VACAVILLE — Ray De La Paz won’t get much rest after he performs Saturday at Festival de la Isla.
The singer will head back home to New York for a few gigs, followed by some shows in Colombia. That’s the way he likes it.
“If I stop, I get frustrated,” he said. “I want to work or I start getting bored and depressed.”
With more than three decades in the music business, De La Paz is far from thinking about retirement. He’s traveled the world, won two Grammy awards and has met so many wonderful people, he said.
“I’m fortunate,” he said. “God has been good to me.”
While his voice is suited to many styles of music, De La Paz said he doesn’t have a preference.
“I really enjoy music overall,” he said. “Whatever the style. I don’t just stick to one.”
Born in New York City’s Spanish Harlem, De La Paz grew up in the Bronx. His mother encouraged him to take vocal lessons. In 1970, he made his debut at the Colgate Gardens with Eddie Palmieri’s La Perfecta featuring Ismael Quintana. He quickly became a favorite in the salsa community. About 10 years ago, De La Paz recorded with the Spanish Harlem Orchestra. The result was the Grammy-nominated album “Un Gran Dia en el Barrio.”
He said salsa has lost some of its glitter on the East Coast.
“You can count on one hand the clubs where Latinos . . . go and dance and have fun,” he said. “Before, I didn’t have to leave New York to work. I worked five or six days a week.”
Salsa is popular on the West Coast now. Its stronghold is in Europe, De La Paz said.
This will be his first time at Festival de la Isla. Those attending will hear some of the classic tunes he did with the Ray Barreto Orquesta.
TV viewers watched his son, Bryan Keith, finish in the top 10 on NBC’s “The Voice.”
“It’s a great catapult for young talent,” De La Paz said of the show and others like it. “It’s great free promotion. It gets their name out there and they are being seen by millions.”
His son is working on new material and is getting ready to come to the West Coast in hopes of launching his music career.
“I am so happy for him and so proud of him,” De La Paz said.
Also headlining this year is Maelo Ruiz, better known by his fans as Maelo.
The New York native started his formal music education when he was 16. When he was 19, Ruiz began singing lead for the Pedro Conga y Su Orquesta Internacional.
He won gold records in Puerto Rico and Colombia for salsa favorites such as “Quiero Volver,” “Si Supieras” and “Me Niegas Tanto Amor.”
Also performing at the festival is Orquesta Bomba Mix, an all-merengue group from Los Angeles. DJ Bosco will spin salsa tunes and Puerto Rican Bomba y Plena Dancers will showcase traditional Puerto Rican dances.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.