Rigo Luna

Mexican-American recording artist Rigo Luna grew up in Compton, CA, the infamous ghetto area of Los Angeles County that gave us well known gangsta rappers such as N.W.A, Ice Cube, DJ Quik, Dr. Dre, Compton's Most Wanted and the late Eric "Eazy-E" Wright (Snoop Dogg is from neighboring Long Beach just south of Compton). But even though Rigo Luna has been influenced by hip-hop rhythmically, he has never been a gangsta rapper. Luna is a singer, and one of his strong points has been his ability to perform R&B convincingly in Spanish; the bilingual Luna has not performed in Spanish exclusively, but he has performed in Spanish extensively and has attracted attention in the Latin pop market as well as in the urban contemporary market. Luna's R&B influences have included, among others, Bobby Brown, Michael Jackson, Prince, R. Kelly and Babyface. After performing as a solo artist at musical functions during his junior high/middle school and high school years, Luna continued to sing as a young adult. In 1994, Luna joined the Latin-flavored urban contemporary/teen pop vocal group Nu Flavor, whose other members at the time were Frank Pangelinan, Jacob Ceniceros and Anthony DaCosta. Nu Flavor, which has performed in both English and Spanish, recorded a demo that included a cover of Journey's "Open Arms"; that demo found its way to Reprise Records exec Howie Klein, who signed Nu Flavor after they gave an a cappella performance in his office. In 1997, Reprise released Nu Flavor's self-titled debut album, which contained the hits "Heaven" and "Sweet Sexy Thing" (not to be confused with the Ohio Players' 1975 hit). Reprise put out Nu Flavor's second album, It's On, in 1999, and the album's singles included "Sprung," "Beautiful Girl" and "3 Little Words." It's On turned out to be Luna's final album with the group; in 2000, he left Nu Flavor and went back to performing as a solo artist. Luna was without a record deal for several years, but in 2006, he was signed by Universal Music's Latin-oriented label Machete Music--which released Luna's self-titled debut solo album that year and chose the Spanish-language slow jam "Nunca" ("Never") as the album's lead single. ~ Alex Henderson

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