Admittedly, when I took up this assignment, I had no clue who Martin Reyes was. See, it was scheduled to take place on a Friday night, and I had no concrete plans for the evening’s invitation into the weekend ahead. So, you can either classify me as a music sell-out, or just a soul that was simply killing two birds with a single stone.

The album launch was held at Union Square’s Home Of Latin Beats, which was a home that was pretty darn hard to find in my opinion (an isolated entrance located next to a new upcoming mall 100 AM). The club is considered the home of Latin Salsa beats in town, but its settings did little for an album launch event, let alone the less than 100 patronisers whom mildly sprinkled the space.

Hearing an opening of a chirpy version of “You Are Not Alone” by the late King of Pop, done Martin Reyes style, was extremely weird. I always believe that some things that were done right the first time round should not have to suffer the indignity of a bad cover rendition a second time around.

One positive sight, however, was the pleasurable and delightful faces painted across the performers, especially those of the back-up band members. They seemed to have lost themselves in the works and melodies of making and playing live music, this despite the low attendance.

Martin Reyes was at his Latin best with his own roots, but by the time he hit the second cover in Bruno Mars’s “Amazing (Just The Way You Are)”, I was beginning to doubt his originality, and saw him as one to please the mainstream, if they were even listening in the first place.

The dodgy music video screenings were not much of a help either. In white singlet and on the side of a bed, he looked like an expired version of Obie Trice, Lloyd Banks and 50 Cent combined, and that’s taking the negative parts of the thug Hip-Hop genre. It was a bad marketing strategy technique to promote a Latin music artiste with the gimmicks of another more popular genre.

With the dancing among the crowd slightly the rising, it was both a minor delight and a totally disturbing sight to witness: the opening up of an otherwise uptight Asian – or Singaporean – audience was always good, but the crowd, the music and the ambience reminded me of being in a retirement home in the 1960s somehow.

I have a recommendation to make to Warner Music Singapore instead: how about signing up some upcoming independent and talented local artistes as well? We have been around long enough and our local music scene and culture can certainly help with the backing of the finances of a big record label player in the music industry.

Nearing the end of my night, I swore to myself that if I was to hear a third cover, I would leave the event immediately. And true enough, when the Latinized cover version of “Hotel California” by Eagles sneakily entered into my eardrums for the first time, I took my steps and made a departure without looking back. I hope it was not from the future of music that I was walking away, against. I hope that it was something worth fighting for.


Thanks to Evelyn Woo/Warner Music Singapore for making this review possible.



  1. Hi. I have read your review and I think it is quite unfair. Maybe you are a pop music fan and you must be local. For salsa music lovers it’s fantastic that Martin Reyes is in singapore and we would like to say a big thank you to Warner Music for supporting him and finally giving someone like Martin Reyes and opportunity to put the music we love out there!! He has a lot of fans and that night his fans came from KL, China, Thailand and all the latin embassies were there to show their support for a talented musician who has put their music through this album. His cover versions of popular songs are brilliant cos it helps people who are not salsa or bachata dancers to still be able to sing to the music. For latin music fans and salsa music lovers VIVA LA SALSA and I wish the album and Martin great success!!

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