Music | Ricky Martin

Showboy: An Interview With Angelo Garcia

AngeloGarciaBlackJacket_Print
When Ricky Martin recently came out, many jaded observers reacted with yawns and sarcasm. After all, hadn't his sexuality been an open secret? Perhaps, but he is one of the biggest international stars—the biggest?—to formally come out. The connection he has with so many fans who have followed his story from the time he was a kid in the group Menudo is deep; it's extra tricky for a heartthrob like Martin to come out because so many of his fans were girls who had crushes on him during their formative years, and acknowledging he's been gay all along runs the risk of alienating them. So far, so good for the most part for Martin.

But Martin was not the only gay member of Menudo, nor was he even the first to come out. His bandmate Angelo Garcia acknowledged he is gay two months earlier, even before a subsequent TV Notas interview that received much more attention. And while he's not the household name that Martin is, Garcia was once a beloved heartthrob in his own right as the youngest member ever asked to join Menudo—word that he's gay was huge news in Latin America.

  PreviewScreenSnapz001

Through the years 

I asked the newsmaker for an interview and found him to be more than forthcoming about his unique career path (he once stripped at New York's infamous Gaiety but is now working on a new album), his devotion to bodybuilding, what his sexuality means to him and whether or not he's hoping to reconnect with Ricky Martin in the future.

Towleroad: What were the most positive and negative aspects of being asked to join Menudo, and how did it compare to going solo, as you eventually did?

Angelo Garcia: The positive aspect of being in a boy band is that you have the support of other members and you do not feel alone when you are on stage. I was able to learn how to be a popstar thanks to Menudo.

The negative aspects are I lost a HUGE chunk of my childhood and had to become an adult by the time I was 11 years old. That was a lot of responsibility and for someone that young—it sometimes was overwhelming.

My solo work in the early stages of my career was frustrating because I felt I was a puppet and that my suggestions and opinions were not heard. What I wanted to accomplish in my solo career didn't seem to matter to anybody but me. When you are in Menudo, you must go with the flow because the group already had a concept and you are just part of that. But as a solo artist, I wanted to be me and show another side of myself. In the early stages, that was a constant battle. I am happy to say I am in complete control of my music and image now, so there is no longer a battle. I write all of my songs, do all my vocal arrangements and do all my background vocals. What you hear is all ME, and my music now comes from my heart and truly represents my personality and who I am as an artist.

SafariScreenSnapz001z T: Do you think the kids in Menudo were taken advantage of or granted opportunities, and how would you advise parents wanting to get their kids into performing?

AG: I was certainly exploited. I was granted many opportunities, but when you enter a music machine like Menudo, I guess it comes with the territory. I would advise parents to allow their children the opportunity to grow and enjoy their childhood. If they have the talent once they are mature enough to understand the responsibilities and commitments of being a public figure, then they can make the choice for themselves if they want to pursue music. I was never home and I did not have my family around a lot and as a child you need that.

T: What did you think of the versions of Menudo that came after you, like MDO and that very recent version from last year?

AG: I think Menudo was the original and MDO was a clone of what Menudo once was. Nothing usually beats an original. The new Menudo, though, didn't really get the opportunity to blossom, so I can't really comment. I'm not sure what went wrong with that group, but what I can say is that all the guys who were in it are very talented.

T: Being in the public eye as a teen heartthrob, was it exciting or a lot of pressure to have millions of girls fixated on you?

AG: It was definitely a roller coaster ride. I had a love/hate relationship with fame at that age because I loved the attention, but the problem with fame is you can't turn it off when you want your private time. As a child star, it was frustrating because I couldn't go to the movies or the mall or even to Disney World without being mobbed. I am a lot more prepared now and with the maturity to understand how to deal with fame, so if it ever happens again I will be ready.

AngeloGarciaRed_PrintT: Did you realize you were gay at that point, or did that come later?

