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Out of the Shadows: Juan Jose Rodriguez, “El Puma Jr.”

Juan Jose Rodriguez “El Puma Jr.” is a Venezuela singer, whose main focus is Latin American songs. Early in his career he was plagued with the scandal that he is the illegitimate son of Jose Luis Rodrigues “El Puma”, also a Venezuelan singer, who never recognized him as his son, however his uncle Oswaldo Rodriguez did recognize him as part of the family and a “Rodriguez”. El Puma Jr.’s mother, who could have helped clarified the scandal, died when El Puma Jr. was 12-years-old. Regardless, the similarities between “El Puma Jr.” and “El Puma” are apparent.

Juan Jose Rodriguez’s career has been overshadowed by that of his father’s. However, El Puma Jr. should be recognized as a separate performer who managed to make a name for himself, despite being so closely associated to the fame of his father’s. In a telephone interview, Juan Jose Rodriguez discussed how he has a more independent, unique musical style, separate from that of his father’s.

Juan Jose Rodriguez, started his musical career in 1986, performing on the Venezuelan television network Venevisión, however, a bad car accident sidelined his career for two years. In November 1989 Rodriguez performed at the New York Song Festival, while there, he signed a contract with the famous “Chib-Chab” Club in New York where other famous acts also performed. Rodriguez released his first album, “El Puma de la Salsa” in 1995, and performed it live with American Salsa artist, Jose Mangual Jr. for a sold-out stadium of 25,000 fans during the Santa Cruz Festival in Bolivia.

Throughout the mid to late 1990s, Rodriguez toured through 23 South American countries and Spain. Two other albums followed, “Corazon Cobarde” (1996) and “La Traicion” (1998).

In the early 2000s he founded the record label, CIMA Records to introduce upcoming artists and new talents and to help them take their first steps into the world of international stardom. Rodriguez also released his fourth album, “Amores” in 2003, and started performing in European and Asian countries.

The singer and producer further advanced his career with a 2009 North American Tour across major U.S. cities like Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Miami, Orlando, and many more.

Rodriguez is trying out new musical styles, something he calls, “rock-pop” and due to the Coronavirus outbreak is producing videos to advocate for proper healthcare. His catchy music gives a clear message to fans on real-world issues and struggles many routinely face. Rodriguez uses animated music videos to address issues in a positive, uplifting manner.

COVID-19 has allowed Juan Rodriguez to use alternate media platforms to share his message of worldwide human cooperation and global care for others who are less fortunate and in need of aid such as food, proper medical care, and support. With new techniques and approaches implemented into Rodriguez’s musical style, he hopes to aid more people through music and with charity work through his company and record label.

Time will tell how long these political, social, and health-related issues will last within our society and much of the world. The lasting impact is uncertain, but hopefully through multiple outlets, like music, film, and advocacy speeches, people will be more inclined to come together and show support for others.

By Alex Fernandez