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How Grupo Marca Registrada Changed Their Course

Over the course of a decade, Grupo Marca Registrada has earned a place in the regional Mexican music scene by stamping their style on norteño music. In 2022, they released hits like “Si Fuera Fácil”, “No Me Acuerdo” and “El Rescate” with Juniro H. But by mid 2023, their album Corleone had not gotten the response they expected: it only spent one week on Billboard‘s Regional Mexican Albums chart, at No. 16, and one week on Top Latin Albums at No. 50. And in the midst of the craze for corridos tumbados, the outlook was not encouraging.



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Despite collaborations with Carin León (“Me Haces Tan Bien”) and Grupo Frontera (“Dí Que Sí”, which reached No. 1 on Regional Mexican Airplay and No. 3 on Latin Airplay in the spring of last year), they felt something was amiss. So their frontman, Fidel Oswaldo Castro, set about the task of changing musical direction and found emerging talent younger than himself — such as Octavio Cuadras, Joaquín Medina and Sheeno — who write, compose and produce with a unique touch and a “techno bélico” sound.

Then came another trilogy of songs with which they would show a new face — “ELOVRGA” with Alex Favela and Joaquin Medina, which took them to No. 7 on the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart and whose music video has over 102 million views; “Alucin” with Eugenio Esquivel and Sebastian Esquivel, and the happy corrido “Bling Bling” with Octavio Cuadras — released late last year; the latter with a remix featuring Colombian superstar Maluma.

Today (March 1), they are premiering a new version of Mexican singer-songwriter Julieta Venegas’ 2003 Latin pop hit “Andar Conmigo,” and soon something dance-driven with Belinda will be released.

In an exclusive interview with Billboard Español, Castro spoke extensively about the wheel of fortune that has Grupo Marca Registrada’s spirits high and their upcoming projects with stars that also include Peso Pluma, Junior H and Xavi.

After a winning streak, things didn’t work out the way you thought they would. Were you prepared for that?

I’m always prepared, so that in case something doesn’t work out, I have a backup. It’s the hunger to move forward. You also have to put intelligence into music, you have to look where no one else wants to look.

Why did you decide to give very young, practically unknown artists a chance?

Everybody wants to record with big artists. I didn’t look for that, I looked for quality, I looked for talent; I had the numbers. I looked for a product to sell, something good and of quality that was not overexposed. So I started with Joaquín [Medina] and Alex [Favela] for the song “Elovrga”, then with the Esquivel brothers I did “Alucin”, which has been a hit in electronic music charts in Spain. Octavio [Cuadras], a Sinaloan like me, also came along with a good song, “Bling Bling”, and I gave him the opportunity.

These three songs worked and what I wanted happened: to expose Mexican music as no one else had done. We released them and people accepted it incredibly. Let’s just say I feel rejuvenated musically. This led to other opportunities. The Maluma collaboration happened and we went to Colombia to record a new version of “Bling Bling,” which today is being listened to by millions around the world.

Has taking a musical turn in your career affected your relationship with your regional Mexican colleagues?

On the contrary, now I have already received calls from big stars who at some point thought that Fidel had already sunk — but since they have seen the path I have taken, they are interested in working with me. I am not at odds with success, fame or money.

You could have stayed doing corridos, but you played the final card.

I’ve been doing this for 12 years, two on my own and 10 with Marca Registrada. The key is to adapt to what will give you work. It has always worked for me to adapt to the new, but I don’t stop doing my own thing.

Are you now working as a team with these new talents you discovered?

I made my group of artists with Sheeno and Octavio Cuadras, new talents that have a very nice respect for me. I have a lot of confidence in them, I want them to work and put the music of Mexico very high. I have told the guys that it is not about saying that the songs are mine because I am the well-known one; we are in the same boat together. Octavio has his place, as does Joaquín (Medina), Alex Favela and the Esquivel brothers. Everyone gets what they really deserve.

Are you working with them for the new Marca Registrada album?

Totally. The album, from RB Music/Interscope, is called The G.O.A.T (The Greatest Of All Time). There are 12 songs and an intro; it’s trap, it has nothing to do with norteño music. In the previous album, Corleone, I focused on what the people of Marca Registrada were asking for.

This production is very different — there are duets with guys that nobody knows, such as Angel Cervantes and Oslin, who co-wrote “Torai”, a song that I uploaded to TikTok and was doing very well when the label dropped the music. However, another one of our producers, Marcelo Rivs, who was working with Belinda, showed it to her, she liked it, we recorded it just last week and it was a great experience. It’s has a techno-bélico, dance vibe. Belinda is a very important figure; she is always in the news and that is very good.

Did you ever imagine yourself making house or electronic music?

Years ago, when I used to hang out in nightclubs, I thought how wonderful it would be to be as successful as the reggaetón heads with their music. Today, I can be proud that my songs are sung and danced to in those places.

You have a new collaboration with Julieta Venegas, how did this approach come about?

Julieta Venegas is an excellent person, I have always been a huge fan of hers. Today I can tell you that she is my friend. I had already recorded “Limón y Sal”, but I had the dream of doing something with her and, through my distributor, the contact was made, we sent her the demo and she liked it. Julieta told me that she wanted something in the style of Marca Registrada, very regional Mexican and she decided that it should be “Andar Conmigo.” We went to Buenos Aires [where she lives] to shoot the video, another unforgettable moment.

What other collaborations are coming up in the short term?

There are collaborations coming with Belinda, with Peso Pluma and Junior H, with whom we have recorded in 2022, 2023 and we already have this year’s song, so we have great expectations. Also with Xavi. Beyond the fact that he is the artist of the moment is that we connect. I did not record with Peso Pluma at his moment, it will be done now. With Edén (Muñoz) something is also coming, as well as with Alfredo Olivas; they are great friends of mine and referents of regional Mexican music.

Do you still consider yourself a regional Mexican artist despite all these new sounds and mixes you are experimenting with?

One hundred percent, I always will be. The fact that I do new things does not define me as an artist of another genre. All the music I make will always be Mexican, proudly.

This story originally appeared on Billboard

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