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Charles J. & The Conquistadors talk about the new music

Charles J. & The Conquistadors talk about the new music, which includes “Like She’s Not Yours.”

Metamundo Music
Photo Credit: Metamundo Music
Photo Credit: Metamundo Music

Charles J. & The Conquistadors talk about the new music, which includes “Like She’s Not Yours.”

How did “Like She’s Not Yours” come about? 

The very 1st song I decided to track in the studio on my “Latin-Country” music recording project was in fact the Bellamy’s mega-hit “If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body” in the Fall of 2020. The Bellamy’s have been literally in my top 5 favorite artists of All-Time since I was about 11 years old.

I have about 10 of their songs on my car playlist. In the Spring of 2021, after completing the final mix of the track, I was so proud of the “arrangement” we produced with the ranchera guitars, the guitarron bass line and the mariachi trumpets that I wanted The Bellamy’s to hear it and was simply looking for “their blessing” on it. Kind of like a “look what I did with your tune” kind of thing.

I decided to make a video where I introduced myself to them, who I was, what I was doing and literally just threw out a “Hail Mary” pass that “If” you all would ever consider doing a duet with me, it would be a great honor and emailed the video with the track on it. I was literally hoping for a “great job” and maybe they would give me a shout-out to their fans about the song when it was released and had even prepared myself that maybe they would never reply.

About a week later, I was in the studio when I received an email from their manager who stated that they “absolutely loved” my version of their song and were open to collaboration and even sent me a few of their songs that David felt might be a good “Latin-Country” fit. And here we are.
 
What was it like to work with David Bellamy of The Bellamy Brothers?- 

It was a dream come true. I don’t think they get enough credit for the impact that they have had on country music. Their songs are iconic, so melodic and just brilliantly written and produced. How can you not listen to many of their songs and not wanna dance or sing to it? They just make you freaking happy! I finally got to meet them when we filmed the music video in Gilbert Arizona in November of 2021 while they were on tour; as when are they never not on tour? 

We were fortunate enough to see them in concert with my Conquistadors after we filmed the video that night and I just sat there in just absolute “awe” listening to hit after hit after freakin’ hit that they did.

You sometimes forget all the great songs they recorded and it was almost nostalgic listening to all of them in concert. Working and meeting with them was simply a breeze. They are the easiest going, coolest cats to work with and you can tell that they just love what they do. Everything I have sent over for them to review and “approve” they were just like “Great”.

How does it get any easier than that? They are in my honest opinion, country music icons and they have nothing left to prove. Somebody please tell me a damn good reason why they are not in the Country Music Hall of Fame? Seriously?
 
What inspires your music and songwriting? 

Life – it is that simple. I always try to focus on positive or happy vibe type music. I mean music is energy and the last thing I want to do is bring people’s energies down when they listen to my music. To me working on music is not work at all but just a playful fun experience and I tend to have no boundaries when I am in “the moment”. I told my co-producer Angel Duran on my Latin-Country music projects that I only have 1 rule in the studio and that is that there are no rules.

We can do whatever we want and try whatever we want and I am super proud of the results. I enjoy the aspect of creating or fusing country music with Latin music, with the instruments, or with arrangements that haven’t really been done before.

For example, we produced the 1st ever English speaking Latin-Country music danzon rhythm style song called “ONE” which I released with a music video in the fall of 2021. If you listen to the words, it’s really a metaphysical lyric song about how everything starts and ends with “One” and how we as humanity are all “one”. I have received amazing feedback from that song. We’ve also done English speaking country music bachatas as well.

Have you ever heard a country music bachata before? Didn’t think so. We have several and they turned out amazing. So many times, in all my writing too, I always try to sneak in powerful messages into my songs. I guess you can look at it as a subliminal brainwashing tactic of enlightening you. lol

However, my writing style has dramatically changed and vastly improved since I was younger only because I follow one simple formula. That formula is that I do not chase the song; I let the song find me. What does that mean? I’ve learned some very valuable lessons in my life. One of them being that “what you surrender to becomes your power”. I dont force anything.

Whenever I have forced something whether it be a business deal, or a relationship, or even just a song, it never turns out good. How many times do songwriters find a hook and then they beat their heads against a wall trying to write the song. No Thanks! Been there, done that, got the T-shirt and the headache. Most of my songs, I write in literally 30 minutes.

Sometimes I may go months without writing a song and then all of a sudden, I see or hear something that triggers a thought and like a match it just fires something inside of me and I feel like I simply “download” the song effortlessly. For example on New Year’s day of this year, I was scrolling through social media and saw a meme that said “Peace, Love and Tacos”. I was like “aw hell no, it should be Peace Love and Tequila”.