AG: I always knew I was different, but I didn't realize I was gay until I hit puberty and started to understand what sexuality was and how I was sexually attracted to men. I remember my first kiss with a girl and it was great, but the first time I kissed a guy I felt fireworks. I knew for sure then. :-)

T: When did you come out in your personal life, and how did it go?

AG: I never came out to the world. I do not owe the world any explanations for what I do in the privacy of my bedroom. When I was comfortable enough in my own skin and finally accepted myself for being a gay man, it was a natural thing for me and I just was who I was. I would have my boyfriends and hold hands with my boyfriend, etc., and if anybody had a problem with it then they didn't need to keep me in their life. The people that love me are still here and they can care less if I choose a man or a woman to love.

I did feel I owed it to my mother to have the sit-down conversation and at first she was not happy. I know she was concerned with how society would scrutinize me for being a homosexual. I am happy to say she is an amazing mother who loves me and accepts me for who I am and she loves my boyfriend.

T: When you formally came out professionally in the media (before your old bandmate Ricky Martin did), did you experience any backlash, or was it a positive experience?

AG: At first the media and people were indifferent because I am not a huge star, so me talking about my sexuality went unnoticed. I want to make it clear I never "came out"—I did not feel I needed to as I don't feel it is something that is anybody's business, but I did casually talk about it in an interview. My sexuality became of interest once my former bandmate Ricky Martin came out because then it became newsworthy not only that Ricky Martin is gay but also his ex-bandmate, so now there are now two openly gay Menudo guys.

I did suffer a backlash as the press twisted my story into a coming-out story. Most of the headlines were, "Another member of Menudo follows in Ricky Martin's footsteps and comes OUT!" I was not happy with this twist; some of the public had their comments that I wanted to try and ride Ricky's coattails when the reality is I had discussed my sexuality before he ever came out. I never looked for the press, the press came to me.

So let me make it very clear: I am my own person and I write all my own songs, regardless of what people think I know the truth and I know my talent will carry me through any drama or ignorant comments some people have because they were misinformed. All in all, it was a positive experience and I am proud of who I am and thank all the positive supporters I received in response to some people's responses. We are all EQUAL, and me being gay is not a flaw. My homosexuality comes to me as natural as a hetrosexual person feels their heterosexuality, and people need to understand that and not judge something they do not understand. Until you walk in someone's shoes, you should consider what you are really saying. Is it about what you are discussing, or just a reflection of yourself?

T: If a closeted public figure (singer, actor, whoever) came to you privately and asked for coming-out advice, what would you tell him or her?

AG: It is a very personal choice, and you do not owe it to anybody to come out. It is your private life and it is nobody's business but yours. If you feel it necessary to come out, then you should do it when you are ready. It is an emotional and personal choice for anybody in that situation and they should feel it is the right time for them. Be proud of who you are and know you are not flawed. The people who truly love you wont care.

Darrin McGillis and Menudo backstage tour PhotoT: Would you like to reconnect with Ricky Martin?

AG: At this point, I am indifferent. He has not been there for me in a very long time and at this point I wouldn't even consider him an acquaintance. Time has passed and his life took him in a different direction. I will always be connected to him because of the HUGE experience we shared. I recorded three albums with Menudo, two of which were with him, so we have that bond—but that's as far as it goes.

T: When did you become serious about bodybuilding and what attracts you to it?

AG: I have always liked the muscular look. When I first started to work out, I did it for vanity reasons. But then I fell in love with the lifestyle and how it made me feel. I have worked hard to maintain my body and I feel healthy because of my choice. I have been training for 15 years and that is why my body looks the way it looks regardless of what a lot of people want to believe. My body is a product of a healthy lifestyle, a strict diet and discipline. I have maintained a lifestyle choice and that is why I look the way I do!

AngeloGarciaSymbol_PrintT: You were famous first as a kid, so now that you're grown up (on top of your muscles), you're probably able to avoid being recognized even by some of the people who were big fans as kids. Have you encountered anyone who didn't know who you were at first then were shocked to realize you were someone they knew well back in the day?

