Born in Long Island, NY, Draco Cornelius Rosa was raised surrounded by an eclectic
mélange of musical tastes: from his mother’s affinity to the rock of the Beatles, Led
Zeppelin, the Who and the funk-ridden R&B of the seventies, to his father’s propensity
toward salsa—not just any salsa, but, as Rosa puts it, “the dark, aggressive kind.” At a
young age, his family moved him to Puerto Rico, where he became a member of the
increasingly popular band Menudo.
Rosa grew disenchanted with the band, particularly since he was not allowed the opportunity to write songs for them, so he decided to leave the group in 1987. Residing in Baha Beach, Rio de Janeiro, he spent time with local artists, adding to his musical education. Two Portuguese-language solo albums later, he moved to New York, where he formed a group by the name of “Maggie’s Dream.” The group’s energy and stridency earned it a spot on tours with Fishbone, the Black Crowes, and Faith No More.
Wanting to extend the reach of his talents into other media, Rosa moved to Los Angeles. There, he swiftly landed the lead in the feature film Salsa: the Motion Picture, on the set of which he met his future wife, actress Angela Alvarado.
He also appeared alongside Christopher Mitchum in a German film entitled Gummibarchen kussit man nicht. Rosa wrote, produced and performed two songs—“Angela” and “Little Woman”—for the soundtrack of this film, which was released by RCA Records under his publishing company, Seiba Tree Music.
A solo contract with Sony Latin in 1993 enabled him to record in Spain the first of his highly celebrated Spanish-language solo albums, Frío.
In between solo projects, Draco worked on Ricky Martin’s A Medio Vivir. He co-wrote and co-produced the majority of the songs on the album, including the hit single, “María,” conquering a space on the Top 10 Billboard album charts. At the same time, he formed a band with ex-Circle Jerk member Zander Schloss called “Sweet and Low,” playing gigs around town.
The 1996 release of his second album, Vagabundo, recorded in England and produced by Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera, has been hailed as a “tour de force of introspective haunting tunes.” Awards and titles regarding the album did not lack either: the video for the song “Madre Tierra,” directed by Angela Alvarado, won Best Rock Video in the 1997 Latin Music Awards; Vagabundo was included in Spin Magazine’s 1997 Top 10 list of “greatest rock en español records of all time.”
Entertainment Weekly named Rosa to their IT LIST of the 100 most creative people in the entertainment industry. Banco Popular included Rosa in its exhibit, “Acángana: 100 años de la música puertorriqueña,” (“Acángana: 100 years of Puerto Rican Music”) which opened in the summer of 2000.
An English-language version of Frío, entitled Songbirds and Roosters was released in 1998. As he toured with his songs from Vagabundo, Rosa wrote and recorded Ricky Martin’s chart-topping album Vuelve under the pseudonym Ian Blake, which netted five
hit singles including “La Copa De La Vida” (a.k.a. “The Cup of Life”). Draco formed Phantom Vox Corporation, a multi-media production company that joined Dräco Cornelius Music with other writers under Phantom Vox Publishing, the company’s subdivision for licensing of original compositions. Phantom Vox Studios, Rosa’s own multi-media recording studio and another subdivision of the company, worked as Music Supervisor for Livin’ the Life, an independent movie that won the Best Film Award in the 1999 New York Latin Film Fest. The studio filmed and edited the video for “Commitment #4,” a track Draco composed and recorded in dedication to the freedom of the island of Vieques, a municipality of Puerto Rico.
Between 1998 and 1999, he wrote and recorded Ricky Martin’s highly celebrated first English album, which includes the now legendary single “Livin’ La Vida Loca.” The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard album charts, skyrocketing afterwards to an astounding 20 million albums sold worldwide. For Martin’s album Sound Loaded (2000), Rosa produced four tracks, including the hit single “She Bangs.”
