DON SONERO is a lead singer/sonero gifted with the voice and talent that is lifting the genera of Salsa music to a new level. He is a lyricist/composer whose original music is a throwback to the past with a fresh, new, modern feel that adds innovative hooks and rhythms and has social messages.
Born in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, Gilberto Velazquez was raised in the South Bronx, New York. By age 14, he had started singing Latin music professionally, his first gig as a corista for Fania legend, Pete “El Conde” Rodriguez. Since then he has worked as a vocalist with over 50 different artists including Eddie Palmieri, Oscar de Leon, Cano Estremera and Andy Montanez. His forte became that of a lead singer, however. He is one of the top young lead singer/soneros (improvisors) of the moment, having front-lined in a multitude of Salsa and Charanga bands, including Orquesta Broadway and Son Sublime, on whose album, “Bailando Con Son Sublime”, Gilberto is the featured lead singer. From 2007 - 2010, Gilberto was part of the Salsa Dura band La Excelencia that included two European tours and a special performance at the Barbican and is featured on their second album, “Mi Tumbao Social”. Other lead credits include Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Lebron Brothers, and The Mambo Legends Orchestra.
Theatrical credits include, in 2008, he was in Pregones Theater’s musical “Game Over”. He is an actor/vocalist for artist Paul Simon since March 2008, having been part of the ensemble and part of Mr. Simon’s doo-wop group in the concert series “Songs from the Capeman” @ the Brooklyn Academy of Music and again in February, 2009, participating in his concerts re-opening the Beacon Theater in NYC. Then he starred as the Rev. Gonzalez in Mr. Simon’s “The Capeman” that ran @ the Delacorte Theater in Central Park (NYC), in August 2010.
Currently, Don Sonero is a featured vocalist for “Our Latin Thing, the Band”, an orchestra that pays tribute to the Fania All-Stars, and with New Swing Sextet.
He is currently working on his first solo artist project of original compositions that infuses innovative ideas with new sounds and traditional big band music and the incorporation of various styles and sounds of the diverse Latin and African rhythms, via his own record and film company, Ainaff, Inc. and his own publishing company Don Sonero Music and Entertainment.