[Originally published in DTM Magazine Issue #22; October 2005].
Refreshing, joyful yet sentimental, is how the innovative and pioneering Milly Quezada’s new record, entitled “MQ” is regarded. It is the 28th album of lengthy and eventful artistic career, which started with “Milly & Los Vecinos.” Today after having been a soloist for many years, she still sows and harvests quality merengue hits, and that’s why she is duly referred to as “The Queen of Merengue.” “MQ,” her first album under her new label, J&N Records, contains eleven songs, ten of which are merengues. The other song, “La Mala Palabra” (Vamos Pa’ La Calle) is already being played on many radio stations. This song is a fusion of merengue and reggaeton where Milly sings a duet with Hector “El Father,” who is a sensation among adults as well as young fans.
Since her recording of “Pienso Asi,” in 2003, Milly has not recorded anything but her absence was not noticed since she was appearing in concerts within and outside her country, as well as receiving many prestigious nominations and awards. Besides, during the time she was away from the recording studios, she took the opportunity to carefully prepare this production with the Dominican singer and writer, Ramon Orlando Valoy “El Maestro,” and to select the songs for this new project. “I feel very comfortable working with Ramon Orlando, I admire his work and the intensity he displays when producing songs.” Milly is also very proud because her sons participated in the production: Miguel Vasquez arranged the single “La Mala Palabra” and Anthony Vasquez did outstanding work with the chorus. As the old saying goes: “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” as both young boys according to Milly, “have a natural musical aptitude.”
Many critics question how the fusion of reggaeton and merengue will benefit artists in each genre, to which Milly replied, “I know we will benefit from it since reggaeton is at its peak. We shall all benefit, because I think reggaeton is part of the tropical musical legacy that identifies us as Caribbean.” Milly is not worried about her audience accepting “La Mala Palabra” with Hector “El Father” alleging that she “cannot dictate what the public might like to listen to or want to buy.”
Merengue is already 150 years old, and we asked Milly if she believed that reggaeton could replace it. “It will never replace it; I believe that reggaeton is having a good moment. The thing with music is that it is cyclical. I lived through the time when salsa reigned exclusively in all places. And I also lived through the times when merengue took off, and I enjoyed that too. I understand that reggaeton is going through an important period in its development, but like many other things, it is going to cyclical, it’s going to go up to the same levels we experienced with salsa, merengue and bachata, as well as with ballads and boleros. We shall live to see it keep up with the times, because it has quality and the people understand that it must be kept alive.”
It was rumored in various occasions that Milly Quezada would not return to the spotlight after being awarded the Latino Grammy in 2003. “MQ” is back to prove that the crown still belongs to her and that she will conquer the new generation of listeners with her new album while captivating her original fan base.