Initially, the 32-year-old artist was part of the Gino Y Royce duo, where he started writing his own songs to the sound of reggaeton but he quickly transitioned into a solo artist as he released his first album, which cost Royce — who was in college and working at a cell phone store — $8,000 to make. “I did not know I was making something special but it felt special.”

After meeting with Sergio George, who then signed Royce to Top Stop Music (Royce is no longer signed to that label), he recorded “Corazón Sin Cara” and “it flopped,” says Royce. So they decided on recording Ben E. King‘s “Stand By Me” as a cover with additional Spanish lyrics and as a bachata. “I’m like ‘yo, I think this is wack’ not because I thought the song was wack but because I thought that doing a cover of some song that is random to be in bachata … but I just rode the wave,” he adds.

The bilingual track, released in 2010, peaked at No. 8 on Billboard‘s Hot Latin Songs chart (dated May 7, 2010).

Watch Prince Royce’s “Growing Up Dominican (In the Bronx)” episode above.

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