AG: LOL. All the time! People are shocked at how much I have changed, but if you really look at my face I am the same person. I'm just a grown-up now, but I'm still very much in touch with my inner child and I feel that is one of the secrets to staying young—keeping that inner child alive. :-)

T: Do you have particular fans you know who've stuck with you from your teen career through now?

AG: There are some diehard "Menudas". I am lucky I already have a loyal fanbase, so it is just building it from there. I have people that have been loyal to me since I was 11, and for that I am truly blessed.

T: How would you describe your music now?

AG: Fun, sexy, catchy electro-pop. If I had to compare it to anybody I would say a male, tough version of Lady GaGa.

T: What's next for you regarding singing, songwriting, music videos?

AG: I am currently shopping my new album to all the major record labels and I am very proud of this new body of work. It is fun, edgy, catchy and very personal. I can't wait for everybody to listen to these new tracks. I feel it is my best songwriting and work. I can't wait to take these songs from demo tracks to radio-ready songs that can be played over the air or remixed by DJs for club play.

I am still recording the album, but you can go to my Web site to keep track of what is going on with my career. I promise there will be many surprises for everybody. I am an out and proud artist. I feel we need more out artists to represent the gay community and show the world we are not that different form anybody else and proud to be who we are.

T: Are your songs usually from personal experiences or where do you get inspiration?

AG: I take my life experiences and twist them into to songs. My songs can be about life or they can be about stories friends shared with me or even reflections of what is going on with the world. My songwriting derives from a very organic place. I may not write a song for six months and write 12 in a week.

T: Which of your new songs is your favorite and why?



6a00d8341c2ca253ef0133f047bfae970bAG: I have only recorded three demo tracks so far, and of those thre I love "The Morning After". If you listen to the lyrics, it is a VIP backseat to the way I feel with my boyfriend—in love. I wrote that song for him and at first glace you would think it is a song that talks about meeting a person at a night club and having a one-night stand. It is actually about how I met him at a health club and how we feel asleep in each other's arms the entire night until the morning after. I knew I wanted him to stay in my life and my music reflects that! 

ScandalousAlbum_WebT: Why did you choose Scandalous as your album title?

AG: I can be scandalous when I want to and have always had the courage to be me regardless of what people think. With me, you either love me or hate me and there seems to be no gray area. I feel a lot of people do not understand me and a lot of people judge me by what they think they see. I have been accused of being a meathead and a himbo, but have surprised many. When they meet me, they realize I have a brain and I am just a humble and genuine guy. 

T: You seem to enjoy flirting with perceptions of what's "scandalous"—you must have stories about stripping at The Gaiety...?

AG: I was pretty brave to have danced there, and yes I was nude and suggestive and I know what some of the boys there were doing. I was paid a lot of money to dance nude and I am comfortable with my body so it was easy, but that is as far as that went regardless of what people want to think. I was always the featured dancer and it was because unlike many boys who were selling their bodies, I was selling an amazing show. I am a showboy and I know how to entertain people. It is in my blood. Clothed or not, you will be taken on a ride.

T: How different is the feeling of stepping out on the stage to perform musically and the feeling when you stepped out to perform as an exotic dancer?

AG: A show is a show. The difference is that performing musically I get to use my voice to tell a story and take you on a journey, and as a dancer I used my body to tell a story and take you on a journey. The concepts are similar but the execution is totally different.

T: Similarly, why did you decide to pose nude for Paragon Men (NSFW link) and what was that like?

AG: I did semi-nudes—no frontal nudity—and I only agreed to do it because I am comfortable with my body and they wanted to do something that was artistic and beautiful. I love my Paragon Men pics and I am very proud of them. It was fun to do that shoot and it was very freeing to do those poses because it's pretty much just you. There is nothing to hide behind, and that can be a very vulnerable place to be in but also very freeing to be that comfortable in your skin.

