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Boy Wonder

Nombre(s) : Manuel Alejandro Ruiz
Lugar : Queens, New York
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Biografía de Boy Wonder

Quinee Butler-Manuel Alejandro "Boy Wonder" Ruiz, Executive Producer of Chosen Few El Documental, is working hard to make sure that music lovers all over the United States have a chance to really understand what reggaetón is all about. Now in his mid 20’s, the single parent, born and raised in New York, has accomplished in 6 years what can take many a lifetime to achieve. When asked where he got his name from, his response was, “I gave that name to myself. I am always wondering about my next move. My headband is like Bat Man’s utility belt. Bat Man always has a utility belt. When I go to the studio I always have my utility belt on, and for me that’s my head band, it helps me think.” He describes himself as ambitious and self-motivated, and has proven himself to be a valuable asset to the Latin music industry.

Boy Wonder grew up listening to hip-hop and used it as the platform to start his producing career. When the first opportunity presented itself, he made the tough choice to push college to the side in hopes of succeeding in the music industry. His first attempt to get his foot in the door came to a screeching halt when the artist he was working with got involved in drugs just as a major record deal was offered to them. This was a devastating blow to Ruiz because he had invested everything he owned in this one project. Discouraged by this turn of events, he briefly decided to step away from the music industry.

Finding solace in countries like the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, Boy Wonder used the time to figure out what his next move would be. “It seemed not to matter where I was reggaetón seemed to be calling me,” Boy Wonder says. Even though he feels his career may have began as a get rich quick scheme, his whole outlook changed as he began to develop a passion and appreciation for music. “At times I felt that reggaetón and the Latin music industry in general was not being valued and never seemed to get the attention and recognition it deserved. Thank God the market has changed, and now you can see that reggaetón is the biggest selling thing in the Latin market.”

Boy Wonder has found a source of inspiration through his daughter who was born just as he graduated from high school. Feeling the pressure to provide a better life for his daughter and having no one else to turn to, all he could do was believe in himself. He eventually found a way to make things work out through music. With each new project and by collaborating and producing his own music, he developed his unique skills as a producer.

Boy Wonder has been producing since 1999. He started his career working with under gorund hip-hop artists. Over the years he gradually shifted his attention to reggaetón, producing the Shikira reggaetón remix, Mi Vida. “In my opinion this is the biggest underground reggaetón remix ever. It was quickly picked up by a major [record label] and seemed to be played in every club and on every radio station.” Now any remix he produces is highly regarded as a “Chosen Few” remix. Putting his first failed attempt at producing behind him, he executive produced an album called NYC Sex in 2002. Pocos Elegidos soon followed in 2003. Boy Wonder jumped at opportunities to work with reggaetón artists like Zion & Lennox, old school artists and any up and coming new artists who had promising talent. Finally, in 2004 he produced Chosen Few, which is the biggest reggaetón collaboration in history today with CD /DVD combination.

Chosen Few

In 2000, Boy Wonder produced a TV show called Underground Video. This show allowed him to develop working relationships with many reggaetón artists, like Hector & Tito and Wisin & Yandel. When it came to producing Chosen Few, he had no problem getting cooperation from producers and artists in the reggaetón industry.

One major obstacle Boy Wonder came across during the project was finding a way to interview TEMPO who was in Federal Prison at the time Chosen Few was made. He felt that Chosen Few would not be complete without including TEMPO in the Documentary. For Boy Wonder, TEMPO was one of his main sources for inspiration. He feels that TEMPO’s lyrical ability really shined through when he freestyled in the middle of the interview.

Finding ways to work around the hectic schedules of so many artists in so many different locations was a challenge but not impossible to overcome. However, there were some disappointments. One of the main artists Boy Wonder really wanted to be a part of the DVD was Ivy Queen. He felt that her presence and input were missing from the documentary. On the CD side of the project, Daddy Yankee was the artist that Boy Wonder would have like to have added to the soundtrack.

Every one behind the project wanted to do as much as possible to make this project unique. “We tried to make the Chosen Few project as exclusive as possible, from the baby pictures on the cover to the price of the CD/DVD set its self. Every single step was planned. I really wanted to produce something for the public that could last for generations of reggaetón fans to come. I hope that I have made something that convinces people that reggaetón is something bigger than people think it is."

“Chosen Few did far better than we could have ever predicted. It was not expected to do as well as it did on billboard or stay on the charts as long as it has. Oye Mi Canto and Gasolina’s impact on the US is a beautiful thing, and has really opened the doors for many artists,” Ruiz adds. With reggaetón making its mark on the U.S., the demand for more information on reggaetón has grown. The Chosen Few production seemed to have been the right project at the right time. “I simply was focused on completing the project, and making sure I did a good job. When I was making Chosen Few the expectations were far from my mind.”

Chosen Few took a total of 7 months to complete. The documentary and songs were created in places like Panama, Puerto Rico, New York, Miami, Orlando and L.A. at the same time. When asked about the highlights of creating Chosen Few, Boy Wonder simply stated, "The whole production was a highlight. It was a wonderful and unique experience. I learned so much during every stage of the project."

Reggaetón and Boy Wonder’s Future Projects

One of the growing concerns of many music enthusiasts is the derogatory lyrics presented in Hip-hop and Rap music. Boy Wonder feels that reggaeton artists are now moving away underground style lyrics. Now, reggaeton lyrics are not as sexual or vulgar as it was before. Radio cannot play some things so there is a need to clean up some of the lyrics to reach larger audiences. Better yet, more creative artists like Daddy Yankee and Don Omar have come along and are able to think outside the box. They now have the opportunity to be heard by a larger audience and they can use this as a way to express their ideas and feelings other than through excessive use of vulgar language.

Of course, all reggaetón fans want to know what they should expect from Boy Wonder in the future. He is now working on a remix of LDA’s Hoy, as well as their first solo album. He also mentioned a future album which is an NBA style draft pick style line up of all new artists coming out in reggaetón. However, all reggaetón fans are waiting for Chosen Few II. Fans of the first release can be sure that the second documentary is already in the works, according to Boy Wonder.

Special thanks to Boy Wonder, for his patience and his willingness to work with – La Princesa

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