Rosa also produced Corazón (1999), the platinum album of Latin pop star Ednita Nazario, for which he also wrote and produced the song “Más Grande Que Grande” under the name Dolores del Infante, which reached a spot in the Top 10 Latin Billboards; he wrote and produced three songs for world- renowned singer Julio Iglesias’ album, Noche De Cuatro Lunas (2000). Rosa was one of three singer/songwriters honored in Banco Popular's Chritmas Special Encuentro (2002) alongside Juan Luis Guerra and Rubén Blades.
In 2002 Draco redirected his energies again toward his own music. While he worked on new material, he released Libertad del Alma, a compilation album that debuted at the top of the Latin Album Billboard chart based only on its sales in Puerto Rico. After two years of experimentation and sessions in studios around the world, Draco released Mad Love on March 30, 2004. With most songs in English, collaborations with musicians from all over the world and two videos included in the CD--for "Dancing in the Rain" and "Lie Without a Lover," both directed by Angela Alvarado Rosa--Mad Love debuted at #2 on Billboard's Heatseeker charts and was considered the #1 Latin album of 2004 by New York’s Newsday. The video for "Más y Más" (one of only four Spanish tracks on the album), also directed by Angela Alvarado Rosa, won the 2004 Latin Grammy Award for Best Video.
A few months after the release of Mad Love, Draco released another compilation album destined specifically for the Latin market entitled Como Me Acuerdo, which included four new tracks along with some of his most revered songs. He kicked off a long international tour to support both albums. The tour enabled him to step on stages in many major US cities, as well as Japan, Singapore, England, Spain, Germany, Denmark, Panama, Brazil, Colombia and Argentina, among others. In Bogota, Colombia in particular, he closed the 2004 Rock al Parque, a multitudinous all-day musical extravaganza with a crowd of 150,000 people.
Rosa ended the tour in his native Puerto Rico, where he sold out the island's recently opened new 18,000 seater, Coliseo de Puerto Rico Jose Miguel Agrelot. Entitled Draco
Al Natural, this last concert was the basis for a CD/DVD, a full-length documentary of the live performance directed by Draco’s wife, Angela Alvarado Rosa, released in 2005. He capped 2005 with 7 sold out concerts at Puerto Rico’s “Teatro de Bellas Artes” theatre in the month of September. Shortly after, Draco was invited by Carlos Santana to perform with him at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Things went so well with the Santana performance that Deep Purple invited Draco to sing to close out the show.
Draco’s independent spirit led him to seek release from his contract with Sony. This new freedom gave way to his second Spanish only album, Vino, released in October 2008. Draco considers Vino a follow up to Vagabundo. Vino is included in his long awaited production DRACO: LIMITED COLLECTOR’S EDITION, along with “Teatro Live” DVD and a full color booklet. “Teatro Live” garnered 2 Latin Grammy nominations and 1 Latin Grammy win for “Best Rock Vocal Performance”.
Draco went back to his roots in 2009 with the release of “Amor Vincit Omnia” (Love Conquers All). A collection of songs with a heavy influence of Puerto Rican folk music. Songs like “Esto es Vida”, “Amores de mi Calle” and “Espejismo” have the old-school feel of mountain music of yesteryear. The critically acclaimed album received a 2010 Grammy nomination for “Best Latin Rock Alternative Album”. A successful tour followed culminating in the Rock in Rio Festival in Madrid, where Draco shared the main stage with Jane’s Addiction and Rage Against the Machine.
Outside of his personal investments, musical and otherwise, he has also contributed towards the improvement of artistic and cultural life in Puerto Rico, sponsoring the island's Museo de Arte and Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, and setting up an annual scholarship for outstanding students at the Puerto Rico's Music Conservatory. Draco purchased Hacienda Horizonte, a farm in the mountains of Puerto Rico. Among the many different projects going on at the farm, Draco has created his own line of rum, Ron Vagabundo, a brand of locally grown coffee, Café Horizonte, and a specatacular line of clothing, Vagabundo Clothing. He is currently building a boutique hotel scheduled to open in 2012. In 2011, Puerto Rico’s Chamber of Commerce awarded Draco with the Zenit award as Businessman of the Year.