Rising reggaetón star RMAND is used to doing everything on his own. Back in the Dominican Republic, he’d write his songs alone, record by himself, and book shows independently. But now, RMAND (pronounced awr-mand) has an army, led by Tainy and Lex Borrero’s NEON16 label, “looking to elevate” everything he does.
In 2021, he released the track “Diskreto,” which went viral on TikTok. RMAND’s career quickly launched to high gear after he competed on Netflix’s La Firma earlier this year. The show, judged by Nicki Nicole and Rauw Alejandro, sought after the next big thing in reggeatón. Even though he didn’t win the competition, he came out of the show with a record deal with NEON16.
“I’ve always admired those guys [Borrero and Tainy] and to be on their team is very special,” he tells Rolling Stone days after filming a collaboration with the NFL. “They’re the future. It’s a huge thing for me, but for DR too.”
Last month, RMAND dropped De Vuelta al Mundo, a “sexy R&B”-infused four-track EP. The reggaeton songs close out the chapter of his “outer space sound” EP En Otro Mundo, which dropped late last year.
“I wanted people who heard the last one to connect the two. It’s aterrizando in what I’m doing now. I don’t limit myself,” he says of his new sound. “I just want to let people know that I’m not afraid of showing any side of me artistically. I was a little scared because I’m never explicit in my songs, but I gotta show people I can do everything.” (He recently released a live session of his track “Xplicit Content.”)
RMAND was born in Manhattan, but moved to the Dominican Republic with his family as a toddler. He lived with his grandmother throughout his childhood and attended church every Sunday, where he was entranced by the prédica’s music. “I used to love watching the drummer at church and that’s where my love for music was born,” he says.
After church, he’d hang out with the drummer and learn how to play from him. He loved the instrument so much that his parents got him his first drum kit. (It didn’t last too long, because he was banging the toms too hard, he remembers with a laugh. His grandpa had to make him a makeshift drumkit out of household items instead.) “I realized this is what I want to do,” he says. “I wanted people to hear my voice.”
RMAND found success in 2021 when he posted a verse to a Jhayco and Yandel song, which ended up turning into a fully recorded song titled “Diskreto.” The song has garnered nearly 13 million streams on Spotify.
Lately, RMAND has also been spending a lot of time with other massive urbano artists such as Zion & Lennox and Rauw Alejandro, writing for their own projects. “When you work for other artists, you see music from a different perspective and you learn a lot from that,” he says. “I can see with my own eyes how they do things and how they think.”
RMAND wrote three songs for Playa Saturno, including “Hoy Aquí” and standout “Cuando Baje El Sol.” “I remember listening to Rauw since those SoundCloud times with Lyanno,” he says. “To be here and say I’ve written for him is a huge thing for me… It makes me realize I’m on the right path.”
The next project he’s working on is “way different” from the music he’s released so far and it features a bunch of big collaborations that he says are “top secret.” He also hopes to record some salsa records in the future.
His goal, he says, is to “bring the Dominican Republic to the next level.” “People only see us for dembow,” he says. “I want people to know that we make a lot of different music and it deserves a chance too.”