NEW YORK — According to Alicia Keys’ hit single Empire State of Mind “In New York, concrete jungles where dreams are made of, there’s nothing you can’t do. These streets will make you feel brand new, the lights will inspire you”. I have heard of this song multiple times and it feels so surreal thinking about it. Many of us dream to make it big in New York (in the global entertainment industry in general), but, it is not as easy as you think. I have come across so many people who have been trying to get to the top, but, I am particularly impressed with how Latin Jazz flute player, Carlos Jimenez’s success story played out. I am honored to have been given a chance to interview a seasoned artist like Jimenez.
Jimenez was born in Yonkers, and his parents are originally from Puerto Rico. The family lived in Puerto Rico for awhile where Jimenez continued his musical training at Fransisco Zayas Santana High School. After several years, Jimenez moved back to New York to continue his studies at the Music Conservatory of Westchester in White Plains.
At a very young age, Jimenez’s passion for music was honed by his father. Jimenez quoted “My father inspired me and introduced me to the music of Tito Puente, Ray Barretto and Bobby Capo. Making music keeps me healthy. I love music and I want to make my father happy and proud”. After hearing this, I personally think that Jimenez’s father is overjoyed with all the success Jimenez is experiencing now. He added “I never thought that I would get this far in my career, and I know, deep in my heart, I will never quit”. Clearly, the key to Jimenez’s success is the fact that he refuses to give up his dreams. As the saying goes “If you want to make it in America, dream big or go home”.
Jimenez mentioned that ever since he was little, he has had a strong inclination towards Latin Jazz, Salsa and Asian music (to name a few). With these key foundations in his music, he managed to work his way up and collaborate with other artists in the same genre which includes Hilton Ruiz, Stephan Rongetz, Sonny Bravo and Edy Martinez. With all his efforts, he now operates an independent record label — CJMartinete Music Co., and he is currently the lead in a Latin Jazz band called Carlos Jimenez Mambo Dulcet. The band performs all over the five boroughs and Westchester area which includes Havana Central in Midtown West every Monday.
New York is indeed a jungle, but, Jimenez managed to survive and build his own empire. With his passion towards music, and guidance from his father, Jimenez thrived the jungle and flourished in every challenge New York has to offer. He quoted “Music will never let you down. Don’t give up on your beautiful music, because one day you will make so many people smile including yourself”.