Danny Félix: The Face of the "Requinto"

Updated: May 5, 2020

When Danny Félix plays the guitar, the adrenaline jolts his nerves. There is something seductive about the strings, an I don't know what, something like an irresistible attraction to his fingers. He cannot stay still. Inertia is as strong as passion. He takes it and makes it his own ... he transforms it into art.

"I was born to make music," he says without apology. He knows it is in his blood. In his family they are all artists and good singers; he is not the exception. Perhaps that is why stages and arenas do not intimidate him; they are not too big for him either.

His musical debut was in his living room when he was a kid and they were many applauses... too many; they have multiplied over the years. "The first song I learned was Un beso al viento, I was about 10 and 11 years old, and from then on I haven't stopped singing," he says.

Danny was born in Phoenix, Arizona, but his family instilled in him a love for his Mexican roots. Originally from Sinaloa, the Félixes never wanted to forget the bass and the tambora, the band or the corridos. The 26-year-old grew up listening to La Sonora Dinamita, Chalino Sánchez and the Cuates de Sinaloa.

In his house there were music for everything: enjoyment, dancing and heartbreak, life and misfortune. Each emotion had a musical note, and each memory, a chorus. His home was like the songbook that most Hispanic households in the United States sing to. And music became his life.

There were difficult days; he battled constant identity conflicts. Danny, like any young Mexican American, had a split heart and language. He loved in English and Spanish. He felt in Spanglish. When he was lost, the requinto rescued him.

His childhood was marked by the great exponents of regional Mexican music and the contrast of North American idols.

"I loved rap and I actually listened to it a lot," he says.

Eminem was his favorite singer. He inspired and challenged Danny. His rap music was the way Danny used to connect, a way of fitting into a bilingual and bicultural world, but still with racial chains that only mock the universal language of music.

"All the kids at my age, when I was about 10 or 12 years old, were very different from now," says the songwriter. "The new generations now do want to play the guitar, sing and write songs ... back then, I felt it more like I didn't fit in with others."

That did not stop him. Danny spent over a decade playing on local stages with Los Llegadores, a family band that played at the most popular parties and nightclubs in Phoenix. Then he made the leap to composition. "Me Critican" was his first hit. The song became famous in the voice of the popular singer Natanael Cano. That is when luck began to smile back at him.

It was his voice or his requintos, perhaps his passion for playing bass or accordion; maybe it was the guitar or his desire - who knows - but he did it. He took down stereotypes and dared to create sounds that thought and felt like him, like millions of Latinos who mock borders imposed by geography or culture.

Danny has never been afraid to alternate and evolve, mix and create ... to be out of tune with the classic and the typical. And the music world noticed it. His requintos echoed so strong that it breached music genre barriers.

The young man who played at small music festivals and quinceañeras changed. Danny no longer only thinks about corridos; he dances reggaeton, sings, and falls in love.

"I like reggaeton, beats are very fun for me, I like to combine genres, I love urbano," says the musician.

And it won't stop. He knows what he wants and it's not just accompanying others to fame. The Arizonan wants to leave his own mark. With his trio Danny Félix y los de Finix, he offers a new musical alternative in English and Spanish, something rarely seen in its genre.

He is ready to sign a contract with a record label. "I have some proposals, but we are seeing what we want and where we want to go to make a decision." he confesses.

Meanwhile, he keeps writing lyrics and making new sounds. He looks for inspiration in love, those memories that hurt, life, reality and dreams. It scares him to become stagnate, to be one of the bunch. He questions himself and then finds all his answers in the same place: the requinto.

Maybe tomorrow he will be or feel different, but he will go back to the guitar, as he always does. In the requinto is where he is born and where he dies, its; where he quenches his thirst for eternity.

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