It was 2011, and Puerto Rican singer-songwriter Sie7e had just won the Latin Grammys’ best new artist award following the success of his hit single “Tengo Tu Love,” a track off his self-titled 2006 album. The music artist, born David Rodríguez Labault, had become known for his feel-good, tropical songs, and he seemed to be at the top of his game. He was doing what he loved, was getting the recognition he deserved, and had been signed with big-time label Warner Music Latina after the breakthrough success of his album “Mucha Cosa Buena.” But what Sie7e wasn’t prepared for was for things to take a turn for the worse.
Although Sie7e’s album “Mucha Cosa Buena” spent six weeks on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart, today, the artist admits he wasn’t prepared for the brutal reality of working in the music industry. He felt the pressure to compromise his art for a more standard, pop-like sound. He struggled with the pressure to please everyone and was turned off by the hypocrisy he was witnessing on the business end. Slowly but surely, his success began to decline. The opportunities stopped coming, and money started to run out. Sie7e eventually found himself broke, devastated, and blindsided by it all.
“There were a lot of mistakes and errors that I made, and I think that many things were bound to happen because I wasn’t really ready.”
“There were a lot of mistakes and errors that I made, and I think that many things were bound to happen because I wasn’t really ready,” Sie7e tells POPSUGAR. “Back then, I thought I was on top of the world. I thought I was on top of my world. I was on that path. I thought that was it.”
The singer made his full album debut in 2006 with his self-titled album under the independent label Musica Estival. Then in 2008, Sie7e released his second album, “Para Mi,” in conjunction with Machete Music. He went on to release his third album, “Mucha Cosa Buena,” in 2011 under his own label at the time, La Buena Vida (The Good Life), before eventually getting signed to Warner Music Latina. His story of making it big became an extraordinary story of resilience. It was the kind of story that would inspire many to believe that with hard work and consistency, anyone could achieve their wildest dreams. But Sie7e admits that in many ways, he was a novice when it came to the business side of things and even lacked the team and support needed to really thrive.
“My beloved wife was my manager because she had to because I didn’t have a proven industry manager at the time. I had a couple of people that were interested, but it didn’t really go that far, and when my career blew up, it was just us,” he says. “I didn’t realize that my career was going down because I was traveling so much and I was doing so many interviews . . . Things were happening. I was doing more music. But the rest of the music didn’t have the same punch.”
Sie7e came to the realization that the success he experienced with “Tengo Tu Love” wasn’t going to happen with every song he put out. The fading success and the debt collectors showing up at his door eventually led to his issues with his wife and kids, he says, leading him down a path of distress and depression.
“I lost everything I had twice. I lost my home the first time. Everything we had — we even had to sell the car back then for ‘Tengo Tu Love’ and then afterward everything went to sh*t again and I couldn’t buy a new house. We’re still renting,” he says.
After 2018, Sie7e decided to walk away from his music career to look within and focus on healing himself and building a stable foundation for his family.
“Part of that vanishing of mine, it seemed like I was killing my career, and I was. But I was saving something else on the inside that had to be saved at the moment,” he says. “It was myself. It was my relationship with my wife. It was being there for my daughter. It was being there for my son and being there for them in the moments when they really needed me. They needed a dad. Not just some dude that would give them money and run away. They needed a dad.”
After a few very hard years, the universe was ready to give Sie7e another chance. Three years ago, he received a call from Eduardo Cabra, a former member of the Puerto Rican reggaeton group Calle 13, with opportunities to collaborate. The work ranged from writing music for commercials to songwriting for other music artists and even creating film scores.
Eventually, Sie7e was hired to write two of the songs on Cabra’s self-titled 2021 EP, and things slowly started taking off from there. Sie7e was making money but also feeling musically inspired again. He was also focusing on his well-being — he started meditating, doing yoga and breath work, and eating vegan.
“All of these things really put me in the zone where I realized a lot of things: nothing matters. It doesn’t matter but now matters. This present — it’s all we got. So enjoy the ride and be joyful,” he says.
Creating new music was a big part of bringing Sie7e — who today refers to his old self as a zombie — back to life. “When I started writing music again, I saw the shine in his [Cabra] eyes when he was like, ‘This is good.’ It was getting that validation from someone I love so much and admire so much. It helped,” he says. “I surrendered and decided I’m going to be happy with anything. And then it came. I wrote this album that I thought no one would hear.”
Sie7e is referring to his latest album, “El Día Antes del Día,” which dropped on March 7. It’s his comeback album and what he likes to refer to as his rawest and most personal work. It explores various sounds and genres — but all with his signature tropical flair. And it’s a reflection of his career downfall; in fact, the single of the same name is all about what Sie7e went through. It’s the song that inspired the entire album, while songs like “Sin Ropa” bring back the feel-good vibes Sie7e has always been known for. Others like “Yo No Sé Bailar” are a mix of both: “It’s sad lyrics on a happy song because I was feeling sad at the moment and I was trying to be happy,” he explains.
Since the album dropped, Sie7e has been in the best of spirits, excited for where the music might take him next. His hope is that his own journey will inspire others to connect and look deeper within themselves.
“The journey has taught me that I don’t know anything and that I don’t need to. I’m just grateful,” he says. “I hope that there are songs that make people smile and there are songs that make people cry and make people want to connect. This is all about connection.”
Image Source: Veronica Vega