After 26 years of career, the singer Michael Stuart does not have much money but he has dozens of photos with Celia Cruz and Tito Puente. And it’s fine for him that way. The contestant on Your face sounds like me, the TelevisaUnivisión program that ends this Sunday, says that in the years in which he began his career, he used to constantly meet Celia Cruz, the Queen of salsa.
“We share a record label in New York and many times we would cross paths at the facilities. He looked at me and said to me: ‘how’s my pretty black boy?’ For me it was the most that she took me into account, that she knew about me and my career”.
With the encouragement of Celia, Michael Stuart became a salsa star towards the end of the 90s, when he won dozens of awards, among them, Revelation, of the Year, Revelation, People Choice Tropical, Most Projected Artist.
He was even recognized by the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico (where he is from) as an Example for Youth.
For years, he accumulated hits and duets with Marc Anthony, Ricky Martin, Franco de Vita, Ricardo Arjona. Every artist of the moment wanted to have a collaboration with Michael Stuart.
But towards the year 2010 something changed and Michael Stuart noticed it without being able to trace it.
“The industry stopped respecting the artist, the artist’s career ceased to be important and only the one with a song playing on the radio was given importance.”
Stuart realized that long-standing artists were asked to make sacrifices in order to be taken into account, sacrifices almost always of an economic nature.
“It was a very tough time in my life. I was determined to stay away from music because I wasn’t interested in being in that singer versus singer, manager versus manager fight.”
Almost retired, he reflected that he preferred to maintain his dignity to enter the game that is currently imposed on artists.
“Music isn’t just for breaking records and selling t-shirts. Music is made by the artist for something else, to make history. People have to decide what they want in life: do they want to have money and be a millionaire or do they want to have photos with Celia Cruz in their house? I preferred the photos with Celia and Tito Puente.
That philosophy, moreover, brought him a second chance when he was called up for the program “Your face sounds like me”, in which he found a new opportunity to do what he wants: history.
“There are people here who appreciate the artist and respect him without having to fight. This show has restored my faith in music.”