Catalina Maria Johnson

International radio broadcaster, bilingual cultural journalist, music curator

Detroit-born Diego Garcia returns to Chicago with the Paradise tour on December 6 to Schuba’s. The singer/songwriter first came on our radar in 2010 with a lovely debut album, Laura, when he went solo after being New York indie band Elefant’s frontman.

His recently released album, “Paradise”, on Concord Records, has him continuing an exploration his Latin American roots (Garcia is of Argentinean background) creating sweet ballads in the style of classic Latin American crooners from the 70’s such as Julio Iglesias, Sandro, Rafael, Roberto Carlos and Piero.

It all comes from a lifetime as the child of Argentine-immigrants, he says, rife with Sundays with soccer and asado (Argentine-style grilled meat) and lots of 60′s and 70′s Latin American torch tunes, a part of his life he first moved away from musically, as he embraced the rock, punk and indie side of his North American homeland.

However, today Garcia composes ballads that reference all those early times with his family, albeit with a sophisticated and contemporary and very North American indie pop touch. As he describes himself, he is a first generation Latino, who “thinks in English”, but is very proud of his roots and feels “100% American, 100% Argentine” and cannot answer easily the question “Where are you from?”

Perhaps because of this rich but ambiguous identity, Garcia seems to speak so clearly to U.S.-born Latinos, who revel in the romantic songs created by an artist who says, “It’s cool to be a first-generation anything, because you get the best of both worlds”!