Before Rudy Pérez became a chart-topping, world-renowned songwriter, he was a Cuban refugee and troubled teenager whose crimes landed him in a juvenile detention center in Florida. What transformed his life was returning to the faith of his childhood and keeping a promise he made to God many years ago.
As a Cuban refugee, Pérez arrived in the United States with only the clothes on his back. Now he’s one of the most iconic names in Latin music, having over 300 No. 1 hit songs, including hits with Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera, and Marc Anthony.
Once named “Producer of the Decade” by Billboard magazine, Pérez is also a co-founder of both the Latin Grammys and the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame. Now he’s sharing his life story in a memoir titled, The Latin Hitmaker: My Journey from Cuban Refugee to World-Renowned Record Producer and Songwriter. The book takes readers on a journey through Pérez’s immigrant experience, his run-ins with gangs, and his story of perseverance and success.
The following is an edited transcript of The Christian Post’s interview with Pérez about his faith, his music career, and his memoir.
CP: Can you share your personal story of coming to faith in God?
Pérez: My personal story of coming to faith in God began when I was just a little kid being walked to school with my pastor-grandfather who would tell me Bible stories and get very upset with me and my siblings if we didn’t want to go to church.
During my adolescent years, making the wrong turn in life and choosing bad decisions landed me in a juvenile detention center in Okeechobee, Florida. While there, I turned to the Lord who has since showered me with blessings and a wonderful family and successful career.
CP: What message are you hoping people take away after reading your story in The Latin Hitmaker?
Pérez: If you have a passion and someone says “No,” you’re talking to the wrong person. Never give up. Trust your passion for whatever it is that drives you. Trust in God; be humble, be grateful, and the rest is up to the effort that you put into your work.
I want people to walk away from reading the book inspired by my story and knowing they can also achieve their dreams.
CP: As a child, your family fled Cuba to escape Fidel Castro’s Communist regime following the Cuban Revolution. Will you talk a little bit about that experience?
Pérez: I believe that it was God’s great plan for me and my family to escape Cuba and come to America. I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to become successful in the greatest country in the world!
When you know the fear of coming to a new place and having nothing but the clothes on your back — you would never dream that someone like me, who was sleeping under the soundboard of a recording studio when I was starting out when I had nowhere to live — I could never have imagined that someone could actually care about my story. But great things came to me because of my faith in God.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jeannie Law