In the year since Richie Luna unveiled the music video teaser for his electronic dance track titled ‘Celebrate’, it racked up 5 million views on YouTube. ”Within the first month we had over 200,000 views,” recalls Luna. “I expected it to go viral to alert people in the industry [and] get eyes open and to believe in the project.” ‘Celebrate’ has the ingredients to be that feel-good anthem heard during ESPN sports coverage, Hollywood award ceremonies and high school proms. Getting the video, which dropped in June 2014, on the radar of bloggers and music reporters to expose the project’s potential took more sweat, dollars and prayers than Luna envisioned.
The persona Richie Luna was “born out of a dark moment in my life,” he explains. “I was searching for a greater meaning; there was a calling inside me that I couldn’t ignore anymore. I decided I would make a change to move out of this state of negativity. And that’s when I created the character Richie Luna. He’s a superhero. There’s a superhero inside each of us. I tapped into my superhero to get out of that situation to find my purpose.”
Originally from Port of Spain, Luna chose to venture outside of the family business of commercial real estate. His late uncle Ramon Sabga was influential to his decision. “He was a natural tenor operatic singer, he heard me perform karaoke at a family function and was impressed,” says Luna. “My brothers have awesome operatic voices, but nobody expected me to become the musician.” His tenure in the boy’s choir at St. Mary’s College provided useful conditioning, but his family gets credit for helping Luna stay inspired.
Martin ‘Mice’ Raymond, assistant professor of Audio Recording and Music Production at University of Trinidad and Tobago, coordinated a remix of ‘Celebrate’ with UTT students Andy Himself and Charles Wrecker. Raymond says “great music can come from anywhere at anytime. Sweden is the third largest exporter of pop music worldwide—9 million people and they don’t speak fluent English or export ethnic Swedish music!”
The second sign that Luna is nearing that spotlight moment came in an email that announced: MTV, VH1 and 21 cable TV and in-store video providers will broadcast an abridged version of his music video via websites and flat screens in New York Sports Clubs and Gold’s Gyms in 40 U.S. markets, and 100 retail outlets in NYC. Luna plans to stay on his A-game should either of his idols, Pharrell, Will.i.am or Kanye, call to collaborate.