Thursday, July 13, 2017
By GUY D’ASTOLFO
When the first-ever Global Ambassador Award was bestowed on Pitbull last month at the Songwriters Hall of Fame induction ceremony, it cemented the Latino hip-hop star’s status.
The award, which is given only when merited, honors artists whose music has worldwide appeal and crosses the boundaries of genres, cultures and nations.
Given his moniker of Mr. Worldwide, it’s no surprise that Pitbull was the first to snare it.
“Pitbull’s success, creativity, tireless musical collaboration and his wide-ranging social activism make him the ideal songwriter-performer to initiate the Global Ambassador Award,” said SHOF co-chairmen Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff and President Linda Moran in a statement.
On Saturday, the Miami-born superstar will travel to a corner of the world he has never been to before – Youngstown’s Covelli Centre – for the second annual Concert for the Valley.
Pitbull, whose real name is Armando Christian Perez, has coupled his tireless work ethic with the synergy from some big-time collaborators to become a global icon. He has had 43 Billboard Hot 100 hits, including two No. 1s – “Give Me Everything” (feat. Ne-Yo, Afrojack and Nayer) and “Timber” (feat. Kesha) – plus two top 10 albums with “Rebelution” (No. 8 in 2009) and “Planet Pit” (No. 7 in 2011).
In an interview in October for charttv365.com in London, Pitbull talked about the advice he would have given to his younger self.
“Always listen to what’s going on around the world, the new music, and never be afraid of going outside the box,” he said.
It’s advice that he certainly took.
The rapper has always sampled and borrowed from any genre of pop music, and turned it into his own unmistakable sound.
On his 10th and current album, “Climate Change,” released in March, he not only continued that philosophy but turned it up.
His collaborators include Flo Rida, Lunch Money Lewis, Jason Derulo, Enrique Iglesias, Jennifer Lopez, Robin Thicke and even Joe Perry.
The Pitbull sound starts with celebratory dance music, drops in some hip-hop, and sets it to a Cuban rhythm. Delivered with the force of a motivational speaker, the result is an audio blast of endorphins.
Part of the Pitbull juggernaut is his amazing live show.
Constantly stopping, starting and shifting gears every few minutes, Pitbull is the focal point of a maelstrom of laser lights, relentless beats and tropical colors that call to mind a South Beach nightclub. With a massive video display as a backdrop and a cadre of sexy dancers on stage, fans might find themselves so unwilling to take their eyes off the stage that they forget to dance.
The overall effect is that of a stage show but magnified to arena size, said Ken Bigley, vice president of JAC Management, which operates Covelli Centre. “His production is extensive,” said Bigley. “With DJs, a small band and dancers on stage, it’s like a retro lounge act.”
Stage theatrics – think confetti cannons and other special effects – will punctuate the spectacle, he added.
Fittingly, Pitbull will close out the month and start the next one with an eight-night stand at the AXIS at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.
While Youngstown is not typical Pitbull country, the show, partially underwritten by Ed Muransky of Southwoods Surgical Hospital, should be sold out, said Eric Ryan, president of JAC.
The arena will be in its standard concert layout, with the stage at the east end. The seats behind the stage will not be sold.