At the age of 15, from his home in Vitoria, Spain, guitarist and singer Leroy Sanchez began uploading videos to his YouTube channel in 2007. Since then, his cover of Beyoncé’s “Love On Top” has earned more than seven million views. Such figures are hard to ignore. Certainly they attracted the interest of Jim Jonsin, a Miami-based Grammy-winning producer and head of label Rebel Rock.
“In February 2010 I got an email from Jim [Jonsin] asking if I wanted to come to his studio in Miami for a week,” Sanchez recalls. “At first I didn’t think it was real. I was from a small town in Spain and couldn’t imagine that this guy in Miami would want to work with me. But then we talked on Skype, and I got to see the real Jim. Then I knew he was legit.
“My dad came with me––it was my first time in America––and it went well,” the singer continues. “I spent the following summer there and I ended up signing with him around the beginning of 2011.”
“I was from a small town in Spain and couldn’t imagine this guy in Miami wanted to work with me.”
The teenager’s entré to America was a baptism by pop and hip-hop fire. “Coming to Miami was wild,” he explains. “I got picked up in a limo, went straight to the studio and the first person I met was Shakira. Then I was introduced to Pitbull and Kelly Rowland. It was crazy. There wasn’t even time for culture shock because there was too much going on.”
Sanchez’s single “By My Side” dropped on Jan. 27. Currently he’s on the American “Wild Card” tour with Kate Voegele through the end of February. He’s now based in Los Angeles, and his five-song EP is slated for a spring release. Additional singles and touring will follow as the young artist builds momentum towards a full album release. He also plans to work with other producers, including Danja (Britney Spears, Diddy) and Julio Reyes (Alejandro Sanz, Jennifer Lopez).
Jonsin founded Rebel Rock in 2006. He has been instrumental in the careers of Lil Wayne, T.I. and Usher, among others. Hip-hop artist and producer B.o.B is also signed to the label.
– Rob Putnam