©Jose Correa
©Jose Correa

 

Bronx born and bred Juan “Skittlez” Ortiz has just released a parody on the hit song and video #selfie and  it’s pretty hysterical.  The talented singer, actor, and dancer from the Boogie Down, has had several videos go viral before such as, “Shit Spanish Girls Say Part 1 and 2” (which got over 10 million hits on YouTube) and “New York City Gays”.

According to his profile on SoundCloud:

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“Juan Carlos Ortiz is a Latino singer, songwriter, dancer, and actor from the Bronx, New York. He graduated from the prestigous Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in 2009 where he majored in Vocal Music. Currently a College student, he attends Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, New Jersey as a Music Education major. Along with being a classically trained tenor, Juan takes pride in his passion for performing Pop music. Along with singing and performing, he gets joy from producing and editing videos as a hobby. You can see Juan [also known as SkittLeZ] appear on numerous channels on YouTube, most of which he edits and produces himself.”

Check out the #Selfie parody here and see our wonderful, exclusive interview with SkittLez after the video!

First of all, I’m a big fan of your work.  Your videos, your covers, your singing (no, I promise I’m not stalking you!)
Tell us a little about yourself. Where in the Bronx did you grow up and currently live?
–Ok! Well, I am 23 years old and last May I graduated from Westminster Choir College of Rider University with a Bachelors of Music in Music Education. I like to say I grew up in two different parts of the Bronx. I lived and went to school in Co-op City until I was 13, however I also spent a LOT of time right on Morrison Avenue off of the 6 train. My family and I went to St. Joan of Arc right in that area and I spent a lot of time after school and on the weekends in that area. 

 

How did the Bronx influence you in who you are today?
–The Bronx has influenced me in so many ways. There’s something to be said about that certain “Bronx attitude” and pride that you develop when you grow up in the Bronx, and in New York City in general. The Bronx is full of so many people, from all different backgrounds, on their grind and working hard to better themselves. Being from the Bronx has definitely had an influence on my drive and will to succeed in all that I set my mind to.

 

When did you know you wanted to be a performing artist?
–I knew that I wanted to be a performing artist at a very young age. I grew up in a family that truly embraced the arts, and having so many family members that loved the arts made for an amazing support system. From a very young age I took every opportunity that I could to perform for anybody who would watch. I can remember in third grade there was a teacher who would have me come and dance to “Oops! I did it again” by Britney Spears for her class, and she wasn’t even MY teacher. I loved everything about performing and knew that’s what I wanted to pursue. All these years later, nothing has changed about that.
©Cheenola Productions
©Cheenola Productions
Who are your influences?
–Oh dear! The list goes on and ON!! My mother, Lillian Raimundi-Ortiz, has definitely had a huge influence on me. Aside from being an incredible and supportive parent, she inspired me from a very young age to go after my dreams. Not to mention she, too, studied music and has been singing her entire life. Another major influence in my life is my aunt Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz. She is an incredible human being and artist. She really is someone I look up to and I aspire to be at least half as great and successful in my art as she has been in hers. Aside from familial influences, I must say I’ve always looked up to Jennifer Lopez career-wise. The idea of coming from the Bronx and becoming so successful is something I’ve always admired.

 

What has been your biggest struggle throughout the years as an artist?
–I’m not sure that I’ve necessarily met my biggest struggle yet (knock on wood). Going viral and having an audience that wants to see new material from me was definitely a little bit of a struggle because all of a sudden there was a demand for more material, and consistency, whereas before I didn’t necessarily have to put out content if I didn’t want to.  A struggle that came along with that was developing Cessa (Shit Spanish Girls Say) into a character so I can produce more material with her in it. People like to watch her and laugh at her, so keeping it fresh, funny and entertaining is something I’ve definitely had to work at. Luckily I have amazing friends like Julissa Contreras, Melanie Gonzalez and David Zheng who are always there to aide in that process, even if it’s just offering an opinion or critique.

 

You’ve had several hit parody videos that have gone viral, particularly Shit Spanish Girls say with a combined view of over 10 million views.  Did you ever think you’d become such a hit?
–Not at all. I had always hoped that something would take off and that I’d be able to reach a larger audience. But how that was going to happen and the fact that it happened because of Shit Spanish Girls Say was not something I ever saw coming, but I’m glad it did. 

 

Why did you decide on doing Selfie?
–Aside from thinking that it’d be a hilariously fun video to do, I decided to do Selfie because after hearing the original song I felt there was definitely another demographic that could have been tapped into. It was a very similar situation to that of doing Shit Spanish Girls Say (which was influenced by the original “Shit Girls Say”). The original track (#Selfie – The Chainsmokers) is such a catchy-club banger kind of song that is so funny to listen to, but because of the electro-beat and the way the girl is speaking I knew there was room to make a different variation of the song that could reach an entirely different group of people. After presenting the idea to Julissa Contreras and Melanie Gonzalez (my best-friends and artistic partners in crime), they seemed to be just as inspired and motivated to make the project as successful as possible. Once I knew they were down, there was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity. 

 

What can we expect from you next?
–More videos (vlogs, covers, parodies), more performances, more everything. More, more, more. I’ll always be working on putting out more work. What specifically that is, I’m not sure yet, but there will be more.

 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
–In 5 years I see myself performing, and working hard on my craft…. Hopefully with lots of success!! 

 

What’s your favorite spot in the Bronx?
–My favorite spot in the Bronx is probably the Pelham Parkway area, especially the drive toward City Island. I really like the neighborhood and how calm it can be without actually being so deep into the Bronx that the commute takes forever. I also love the restaurants over in City Island as well. 

 

Want to get in contact with him??

The original #Selfie Song and video:

Shit Spanish Girls Say:

Shit Spanish Girls Say Part 2:

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