Born in Brooklyn, life was filled with his parents’ Puerto Rican culture and things were generally happy until Lil Eddie turned seven. A fire rendered his family homeless — sleeping in their cars and on the streets until they were able to find a home in Spanish Harlem. The neighborhood was rough, but it inspired Lil Eddie’s drive and his musical influences. Lil Eddie’s career was fostered by Diddy at just 16 years old, after being discovered while singing on a train.
He got to work as a songwriter and went on to gain recognition in the music industry from his award-winning work producing and songwriting for major names such as Usher, Janet Jackson, Keith Richards and Kylie Minogue. The 11-time GRAMMY nominee gained so much notoriety that he was asked to join the artist development team at X Factor alongside Simon Cowell. There he helped bring together the ladies of Fifth Harmony, as well as coaching the contestants season after season. Have a listen to one of his latest releases “TOMA” embedded below.
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SunCity Paradise: Kicking it off with your home of New York City, what really stands out and makes it special to you? Where would you send a first-time visitor to get a real sense of the land?
Lil Eddie: I’m from Spanish Harlem in NYC and of Puerto Rican decent. So, I’m considered to be Nuyorican, which is a very popular breed of Latino Puerto Rican’s born and raised in NYC. What makes Spanish Harlem an amazing place is we have carried the culture to NYC and the neighborhood represents that in every way, from the music in the streets to the food.
SCP: What was your first real exposure to music? How did you get inspired to create your own and eventually pursue it as a career?
Lil Eddie: Music was everywhere growing up in NYC. I would say joining the New York Boys Choir at 10 years old exposed me to music — gospel music. It helped me find my voice. I continued to pursue it and it lead me to a career in music. I would have to say music found me and saved my life.
SCP: To create music, and traveling to promote it, must be such a feeling. What’s the most impactful and meaningful part you cherish about it? Does the travel help inspirationally?
Lil Eddie: The most impactful, meaningful part of being a singer/songwriter is seeing how far my passion has taken me. Traveling the world, meeting people, experiencing cultures and spirituality. It’s a very blessed position to be in. I’m very grateful.
SCP: What’s one stark difference between traveling as an artist versus personal travel?
Lil Eddie: I would have to say I can’t separate the two. I’m always in artist mode collecting inspiration and learning. Applying it all to my music. I need to learn how to find a personal life.
SCP: Your latest release “TOMA” dropped in early September. What was your thought process around this track? Describe the reaction by your fans since it’s been out.
Lil Eddie: “TOMA” was a bit of my lifestyle and a mix of genres of music I’ve been inspired by in my life. My intention for the song was to make people feel good and want to move. I think it’s connected very well. It’s the first Spanglish release from me and its has charted virally in Spain and other Latin countries. I’m receiving a lot of great messages from people who enjoy the record. It’s all encouraging to keep the music coming.
SCP: When searching for a personal getaway, are you looking for a serene beach or after a more active, adventurous getaway? Why?
Lil Eddie: I never had a vacation really. I like seasons, so I don’t mind the cold and I enjoy the sun also. Most important for me is a vibe a feeling. That’s what will inspire me to create.
SCP: Everyone has a list of places that they still have to hit. What are three destinations, either work or pleasure, that you need to see? Why?
Lil Eddie: Very hard one. I want to see so many places in the world. I will say India has come to mind often. The culture and architecture interest me. Egypt, as would love to touch the pyramids. Australia, to maybe hang out with a kangaroo.
SCP: One of our core objectives at SCP is to bring people together while traveling, not only to influence people to see and appreciate our beautiful world, but to also minimize cross-cultural divides. What effect does traveling, specifically surrounding music, have on humans in this regard? How has it broadened your perspective of the world?
Lil Eddie: Music is the universal language. I’ve performed in Japan where I can’t speak the language fluently with the people, but they know my songs. Even if they don’t understand the words they relate to the emotion. When we travel we connect with different cultures and experience their sounds. With music we learn so much from the heartbeat of the world to the body language. I’ve realized how much we are different, and all individually original, but yet still all the same. We all share the same emotions and desires.
SCP: When you’re relaxing on a beach or just have some downtime are you listening to music? Do you like to switch up the genre you listen to? If so, to what?
Lil Eddie: Yes, by the beach in the day time I can enjoy a wide range of music — sade, reggae, reggaeton, African soul and Coldplay. It all depends on the vibe of the location and my mood.
SCP: What are some travel essentials you need to help through long transit?
Lil Eddie: If I’m in a different country converters for the outlets and my appliances. Great music and a good book too. Oh, and great company is always a plus. It’s must that I’m traveling with other people.