T: You seem to be harnessing all the buzz about coming out and redirecting things toward your work. What are your ultimate goals musically?

AG: You got that right! The gay issue is a non-issue. I am proud to be a gay man and want to represent my community in a positive light. People in our community need to feel comfortable in their own skin. You are who you are. The music is all that matters and I am not looking for fame. I just want to be able to be established enough where I can continue to write and create music until my journey on this planet is over. I feel really lucky I have been given the opportunities I have had and that I can express myself through my songwriting. As long as I can continue to do that and share that with the world, my friends and fans, I will be eternally grateful and blessed. What else can I ask for if I am doing what I love? That is the most satisfying feeling anybody could ever have—to be doing something you love—especially when that is your job that pays the bills. I truly feel blessed and I am so excited about what else life has in store for me. My life has not always been easy, but It has certainly been an exciting life to live. I wouldn't change a thing. :-)

Feed This post's comment feed

Comments

  1. "I do not owe the world any explanations for what I do in the privacy of my bedroom."

    "It is a very personal choice, and you do not owe it to anybody to come out. It is your private life and it is nobody's business but yours."

    Oh Angelo, Matthew wasn't asking you if you like to eat ass. That's private (for some). Being gay is simply... being... gay. No heterosexual defends his/her sexual orientation by proclaiming its "private" and "nobody's business". Why should you? Be proud of who you are and openly advocate for others to leave that deadly closet behind. Don't take a page from the Republican Guide for the Destruction of Homosexuals by confusing what you are with sex acts.

    p.s. Nice tits!

    Posted by: JohnInManhattan | Jul 7, 2010 4:13:53 PM


  2. Boring

    Posted by: Shawn | Jul 7, 2010 5:48:37 PM


  3. If there is a post about a successful and/or attractive gay person you can bet jealous gay people will come out of the wood work to write negative comments. Glad to hear he's happy. He has a great body.

    Posted by: Bill | Jul 7, 2010 5:50:19 PM


  4. I think Angelo is interesting and I see no reason why "The Morning After" couldn't be a club hit. His song sounds authentic to his (gay)experience which gay people should support. I'm sure most of you supported Ricky Martin's She Bangs. lol Nice tits indeed.

    Posted by: Castro | Jul 7, 2010 6:24:03 PM


  5. Yeah, "interesting". too much muscle; it's gross...anyone disagree? What are you going to do about it? Now a question that should be asked of all male celebrities but was lamentably missing from this interview is, "how large is your penis fully ERECT?" You hafta enunciate the "erect" part...makes it classy. if they decline or dodge the question with, "I don't know," provide a ruler and direct them toward a bathroom. If they still evade the determination, make something up, but be sure to get them to sign a disclaimer before the interview or verbally consent to it...in front of witnesses...to avoid any lawsuit.

    Posted by: TANK | Jul 7, 2010 7:26:34 PM


  6. Jonathan and all the haters...you have no appreciation for gay history and culture. This is a very important, extremely entertaining interview that appeals to literally tens of people in our community. What's will all the hate? Rilly now, simmah.

    I've heard that next, andy is going to interview a gay colonel sanders impersonator, and the common misconceptions about looking like colonel sanders and being gay.

    Posted by: TANK | Jul 7, 2010 7:44:09 PM


  7. @JOHNINMANHATTAN That is easy to say that everyone should just be as open as straight people but when you are working in an environment that clearly is not as accepting to gays then coming out becomes more than a "I feel" or "I am" statement. Instead it becomes how will this affect my livelihood. Clearly as you can see from the negative gay fags posting here that you cannot assume that being out means the support of other gays. What you said is easy to say but in reality it is more complex than you are recognizing.

    @RICHARD S - He was very clear on this matter but clearly some people like to hear themselves talk more than listen. You can still be beautiful and ignorant so maybe you still have some hope left in life.