So I was just getting off the computer and was heading to the gym for my workout. From the time I left the house to the gym parking lot 20 minutes away, I had half the song voice texted into my notes on my cell phone. When I parked, I sat there and drank my coffee for energy and finished the rest of the song in literally 15 minutes and through my workout, I had the melody pretty much down pat.

By the time I got home, picked up the guitar, found the song key, typed it all on the computer and knew I had one helluva catchy song that has gotten amazing reactions from the few people who I’ve played the demo for. This song will definitely be a future release. So I just flow with the creative energy when it comes through me and wah-lah. Magic!

How does it feel to be an artist in the digital age? (now with streaming and technology being so prevalent)

I won’t lie and tell you that understanding it is a whole new language in itself. It’s much like trying to learn and understand website or computer coding. There are some pluses and minuses but overall, I would definitely have to say more pluses. Although maybe the streaming pay-out format is not as advantageous to some artists, on the other hand, this new digital age with social media with so many platforms and viral videos and so forth, really allow more opportunities for independent artists to take control of their career and have leverage.

Especially for those artists who either have great marketing backgrounds, which I would like to consider myself in that category, or who have a great marketing or social media team to assist and promote them. Whereas before, the only real viable medium was signing your life and masters away to a record label who pretty much “owned you”, and of course, you were always one merger or label executive transfer away from you getting “shelved or dropped” or caught up in the merger which is what happened to me with my time signed with Universal/Rising Tide Records.

Plus many times, a label may have so many artists “in-line” to be released that you get lost in “the shuffle” of waiting for your turn to be released or waiting for the next song the label will release.

Now, I feel very excited that to some degree, although there may be some limitations not being attached to a major label, I also can make this as big as I want to and for me, I like that challenge. I LOVE the freedom! Truthfully, I am at a different maturity, emotional, mental and  professional stage in my life than I was when I was first signed and of course much younger back then. Back then, it was all about “the destination”; now, it’s all about “the ride” aka the journey. Just enjoying this adventure of where the Universe is taking me. 

Which female artists would you like to do a dream duet with? (Pick 2 for 2 separate duets)

Funny you should ask that. I have a couple Latin-Country produced “gems” that are done that I feel would make incredible collaborations with a few female artists. In fact, I dont mind sharing what songs they are. Although, my actual first YouTube video release last year was a “reimagined’ Latin-Country duet version of the timeless classic Fleetwood Mac song “Dreams” that myself and my co-producer Angel Duran produced in which I had Latin Grammy nominated artist Jasmine Lopez sing with me.

I have received massive amounts of compliments on the arrangement of it from all over the world especially Brazil and Mexico, and even seeing many statements from people saying that they considered our version was a better version of the Stevie Nicks original which I am very grateful for those compliments. I released that particular song for a couple reasons with 1.) I was trying to establish my “digital footprint” since I had been out of the game so to speak for almost 2 decades, and 2.) I wanted to take a song that pretty much everyone in modern civilization was familiar with, and felt taking such an iconic pop song and creating a Latin-country music version of it would be a great introduction to show people what the possibilities are with my music. I am open to adding a top female country artist to add her vocals and re-release it to radio. 

So to answer your question, I have several songs that I have recorded where if you were to ask me who I believe would be a perfect fit and a dream female duet partner, well here you go. I recorded a Latin-country version of a song called “It’s Never Gonna Be Enough” but was originally a Latin mega-hit by a Mexican female artist named Natalia Lafourcade titled in Spanish “Nunca Es Sufficiente”.

This song/video has been viewed literally a Billion and a half times in Spanish and I recorded an English version duet which is beyond cool. It has this 70’s psychedelic meets mariachi meets surfer guitar vibe with strings to it that actually works. Go figure. My “ideal” person for that song would be either Natalia herself as this would be a great crossover hit of her own penned original or one of my favs Kacey Musgraves, who I have no doubt that if she heard it, would be all over it and could be a massive hit in both Country, Latin and maybe even Pop. There is NOTHING that sounds like this song. The “cool factor” is off the charts! I may reach out to her team hopefully once I get a little more established again in the industry. 

Another song that comes to mind would be a Latin-country version of the classic “Islands in the Stream” which again Angel and I produced already and truthfully, I hear maybe a Tori Kelly or Carly Pearce hitting them out of the ballpark with their talents. Again, these “arrangements” are what makes these songs almost “new again” and not just another remake of a cover. Having ranchera guitars strumming and mariachi trumpets make them so exciting and fresh. So I believe once people hear these songs in a whole new light, people will get very excited about them as they will be unique and original in their own way and not just “another remake”.  

