By day, Anthony Quinones is a hard-working man and father. But onstage, Anthony is a force to be reckoned with, as he transforms into Boricua Posse, a Latin club artist with a presence that’s larger than life. We spoke to Anthony about becoming Boricua Posse, the challenges of being a single dad, and why he calls himself a “recycled teenager.”
Anthony, let’s talk about your beginnings before Boricua Posse.
Originally, I was a dancer for other groups. I danced for artists like Sandee and Tonasia, but I wanted to move up. The original version of Boricua Posse, which was done by Danny and Victor Vargas. Then he dropped the ball, and I had to pick up the pieces. I did it in a big way, though. I took over, and it’s been a great ride for me.
I came on in 1994, and since 1994, I’ve been doing this. I love what I do. I don’t even see it as a money thing. I see it more as an entertainment thing. I come from a broken family, both drug addict parents, and a lot of crazy stuff happened in my home. So when I started this, I had one focus in mind. My grandmother said, “Make the last name famous.” And I did. As Anthony, I’m anthony, and as Boricua Posse, I’m humbled to go on stage and do this, performing 40-45 shows a year.
I think what makes the song so memorable is the “Yo fellas!” line.
I remixed the original version of the song. I wouldn’t be comfortable with lyrics that weren’t mine. I didn’t want the same feel, since it’s me performing it. But the fans are expecting to hear it, so I let them sing it to their hearts’ content.
You have a tremendous presence on stage.
Oh yeah, I change. People ask me, “Who are you up there?” I tell them that I’m in charge up there. I’m the boss, but in a good way. I make sure to give the people what they want. And I’m still recording, and actively looking to perform. I’m not a Freestyle artist–I sing Latin club music, I’m a Latin club artist. The new song I have coming out is very Latin, but very club. Anyone who says that this song didn’t make them shake their ass, doesn’t have an ass!
How would you describe yourself as a dad?
That’s been another adventure for me. Before I had my son, I was running around, getting no sleep. I see posts on social media saying how hard it is being a single mom, and I know how hard it is. It’s no easier for men. I’ve been a single dad for 14 ½ years. I bust my ass. I had to be my son’s father, his friend, his confidant, his Band-Aid man, his therapist. I try to teach him to cook, so when he’s older, he can take care of himself. I’m not always going to be around, so I try to teach him that every day is an adventure.
I think being a survivor myself, I’ve done an amazing job with him. There wasn’t a time when I wasn’t there for him. I picked up the pieces where his mother couldn’t, unfortunately. It’s still hard. A lot of sleepness nights–he’s bronchial asthmatic. I’ve had to run out of the house 2:00, or 3:00 in the morning to take him to the hospital. Or we do asthma treatments at home. I have a video game heaven, so I’ve kept a childish vibe around the house, so he doesn’t just feel like I’m an older adult. There are times when I’ll play with him, dump a cup of cold water on him when he’s in the shower.
When we were shooting, you told me that you’re a recycled teenager.
I am a recycled teenager! I’m still into video games and I like to have fun.
And in addition to all that, you’ve been a chameleon when it comes to jobs.
I was one of the original welders on the Intrepid. I was actually a welder/metal grinder for the Intrepid in NYC, and when 9/11 happened, I lost my position there because who is going to go to a military museum during a disaster? I also did accounts receivable/accounts payable. I barbered for 15 years. I was a chef at Dean & Deluca’s–I’ve worked all over the place and done a little of everything. Because I always tell my son, “If the money doesn’t come from here, it has to come from over here. It has to come from somewhere. You can’t wait for it to fall in your lap.” I have employment ADHD. I want to be able to say, “I can do that.”
Let’s talk about your radio show.
Boricua Posse radio started about 3-4 months ago. I was on another station before, and then off of that, I’m on two stations. I run them both concurrently. United By Music and Boricua Posse Radio. I started it just to play music. I wanted listeners to know that they don’t have to pull out an old cassette to hear The Commodores or Kool and the Gang. When I came here from Puerto Rico when I was younger, I didn’t know any English. My mother dated a black man, and he listened to soul music. It felt good, and I learned the lyrics, and the music stayed with me. I play oldies on my station, 70s, 80s, and Freestyle. I play it on Friday.
You wear your glasses when you perform. But what some people might not realize is that you wear them because you have epilepsy.
Yes, and I’ve had a few shows when I did get sick. Epilepsy is a form of euphoria, whether it’s a heat flash or you’re euphoric. Everything seems like groovy times but it’s not. I did a show in Philly once, and I was feeling it coming on. I performed quick, and my friends grabbed me, and they brought me off stage.
Did you pass out?
I felt like I was going to. There were a lot of lights in there, and that’s why I wear my sunglasses. Everyone thinks, “Oh, Anthony wants to come in wearing his Versace glasses,” but that has nothing to do with it. It’s the strobe lights; it keeps me safe, and it also keeps other people safe. I have grand mal seizures, where if you try to touch me, and I touch you, I’m going to hurt you without realizing it. They seizures are like kicking and punching and screaming. It’s like getting kicked by a mule.
Let’s talk about your plans for the future.
Currently, I work with Big Daddy Entertainment, which is a lupus-focused entertainment company in NJ. We do a lot of work for the lupus community. I got involved because they booked me to perform, and after more shows, they were like, “You should be part of the company.” So I’m the Entertainment Director for the company.
You like the hustle and go.
If I had show every day, I’d be there. I’m not a settler; I come from a family of doers. I can’t sit back and say, “This is it.” No, there has to be more. If you’re going to be a cook, be a great cook. I like to have a lot going on. I have a book coming out by the end of this year. I got signed by an independent company which picked me up for the book and a movie. That’s what I’m looking to do now.
You’ve got a lot going on. My head is spinning.
I’m a force! But really, I’m very appreciative to all the fans, DJs, and clubs I’ve worked with. I can only say to you that over the 6,000 performances I’ve done, I feel like I’m on my 3rd one. I get nervous and scared….I wonder if I wore the right cologne! My key focus is always to entertain. The day that I die, I want them to say, he was crazy, funny, he could cook, but on stage, he was another person.