é | Fito Blanko
éxclusive interview with Fito Blanko
Fito Blanko was born Roberto E. Testa in Colon, Panama and at a young age his family immigrated to Ontario, Canada, where he grew up. He went to John Cabot Catholic Secondary School and by the age of 14, he started writing lyrics in English and Spanish.
Fito Blanko has become a household name across Canada, and the contagious mix of rhythm and personality has slowly made way into countless households in the United States. At the prime age of 27, Fito has established himself as a solo artist and this is only the beginning of his professional career.
Fito’s first album, “Higher Level” (2004), launched his career in the Latin market. At the young age of 19, Fito was already being featured in magazines such as Urban Latino, Billboard Magazine, and was voted “ the newest Latin sensation” in People (en Espanol) Magazine” in 2005. Fito was also making appearances on television Channels such as Mun2, MTV, HTV, Much Music and received awards for his talent: the Latin Industry Award for “Best Solo Artist” and the Canadian Urban Music Award for “Global Rhythms, International Recording Artist”.
Since the release of his first album, Fito has been on the move. In 2006, Fito traveled to Trinidad and recorded the track “Pretty Girl” with Soca/Chutney superstar “The Hitman”. This track became a #1 hit single at Carnival in Trinidad in 2007 winning him an Award for Best Chutney Soca Song of the Year at the annual Soca Awards in Trinidad . His continued success had no end as Luny Tunes’ Protégée, El Rookie, then featured Fito on the official remix to his hit “No Te Quiere” and he then jumped on the remix “Corran” by Trebol Clan featuring Franco El Gorila. In addition, Fito integrated his stylistic lyrical rhythm on Rochester’s single “Pull Up” which also featured renowned Canadian artist Kardinall Offishall. Finally, and most notably, Fito collaborated with Daryl Riley and Grammy award winning Reggae artist Beenie Man in the hit single “Tear it up”. The America’s (North, Central, and South) and the Caribbean were all demanding this hot, young, talent. Fito began touring top cities, and has made his way across every major city in Canada.
The single Produced by Sensei Musica called “Mambo” features one of the hottest talents in the music business today “Drake. After recording the single Drake was quote saying “you’re better than a lot of the guys out there doing it,” he told him. “So do it.”
His second single “Whine on You” features Omari Ferrari has charted on Canadian Charts and the Official Video is on rotation on MUCH MUSIC across the country.
In 2011 Fito Blanko released “VIP” featuring one of the hottest Latino artists to date, Fuego. With a National radio and marketing campaign in full stride in 2011, this song has introduced Fito Blanko to the US market like no other.
VIP charted on 3 US Latin Billboards: Latin Rhythm, Tropical Latin, and Latin Pop.
At the beginning of 2012 Fito was recognized on the front page of the number one newspaper in Canada, the Toronto Star, as one of the “12 People to Watch in 2012“. Fito released a new single, “Pegadito Suavecito”, in January 2012 and released a remix of that song with Elvis Crespo later that summer. The song charted on the Billboard Tropical charts.
In 2013 Fito Blanko is ready to take the world by storm with new projects on hand. Latin é was able to catch up with Fito Blanko to get an exclusive interview to answer personal questions about growing up in Canada, his Panamanian roots, and what new projects does he have in store for his fans.
é: What was it like growing up as a Latino in Canada and what affect did your upbringing have on your career path, and ultimately, your success? Do you see a difference between Canadian culture and American culture?
FB: Growing up in a multicultural city like Toronto exposed me to a lot of different sounds. There’s a big Jamaican and West Indian community, along with the Latin and European. I just learned a lot from interacting with all these cultures.
The Canadian culture is very similar to the American with exception of Hockey. Canadians take hockey very seriously!
é: How do you keep yourself in-tune with your Panamanian Latin roots?
FB: I keep tabs on current events online mostly. I try to go back once a year at least to see the family. I got cousins aunts and uncles along with my grandmother.
é: What advice do you have for young Latinos who aspire to be successful music artist like yourself?
FB: To have a career in this business you need drive. Be a student of the game and surround yourself with good people that want to see you succeed. Never give up.
é: You once said that you wanted people to know that your music is real. Could you please elaborate on that? What do you mean by “real?”
FB: As a composer/song writer I draw all my inspiration from real life experiences. My music is my diary always inspired by events that have occurred to me at some point. I don’t device a plan to compose a hit song nor do I make music about things people want to hear. To me those are trends that might be cool for now but down the road the meaning will wear off. The sounds and musical productions have to always be current but the subject matter and message has to be timeless. I just write honest music about things I live in, a simple format for the people to connect with.
é: You have such a diverse resume in the music industry collaborating in various genres like Soca, Reggaeton, Latin-Pop and you just released a new song this month called “Si Te Agarro.” What other projects can we expect from you this upcoming year?
FB: Working on an album and releasing new singles through the year. 2013 I’ll be focused on branding my sound and connecting with the audience with live performances and tours.
é: I must ask, where did the name “Fito Blanko” come from?
FB: Pitufito means smurf, and Blanco means white. Fito was a childhood nickname and white was because of my complexion.
Written by Adrienne Oliveira