At an ever increasing rate, Dominican natives, and first generation Dominican Americans are making their presence known in the American music industry at every level. Whether we’re listening to new works from rising superstars like El Alfa, or seeing new faces sitting in executive seats, it is safe to say that this cultural reset will have one of the biggest impacts of all time.
Most recently, I came across the story of three young millennials who have made it their mission to bridge the gap between music on the island, and music here in the USA. Meet Mishu Music chief executive Carlos Aybar who took it upon himself to launch Radio Bizarro, a two-hour music show on 88.5 FM, broadcasted in Monday-Friday from Santo Domingo. The segment is hosted by actor and producer Christian Alvarez and advertising professional Gaby San Miguel, and features a mix of talk, commentary and guest interviews, mostly in Spanish.
“Our music programing mix is about 50 percent Anglo and 50 percent Spanish,” explains Aybar in an interview with Billboard. Mishu also produces the House of Creatives festival in Miami and the Dominican Republic’s Buena Onda rooftop concert series. Besides keeping its brand in front of the island nation’s 10 million residents, the station is constantly encouraging its listeners to send in song requests, helping the promoter track what music is resonating in the country, where the median age is 28.
“A lot of our listeners discover music through Spotify or Apple and want to share it with our audience. It’s a real badge of honor for them,” explains Aybar.
The groups latest endeavor was the Isle of Light Music Festival, which was unfortunately canceled last March in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The festival was set to feature a star studded roster which hosted a healthy balance of English-speaking and Spanish-speaking artists. With headlining artist Gwen Stefani and features from Nick Murphy, C. Tangana, The Rapture, Clubz, DJ Tennis and more, I am truly excited to see what they have to offer in the future. As a first generation Dominican-American myself, I have never experienced an event such as this one in our native home, and am so pleased to learn that our little island is integrating itself in our US industry.
“We’re seeing momentum and our followers are becoming ambassadors for what we’re doing by spreading the word and talking about it on social media,” said Mark Simek, who heads up marketing at Mishu Music. “We’ve been doing a lot of interactive kind of elements to keep our followers involved including taking submissions through our website for song requests. We just want our listeners to feel engaged and start taking a role in the development of the station and know, we’re doing this for them.”
To learn more about Mishu Music, and the millennials who are spear heading this project, visit their social media below!
You can also check out the recap for 2018’s Isle of Light Music Festival while we wait for (hopefully) 2022’s line-up!