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"The New Generation of Menudo"

The pop phenomenon is back! We chatted with the young members of the pop quintet, and they assured us they’re ready and able to revive the Menudo craze. Hear their new singles!

Menudo was undoubtedly one of the most successful teenybopper bands of the ‘80s, both in Latin America and worldwide. Songs like “Súbete a mi moto” and “Quiero ser” broke boundaries, making generations young and old want to get on their feet and dance. Thirty years later, five rising young stars are reviving the Menudo phenomenon with a contemporary sound and look. Carlos, Chris, Emmanuel, José and Monti are the new voices of the pop band, and as 17-year-old Emmanuel says, “Menudo is back.”

It all began with the MTV reality show Making Menudo, which made 15 young finalists put their talents to the test. Only five were chosen to become members of the new pop band and record an album with Epic Records. Of the show, 15-year-old José says “it was an experience that changed our lives completely. We never thought that we were going to make it so fast, much less with the name Menudo, which is a huge name.” And 18-year-old Carlos calls the experience “incredible,” an attitude he shares with the rest of the band. Driven by the same dream, the young stars call themselves a family, even though “like all siblings, there are always fights, but we try to be very good,” José admits.

Before entering the competition, the teenagers were pretty much living your average teenage lives with their families and in school, but as 18-year-old Monti tells us, he was “always dreaming and trying to become an artist.” That dream became a reality last December with the release of their first EP “More Than Words,” which includes four songs.

As they visit TV show after TV show performing their songs, the pop fivesome are working hard on their first album, which they hope will drop in spring 2008. When asked how they divide the work that goes into making an album, José explains that “Emmanuel, Monti and Carlos play the guitar, and Chris and I compose.” Even though they have more experience with dance, the guys are the perfect combination of personality and talent to win over Menudo followers, along with “all the pretty ladies,” Emmanuel adds flirtatiously.

When it comes to dealing with the consequences of fame, the young musicians say no problem – they already have a plan. “If one of us starts to get a big head and starts to act like a big-shot artist, we’re going to sit down and remember to keep our feet on the ground,” says José, the chattiest member of the quintet. The new members of Menudo understand very well their responsibility to fans, music and themselves. As we say goodbye and good luck, 15-year-old Chris ends the interview with a confident final thought: “2008 is the year of Menudo.”

- People en Espanol


More Than Words EP - Released Exclusively at Target stores on December 18, 2007

1) More Than Words (AEIOU)
2) MAS Que Amor (AEIOU - Spanish Version)
3) Move
4) This Christmas



Coming out of Puerto Rico in the 1970s, MENUDO was the first, and the greatest, of a wave of talented singing and dancing groups that's still relevant 30 years later. The legendary group has sold over 40 million records worldwide, broke numerous attendance records including: 13 consecutive sellout performances at Radio City Music Hall, 200,000 fans at a soccer stadium in Rio de Janeiro, over 500,000 fans at a Mexico City concert and launching the career of international superstar Ricky Martin.

Now, two generations later, a new, updated version of MENUDO is back, with a contemporary sound and look, and the same universal appeal. The five new members Carlos Olivero (18 years old, Mexican/Puerto Rican, Chicago, IL); Chris Moy (15 years old, Puerto Rican/Venezuelan/Chinese, Bronx / Dutchess County, NY); Emmanuel Velez Pagan (16 years old, Puerto Rican, Trujillo Alto, PR); Jose Bordonada Collazo (15 years old, Puerto Rican, Manati, Puerto Rico) and Monti Montanez (18 years old, Puerto Rican, Caguas, Puerto Rico / Now Laredo, TX) are young, polished, highly professional singing-and-dancing boy group. They will release a preview of new music on their More Than Words EP that will be released on December 18 in Target stores around the country with their full length album to follow in Spring of 2008, both via Epic Records.

People know and love this new MENUDO already. The new group came together on the MTV & MTV Tr3s reality series Making Menudo. Viewers watched the dramatic competition week after week, as fifteen young Latinos, chosen from nationwide search went through a demanding "boy-band boot camp" designed by legendary pop impresario Johnny Wright to train and choose the five best suited for the even harder job of working professionally as a performing team.

The competition is over, and now the group begins. On Tuesday, November 20, 2007, the identities of the final members of the 2008 version of MENUDO were unveiled on the climactic episode of Making Menudo. Five dedicated, ultra-talented guys between the ages of 15 and 18 were chosen. Carlos, Jose, Monti, Emmanuel and Chris have undergone a rigorous process of musical, choreographic, and professional education that required them to excel individually and to work together as a cohesive unit. Each one can sing lead, and each one specializes in a particular style of music. But they all do all styles, and they harmonize together.

They've already performed on Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Live with Regis & Kelly, appeared on Despierta America, Escondalo TV and are set to perform on the Hollywood Christmas Parade and the Disney Christmas Day Parade before the end of the year.

Meet the Group

18-year-old Carlos Olivero is from Chicago. His mom is Mexican and his father Puerto Rican. If you ask him what he brings to the group, he'll tell you, "I'm the urban one, I'm the little hip hop guy in the group." He says he's goofy and he cracks a lot of jokes, but he's focused on his music. "I learned how to dance from my father, because he was a break dancer, so I picked up dancing at a young age. I think I was about five years old when I started dancing. Music was always in my blood because my uncles and aunts, they danced, they sang, they performed." Ask him what it means to be in the new MENUDO, and you'll find someone who believes in his mission: "The way we all look at it is," he emphasizes group effort, "We're bringing Latino back and to a whole new audience!"

The oldest member of the group is 18-year-old Monti, whose full name is Jose Antonio Montanez. He's Puerto Rican, originally from Caguas, but now lives in Laredo, Texas, where his step dad is with the U.S. Border Patrol. He's the "dad" of the group, a role he developed growing up during stressful years of relocation to different places (he learned English in Germany) while his stepfather was in the military. "What got me through was my music," Monti recalls. "Singing in my school choir, singing in the praise team in the church choir, joining the drama team in church, that really helped me get my mind together and stop worrying so much about the great danger that he was in being in Iraq. It was hard for my mom, it was hard for my sister, and I had to step up and be a father to my two little brothers." What does he bring to the group? With salsa, bachata, and merngue on his iPod, keeping his beloved Puerto Rico close to his heart, he's the traditional Latin one.

Chris, full name Christopher Moy, just 15, has a Puerto Rican mom and a Venezuelan / Chinese father. He's from the Bronx, though he now lives in Dutchess County, NY. "We all have our styles," he says, "and mine's R & B." Like the others, he was a talent-show star: "I started singing around the age of six. I just did it as a hobby up until about seventh grade, where I did my first talent show, and I started to love performing, so I did more talent shows and more talent shows, and eventually my aunt came to me and told me about