, says he wants the approval from the Latino community – and perhaps become the next Romeo or Prince Royce.
“The challenge for me is earning their respect and admiration — I think, ‘Are they willing to accept another bachata star?’,” says Mata. “I feel like ‘Máscara’ is the beginning of something special.”
He shares that his Dominican father would always play bachata at home, and his Ecuadorian mom would always play cumbias and ballads, and he fell in love with the sound of diversity at a young age.
“I’ve always been a fan of ‘Phantom of the Opera,’” says Mata about what inspired him to add sprinkles of opera in his bachata about falling in love with the wrong person — as if they were wearing a mask.
Mata says his 18-year-old brother, who is blind and autistic, was also one of his biggest motivations to take a chance blending genres. He’s also the one who picked the song, out of his many, to record first.
“He said he loved it, and it’s very catchy…He’s always shown me never to quit,” says Mata, who works by day in the mailroom of a trading company. “Doctors would say he would never make it past 10 and that he’s never going to walk or speak, but now he talks more than me. That shows me that nothing is impossible.”
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