    @JONATHAN You look like a bitter queen to me who sounds like he isn't over someone. Tell your lies to people who are stupid enough to believe you. All you are doing with your words is telling us who you really are. Glad I'm not you!

    Posted by: John | Jul 7, 2010 7:59:43 PM


  8. @johninmanhattan it seems like you do not have reading and comprehension because he clearly states he is an out and proud man, He is saying it is a non issue and coming out is not a necessary thing just be who you are! You can disect any part of anybody's interview and jump to conclusions but you are not correct in what you are saying and if you think you are you should read the interview again because you are clearly judging a part of what he said without looking at the entire paragraph.
    Sounds like there is a lot of jealousy here from some of the comments and @ Jonathan and Chucky you guys sound like the NUTJOBS to me. Angelo sounds like a very intelligent guy and proud to be gay so us as a community should embrace and gay man that is trying to do good things and he clearly is.He is talented and i love his new song it is so fun.

    Posted by: Bob | Jul 7, 2010 11:46:06 PM


  9. What's with all the hating? Doesn't enough of that already come with the 'gay territory'? (Isn't the "They Eat Their Own Young" so "Boys In The Band" by now? yuck.) The guy started as a kid, and has made an amazing journey, must have dealt with a lot of machismo bullshit. Give him a break. I remember him from years ago (admitted Menudo fan). Very fan-pleaser interview—such a glimpse into the ‘mysterious’ boy band machine--and I'd be surprised if some of the hater feedback wasn't deleted; it's libelous and cases have been decided against people for libeling others "anonymously" online. And one of the many aspects of his frank, fascinating in-depth interview sharing openly about who he is today means I will definitely be looking for his new album, if you hear more on that could you post it? I would gladly place pre-order.

    Posted by: Frank C | Jul 8, 2010 1:02:14 AM


  10. *gulp* I'd be intimidated by so much muscle in a guy, but God love 'em.

    http://www.paragonmen.com/paragon-penthouse/public-gallery/362-angelo-garcia.html?showall=1

    Posted by: KFLO | Jul 8, 2010 7:48:52 AM


  11. man you guys are rude

    he does an interview with a blog most of us read regularly & all anyone can do is talk shit

    grrr

    anyway, sounds like a nice guy

    Posted by: neverstops | Jul 8, 2010 9:09:34 AM


  12. He seems sweet sincere and hot. anonymity really brings out the ugliest behaviors. on the sex front, more basket than many body builders suggests he's telling the truth abou hard work vs. injection steroids.

    Posted by: Terry | Jul 8, 2010 11:22:55 AM


  13. He's got a really slammin' body (literally and figuratively) and says all the right things.

    All that aside, some of you are such assholes. Everytime some gay person of fame says what they think/feel, you nitpick at their comments and opinions until there's no article left to read. Just turn off your computers if you can't handle this shit like an grown adult.

    Posted by: Drew | Jul 8, 2010 4:51:18 PM


  14. I have met this guy as well. He has muscles but he is "Super Gay". His voice does not match the bod. Just my opinion, no axe to grind. But he does seem like a whack job

    Posted by: Tim | Jul 8, 2010 7:58:41 PM


  15. Very young Ricky Martin carries Angelo piggyback style :)

    http://i27.tinypic.com/11jlnqg.jpg

    Posted by: Matt | Jul 8, 2010 8:04:06 PM


  16. I like Angelo and he has a very well-trained voice, but he uses a huge excess of riffs and filigree in his singing which makes it... well, ridiculous. He could be a GREAT singer if someone would help him to simplify his vocals so the listener would feel the music. Right now it's just a silly non-stop show-off session which becomes tiresome within seconds.

    Posted by: hephaestion | Jul 8, 2010 8:40:55 PM


  17. He's a PROSTITUTE!!!!

    Posted by: Liz | Oct 8, 2012 9:10:25 AM


Post a comment







Trending


« «News: Lady GaGa Hard On The Eyes, DOJ vs. AZ, Angle's No Angel, Sorry Levi« «