Lastly, coming back around to the song I mentioned earlier called Peace, Love and Tequila which I believe is a monster of a song; I hear Miranda Lambert all over that song. Her unique amazing voice, her country sass and twang would be a perfect fit for it. Plus, I mean what more appropriate song to play in your own cantina that she owns right? 
 
What does the word success mean to you? (My favorite question)

Success is a very dangerous word. Most describe “success” from a 3rd dimensional perspective relating to status, power, money, or accomplishments or basically “outside things”. Even family or loved ones, are “outside things”. 

I too unfortunately, did as well and that defined me most of my life until a few years ago. The problem with that is simply if you are “attached” to outside things, that all are fleeting, then what happens when those outside things change? Then what?

Now “success” means something completely different to me and there will be many that might not relate to this, but maybe some will. Besides being a recording artist, I am also a Spiritual/metaphysical author who recently released my first book TruthAvenger, and have the 2nd book being released later this year. So, I tend to look at things much differently than most now understanding the Universal laws, enlightenment and especially energy.

As I state in my books, I have come to learn that the greatest battle we as humans will ever face is not with the government, other races, lovers, haters, our careers or “climbing the ladder” of success, but with ourselves and to be even more specific, our “Higher-self”. You know, that “voice” that lies deep within ourselves that is our subconscious.

Once we learn to conquer that major obstacle, which sadly, most never do, then “that” to me is the definition of success. So what changes and happens when we overcome that obstacle that sadly for many keep us in a”psychological prison” where we become our own own warden and literally a slave to our own ignorance? Everything! We then understand such things as finding peace not only in the world but most importantly within ourselves.

We learn how to navigate through this world with much more ease, with total trust, with joy, and we learn to flow with the Universal tide whereas most are always rowing against it and wondering why they aren’t getting anywhere. In fact, I have “brainwashed” myself to believe that there is a “conspiracy in the Universe FOR me”, and you know what? It’s real and it’s working. Whereas most people believe there is a conspiracy against them?

Knowing how to navigate with and through the Universal laws that were provided from our Creator is my definition of success. It allows me to better understand that although luck hits every once in a while, energy hits every time, without fault or exception as it is Universal law. So why wouldn’t you fuse yourself with the most powerful force in the Universe and focus your energy on a “sure thing”? To NOT do it is pure ignorance, yet most are clueless to it as I was for most of my life too. 

It’s an entire way of “being” that allows me to understand who I really am and where my true power comes from. So to answer your question directly about success; success to me is knowing WHO you really are, and with that comes an unlimited abundance of inner peace which creates outer peace, (as within so without) love of self, love of others, alignment and abundance in many forms. Call me crazy, I truly could care less,  but I have come to believe there is a Universal genie that will provide everything I need and want at the exact perfect time and I just know it’s on its way. Maybe the question for some should be if you don’t believe that’s true, then maybe you should ask yourself why? 

What would you like to tell our readers about “Like She’s Not Yours”? (What’s the one thing you want them to get out of it) 

Authentic Latin-Country music is officially here!  This is a brilliantly written song by David Bellamy with a great melody and truthfully, it’s something that many of us men should probably use as good advice in our relationships: Treat her like she’s not yours. In other words, make sure you show and appreciate her by treating her as if you were still pursuing her. Freaking brilliant!

How many women have you heard always complain that their man or their relationship has gotten stagnant because the man pretty much doesn’t “try” anymore. David is on to something because his wife Susan, is a very beautiful lady and they’ve been together for almost 30 years. So, he must be doing something right? 

So what’s the one thing you want them to get out of it? Well, many of us love and miss “traditional” country music. Traditional country music is/was like a big thick sizzling steak. It was juicy, delicious, it filled you up and it went straight to the heart. You don’t hear that style much anymore these days, well at least on mainstream radio. I jokingly use the analogy that it’s almost like some of today’s mainstream country music has become very pop, “soy and vegan friendly” where it leaves the listener asking the infamous line ‘Where’s the Beef?’.

That is in no way knocking many of the great artists we have today, they are awesome and doing well. But in all honesty, could we really believe that if a Don Williams or John Conlee was being released today, that they would get any radio play? We all know the answer to that. 

My goal with the Latin-Country music which I call “Country Fiesta”, is to bring back some of the ‘steak’ elements that used to be the signature of traditional country music, only this time, serve it on a hot sizzling fajita platter with a side of ranchera guitars and a chase it with a shot of mariachi trumpets. Get it “ranchera guitars” ala ranch dressing and “mariachi trumpets” ala margaritas? Eh..well it ain’t easy being cheesy…or I guess in my case “queso dip”. Too much? Ok, I’ll stop! lol Hey, I am just having fun this time around and enjoying the journey. Thank you amigos!

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 18,000 original articles over the past 16 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a six-time consecutive "Best of Long Island" winner, and in the past three years, he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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