On his new album, “Roy,” California artist Roy Lucian Baza pays homage to his Guam roots on the third track, “Hits Differently.”
“We have a little shout out to the island,” the 26-year-old said. “I knew I wanted to include some kind of bilingual aspect with ‘Hits Differently’. I wanted to find a way to incorporate ‘Håfa ådai todo maolek, how are you?’
Baza, who splits his time between Los Angeles and San Francisco, explores almost every musical genre on the 13-track album, which was released on Friday.
It’s considered alternative, but there are also pop, singer-songwriter, punk, adult contemporary, R&B, soul, and country tracks.
“It’s literally every genre on this record while paying homage to Guam,” the 26-year-old said.
“I would like to try and sprinkle more of our island language in the mainland style of music just to give little hints to the wider world as to what the CHamoru language is,” he added.
Baza, who has three sisters, was born and raised in California. Her parents, Roy Camacho Baza and Merlin Paco Baza, moved to the Bay Area in the 1980s.
His relatives on the island include his uncle, Rudy Paco, mayor of Mongmong-Toto-Maite, and his cousin, Krystal Paco-San Agustin, the governor’s spokesperson.
His love for music started early, at age 13, when he began to pursue a music career professionally.
He entered the music scene under the stage name Dom Baza, working with such luminaries as Grammy-winning producers Doug Chancellor. His first album under this name, “Time is All I Have”, was released in 2012 with 10 tracks.
Two years later, however, his music career was put on hold as he was diagnosed with glaucoma. After undergoing seven surgeries and while continuing his treatment, he resumes what he loves most: creating music.
He now performs under his first name, with “Roy” as his first album.
Work on the project began in 2019, but new challenges, including the global pandemic, got in the way.
Despite the loss of his grandfather and testing positive for COVID-19, he continued to work with creative partner and producer Ben Wilkins at Ranger Station Studios in Malibu, California to bring the project to fruition.
“As a creative and as an artist, I’m grateful for the inspiration that (adversity) has given me – things that I never thought would come to the surface without being quarantined and locked down. away from the world,” he said. mentioned.
The artist hopes listeners will be inspired to embark on their own healing journeys.
“I made this record in hopes that it might help people,” he said. “I was sick for a while and was diagnosed with glaucoma. I had seven major eye surgeries and hundreds of days of treatment just to get back on my feet.
“Roy: The Movie”
As if a debut album wasn’t enough, Roy Lucian Baza also made a 40-minute film to bring some of the songs from his album to life. “Roy: The Film,” premiered April 6 in San Francisco, California.
He hired New York filmmaker Anthony Rojas to be the creative director, script co-writer, and executive producer for the film and album.
“He’s one of the best filmmakers out there,” Baza said. “From the moment I received the storyboard for ‘Scars That Bind’, I knew it was something more. I also wanted people to have multiple outlets for healing, whether it was at the level of disc or film.
The film brings seven songs from the album to life. Roy Lucian Baza portrays “Roy Paco”, Austin Schmitt portrays “Austin Charles”, Chris Wirth portrays “Theo Schible”, Courtney Bojorquez portrays “Carmen Paco” and Braeden Harris portrays “Brady Camacho”.
The film will be released on Vimeo on April 15 for rental and purchase, he said.
As a creative, he observed that CHmorus and Pacific Islanders are not adequately represented in the Americas.
“One of my main goals is to try to take Guam down a more traditional path,” he said. “I hope to raise awareness that we exist and that our culture is just as important to other cultures.
Growing up in a Chamoru family, his parents made sure to instill their culture in him and within their family.
“I hope it shows that even though I’m on the mainland doing this stuff, I sprinkle my Guam roots in the little things throughout my career,” he said.
He encourages aspiring singer-songwriters in Guam to keep pushing, because their voice matters.
“Write, create and soak up our culture, because if you want to succeed on the continent, don’t be afraid to show who you are and where you come from,” he said. “We are equally important and we deserve a place at the table as well.”