Who is Cruz Rock? Reggae singer will represent US Virgin Islands on 'American Song Contest'
'American Song Contest' follows the format of Eurovision. Atlantic Records and NBC have created an eight-week competition that is being hosted by Snoop Dogg and Kelly Clarkson. The eight-week journey will be having a series of qualifier rounds, a semifinal round and the Grand Final airing on May 9. The show will bring together 56 artists representing each US state and territory in the competition, allowing undiscovered talent and rising stars to rub shoulders and compete with established icons like Michael Bolton, Macy Gray, Jewel and Sisquo.
There are no categories for the participants in the competition, as a solo artist, duo, group, or band will represent each location with live and original music performances. In the NBC show, US Virgin Islands will be represented by Cruz Rock. Cruz will be competing with other contestants to grab the title for the Best Hit Songs along with the massive grand prize. So, if you are curious to know about Cruz Rock, we've got you covered.
Who is Cruz Rock?
Although Cruz represents the Virgin Islands, the Latin Caribbean singer, songwriter, and producer has been gaining name and fame for himself globally. He is sometimes referred to as King Iyatola. He was exposed to music at a young age thanks to his father and sister performing regularly on the Virgin Islands while his mother encouraged him with gospel songs. His father also taught him the piano which helped him in becoming a producer as well as a singer, songwriter. But it was Cruz’s brother’s unconditional love for reggae that caused Cruz to start his musical journey. Cruz even received a scholarship to attend one of the best Art Colleges in America, CCAD. There is where he started stage performances. He became a star in the state of Ohio eventually graduating and branching out to several other states like Florida, New York and California.
While away to college in Columbus, Ohio, Cruz, then known as “Cruz Bwoy” began performing with local groups and in 2002, he recorded his first track and his first performance was in 2003. He caught the attention of T-Rock Sounds which quickly renamed the artist, Cruz Rock. After that, Cruz went on to perform in over 100 shows for over 3,000 fans at a time during his college days. He released his first album titled 'Temperature Rise' in the year 2009. Cruz's title song for the album featuring Jahnesta successfully made it on the Top 100 Singles in the Digicel Charts and on popular Caribbean media personality Nikki Z's syndicated radio program World Caribbean Countdown. He has also featured on tracks with Grammy-winning artists like Beenie Man of Jamaica and Zion y Lennox of Puerto Rico. In 2022, he collaborated with VH1’s 'Love and Hip Hop' superstar Amara La Negra, which led him to the 'American Song Contest'.
While talking about his appearance on 'American Song Contest', he said," When I got the call, I was skeptical because I'm not into reality shows, but they kept asking. They really wanted to elaborate on one of the songs that I had done." He added, "They're really nice people, and they made me feel comfortable. They explained that my artistry wouldn't be compromised, and I would be able to make my own song and have control. At the same, I was willing to listen to people who have made multi-platinum tracks. I opened my ears to them."
Cruz was at No.1 in the L3 Magazine chart in Canada with the song 'People Ah Cry' and was named their No.1 breakout new artist. His second album, titled 'Soul Rebel', managed to win the Best Reggae Album in the Indie Music Awards, and in 2018, he was also nominated for Best new artist at the Luna Music Awards. Judging by his singing career, it sure would make him an interesting watch on the 'American Song Contest' platform.
Watch Cruz Rock’s qualifier round on the 'American Song Contest' airs on Monday, NBC at 8 pm ET.