Yomil, of Cuban duo Yomil y El Dany, has been living the toughest and most challenging days of his life after the passing of his colleague El Dany on July 18 in Havana, Cuba. “It was the worst day of my life and I’m never going to recuperate,” he tells Billboard during an Instagram Live.
With a positive attitude and much-needed strength, Yomil presents the duo’s new album Los Champions, out August 26, recorded before the singer’s death and released on what would’ve marked their fifth-year anniversary as Yomil y El Dany. “This was Dany’s dream and we’re making it come true,” he says.
Produced by DJ Jungl, Los Champions is home to 26 new tracks and 32 collaborations with some of the biggest names in the Cuban music scene, such as Lenier, El Micha, and El Chacal, to name a few. “He led this album and was a big part of the process.”
He continues: “The Cuban [community] is not used to seeing so many artists together [on an album]. It was Dany’s idea to unite the genre. He reached out to all of the artists. I told him that we should release the album in two parts and he wanted it to go out as one so it would have a bigger impact and we can ultimately enter the Billboard charts again or get a [award] nomination. That was his dream.”
Daniel Muñoz Borrego, better known as El Dany, died last month at a hospital in Havana, sources confirm. He was 31 years old. Billboard could not confirm the cause of death.
Together with Yomil (real name Roberto Hidalgo Puentes), Muñoz found fame creating a sound he and Hidalgo dubbed “Trapton,” which the duo once described to Billboard as “our brand. It’s a mix of trap with dembow and reggaetón.”
That brand allowed Yomil y El Dany to enter the charts in 2016 with their album Sobredosis, which spent one week on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart at No. 8. Most recently, the duo teamed up with Lenier, El Chacal, Srta. Dayana, El Micha and Maurofor the single “No Volveré,” which entered the Billboard Tropical Airplay chart two weeks ago and is currently at No. 24.
In an exclusive interview with Billboard, Yomil opened up about life after El Dany, the future of his music career, and more. Watch the complete interview above.
With everything that’s been going on this year, including the pandemic and the new album, I imagine you must feel a rollercoaster of emotions.
It’s a bittersweet feeling. I have spent the worst days of my life because this has been a great loss that has not only affected me but our close circle. His fans are showing incredible affection. The album has tremendous acceptance. People from all parts of Cuba are paying homage to him. Not even Dany knew that he had so many people who loved him so much. I feel a little more recovered because this week I started with the work stuff but I still can’t believe it.
Every day you wish him good morning on Instagram or post a memory of him. Why is this significant to you?
It’s the least I can do because I think that one of my main tasks for the rest of my life is to always pay tribute to him. To keep him in mind so that no one can forget him. There are just too many memories. It all started with a dream 13 years ago. We came from nothing and little by little we began providing for our family and moving forward. There are just too many beautiful experiences and I will continue to remind people about him even as the years go by.
In addition to Los Champions, What other projects did Yomil y El Dany have pending?
We had to cancel our tour in May because of the pandemic. We even thought about not releasing the album this year. Dany posted something the night before his passing which said that leaving something saved is a legacy and it’s true. I can confirm that he left 100 unreleased songs that will come out in the future. My role is to release the songs slowly so that people have El Dany present for about 5 to 10 more years.
How do you envision the future of your music career without El Dany?
I’m not worried about the concerts because the duo is called Yomil y El Dany and I’m going to continue with that same energy. I also don’t plan on signing with anyone else. But I always wonder what it will be like when I get back on stage without him. I know he will be there and that our fans will give me the strength but I know that the first concerts will be the most difficult ones in my life. Now I have to face everything on my own, the concerts, the interviews, the music videos. From now on it’s just me but I promise that El Dany will be a part of my life forever.