Trinidad Cardona was big in Brazil before gaining traction in the United States.
The artist, born and raised in Phoenix, has talent, hard work, and the internet to thank for his success in the South American country. Things started to blow up for the teenager when a video of him singing an a cappella rendition of the hook to his song “Jennifer” was uploaded to YouTube in late 2016. It went viral, with numerous requests pouring in for Cardona to finish the track.
Cardona gave the people what they wanted. In summer 2017, he released a full-length video for the song, which, at press time, had nearly 19 million views on YouTube. The song is an apology to its titular subject, who finds out her boyfriend cheated on her. Cardona is hesitant to get specific about the origins of the song, but he says it is based on personal events.
The new and improved version of “Jennifer” has more of a rhythm-and-blues feel with a backing track that recalls College Dropout-era Kanye West. The single comes to a close with a powerful bilingual rap that he added at the last minute.
“I thought, ‘I need to spice it up and give it some energy,’” Cardona recalls. “My homie was like, ‘Why don’t you add a rap?’ I threw it together in a couple of minutes.”
The success of “Jennifer” led to props from Ludacris and Gucci Mane. Soon, Cardona was signing a deal with Run-It-Up Records and Island Records. He has moved to Los Angeles and is excited to share his new material with his fans. Until then, he is touring with Alex Aiono, another artist who grew up in Phoenix. And Cardona’s eager to let his hometown crowd in on what Brazil has known for months.
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“I’m always excited to come home,” he says. “That hometown love, there isn’t anything like it.”
When you talk to Cardona, his confidence is apparent. It’s not the typical 18-year-old swagger, but sincerity and self-assurance. When asked where he gets it from, he brings up video games.
“Even if you are hurt by someone, you’re not done,” he says. “You get to play the game again and learn how to get through [that level]. For me to be happy with myself and my decisions, I have to be okay with what happens. Whatever comes my way, I have to accept and own up to it.”