After spending years DJing at some of the hottest nightclubs around the country, Alex Sensation, one of the best known Latino DJs, is taking the next step in his career: becoming an artist.
At the beginning of 2016, Sensation signed an agreement with Universal Music Latin Entertainment and Indie Entertainment Group and recently released his first promotional single, "La Mala y La Buena," which features the Cuban duo, Gente De Zona.
This song is part of the unpublished album he's working on which is expected to be released sometime in 2017.
Before he filled the nightclubs and stadiums with his music, Alex Sensation — Javier Alexander Salazar — was a young boy from Colombia with a lot of rhythm and big dreams.
At the young age of 6, Alex emigrated from Bogotá to the U.S.
Music has always been part of Sensation's life. His father used to play the guitar and his older brother was a local DJ in New York City. While accompanying his brother to clubs to play, Alex fell in love with it and decided to give it a try himself.
After lying his way through nightclub entrances — he was underage at the time he started — he would make it up to the DJ booth and entertain the crowds. He started with smaller clubs, and at the age of 17, he got the opportunity to play at one of New York City's most famous Latin nightclubs, Copacabana.
This is where Sensation got his big break. A program director from a Spanish language radio station in New York City reached out to Alex and offered him a weekend DJ position. Six months later, he was offered to work for New York City's La Mega 97.9, where he currently DJ's the afternoon show. The popular station is also transmitted in Miami, Fl.
"When I started in radio, Latin radio, there wasn't any urban music that young Hispanic kids could identify with," said Sensation.
Aside from rising as a DJ, he says he is glad he got to be a part of a change in music. What was once called "underground" music went on to be the urban Latino movement: reggaeton.
"I used to listen to hip-hop, reggae, and house music, freestyle, but we needed something that was ours, that was in our language," he said.
In the late 90's, and early 2000's, there was a boom of reggaeton music with many notable artists like Tego Calderón, Ivy Queen, Don Omar and Daddy Yankee entering the music scene.
Alex says that he credits Puerto Rican Daddy Yankee as one of the artists that helped reggaeton explode.
"He was the explosion that we needed. He was the person that made it transcend to all the ages, all the ethnicities and became a worldwide sensation," he said.
Now, reggaeton is still popular amongst the millennial crowds and also among the older crowds. Reggaeton from artists like J Balvin, Maluma, Nicky Jam, and Yandel flood car radios and headphones of Latinos of all ages around the country.
According to Nielsen's "Listen Up" report on Hispanic consumers and music, Latinos spend an average of $135 per year per capita on music, nearly 30 percent more than the average American.
Music is an important part of the U.S. Latino culture.
After spending years in the DJ booth, Alex felt he was ready to take the next step in his career. He was going to continue in the music scene but this time as an artist.
He credits his push to producing his own music to who he calls his long-time friend, Armando Perez, better known as Pitbull.
"He said, 'Alex, you should do your own record, you should make your own music and produce like the English DJ's do," recalled Sensation.
He Sensation now fills several nightclubs and stadiums around the country in places such as New York, Connecticut, Miami, and Las Vegas every weekend. Crowds of young millennials wait in lines just to listen to great Latino music and to get a glimpse of one of their favorite DJs.
"As soon as I walk into a club, I try to make the crowd feel good," he said. "Once you play good music, it doesn't matter where you're from, you're going to dance, and you're going to have a good time."