Chicago proud: Carlito Olivero is ready to represent Chicago at Pride Fest
Tue. June 10, 2014 by Denny Patterson
I'll continue to fight with them [LGBT community].
Olivero was first featured on the MTV reality series Making Menudo in 2007, and was a part of the Latin Boy band until 2009. After moving to Los Angeles., he appeared in several singing and acting events and starred in the 2012 film, We the Party.
ChicagoPride.com received the chance to chat with Olivero about Chicago Pride Fest, his time on X-Factor and what the LGBT community means to him.
DP: (Denny Patterson) So Carlito, tell us, what part of Chicago do you originally hail from?
CO: (Carlito Olivero ) I grew up on the Northwest side around the Humboldt Park area. Born near Montrose and Ashland, but grew up in the Humboldt Park area. There's a large majority of Puerto Ricans and African Americans there. People always know what Humboldt Park is because there's a huge Puerto Rican flag made out of metal in the middle of the street division.
DP: How do you feel about performing at Chicago's Pride Fest this year?
CO: I'm excited! Growing up, I've done a lot of shows in my lifetime. I've gone from doing shows with two people to an enormous crowd. No matter how many people are in the crowd, I am blessed and grateful. I'm proud to represent my city. Chicago has its own vibe and I'm always up for doing a performance here. Plus, I love seeing my family and friends. No matter what event, if it has anything to do with your city, represent and be proud to have the opportunity to perform there.
DP: Is this your first ever Pride Fest performance?
CO: Yes, this is my first Pride Fest! I have a big gay following and have a lot of really close friends who are gay as well. I'm a big supporter of everyone. They've been supportive of me before X-Factor, and they are loyal friends, so this is pretty exciting. I have been offered to do some other PrideFests like LA and Florida, but it's special that my first one is being Chicago. I can have friends and family come out and see how it actually is.
DP: Besides the fact that your first Pride Fest is on your home turf, what else are you looking forward to the most?
CO: Definitely seeing my family and friends. I'll probably fly in a couple of days beforehand just for them. Also, the chance to see my Chicago fans. To be honest with you, as an artist, we don't really know what these faces look like. We see all of those who are following us on Twitter. We see the downloads and fan art. We know we have supporters but can't really put a face to them. Sometimes it's hard to believe that these people are supporting us. To take the time out of their busy day just to download a song, make a collage, buy a ticket etc. - it's unbelievable. I'm excited to see all the new faces that will be there and hopefully will walk away with some new fans. Chicago best turn out!
DP: You are a man of many talents. What can we expect from you at Chicago Pride Fest?
CO: Definitely expects a great show. As a Latino, it's necessary to put some Spanish in my style. That can also define my music and the path I'm going in. Consider me the Latino Chris Brown or Justin Timberlake! Everyone has their own style that no one can duplicate. I live for the height of performances. I'll be putting on a show just as if we're at the club, except it's outside.
DP: What does the LGBT community personally mean to you?
CO: To be honest with you, the LGBT community is like everyone else. They are hands down great people who spread love, happiness and awareness.
DP: Do you yourself identify as LGBT? Many are curious.
CO: [Laughs] No, I'm not. Like I said, some of my closest friends are part of the LGBT community and I'm a big supporter of everyone. At least 40 percent of my fan base is LGBT. I have nothing but the up most respect and support for them. I'll continue to fight with them. They are sweethearts who have continuously pushed me reach my goals.
DP: Have you participated in any kind of LGBT activism before?
CO: I did partake in the No Hate Campaign. Other than that, there hasn't been a lot of huge things like in Cali. I would definitely be up for it though. I would definitely like to do a lot more festivals as far as awareness and getting the LGBT name out there.
DP: You are probably most well known by your appearance on The X-Factor. Tell us about your experience with that.
CO: To be honest, I'm still not use to it. I'm really not. I've been doing this professionally for awhile now and it's been a struggle. Before the show, I was a struggling artist working on an album, saving money to stay in LA and going to studios to record in hopes of getting a record deal. I worked at Starbucks and there's a lot of ups and downs to being an artist. There is never a sure thing and you never know will happen within a year. I moved to LA from Chicago thinking everything will happen instantly and it's been a span of 4-5 years. Working two full time jobs when all I wanted to do was entertain. While doing shows in Chicago, I had maybe 13-20 fans. Not many really knew the name Carlito Olivero. X-Factor took me to a whole new level of happiness. I had the time of my life. I'm now being stopped everywhere I go and I'm not use to it. I was just an average Joe. I'm excited to fly and I no longer work at a coffee shop. It's exciting to tour and go to all these cities and countries I never thought I would go to. I'm having the time of my life and want to inspire people and those within the Latino community. Growing up in a rough part of Chicago with a pretty bad crime rate, I was in one of those neighborhoods that seemed to be going down the drain hole. It gets better. I want to be an inspiration for those kids from the same hood. There's a city outside of Chicago, out side of your comfort zone. I was just a kid with a dream. If I can do it, so can you.
DP: So what's next for Carlito Olivero?
CO: Right now it's recording my album and releasing my first song. It can be considered like the male Latino version of "Clarity." I'll be releasing that and behind the scenes webisodes and episodes. I'm going to keep releasing good music and performing. Keeping the grind.
Carlito Olivero performs the North Stage at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 22. Chicago Pride Fest, which is organized by the Northalsted Business Alliance, runs June 21-22 on Halsted Street between Addison and Grace. A $10 donation is recommended. The Chicago Pride Parade is the following Sunday, June 29 at noon.
Chicago Pride Fest Schedules: Saturday, June 21 | Sunday, June 22
Interviews: Alex Newell | Betty Who | Carlito Olivero | Jennifer Hudson
Headliners: Alex Newell | Amber | Betty Who | Carlito Olivero | Catfight | Crush on the Radio | Girlband | Jennifer Hudson | Kaci Battaglia | Mya | Thelma Houston
ChicagoPride.com Pride Guide
Interviewed by Denny Patterson
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