Luis Fonsi has another number one single – and it’s all thanks to this guy! PipoBeats is the Chilean-American singer/songwriter behind the quarantine banger Sway. The rhythmic island-fused jam topped Apple’s iTunes charts just one day after the singer/songwriter took home the win on NBC’s Songland. And it’s no surprise, it was perfect for the Despacito singer. “When people tell me, ‘I heard your song and that was the one,’ it’s like the stars aligned in a way that’s unexplainable,” Pipo tells HOLA! USA. “It was just being at the right place at the right time.”
Pipo, whose birth name is Filippo Gabella, grew up in Los Angeles, California and has been making music since he was eight. “Working so hard to be in a position where I was able to take that song to Luis Fonsi,” he adds. “It was such a blessing.” His secret to success, outside of being super talented, is manifestation. “Four years ago, I started writing [things] down. ‘What do I want to do and how am I going to accomplish this? Do I want a number one song? Do I want to work with Luis Fonsi?’ It’s a complete manifestation and the biggest blessing ever.”
In this edition of New, Now, Latinx, Pipo tells us how manifestation landed him a number one song for one of his inspirations, what he learned from some of the biggest names in music, and why he considers J Balvin his “dad.”
HOLA! USA: Who is PipoBeats?
“PipoBeats is a very energetic young man at the age of 22 years old, who is constantly looking for ways to self-improve and make other people happy. [Music] has always been in there, and I couldn’t fight the fact that God has given me this talent that I was supposedly good at.”
There’s a really cute story with your name. Can you share it with us?
“When my sister and I were babies she had a hard time saying Filippo, and I had a hard time saying Constantina, so she would call me Pipo, and I would call her Cortita. That’s why I wanted to put PipoBeats. Then when I started doing shows, when they started chanting, the alliteration of the PipoBeats at the end, I was like ‘okay we can stick this out.’ I guess the audience gave me that. Connection to the audience and family.”
Do you play any instruments and are you a trained musician?
“I play a lot of instruments. I’ve been playing the drums for the longest time. I picked up the drums, guitar and piano. I kind of pick things up and then drop them simultaneously. I have no clue how to read music. I have relative pitch where you can listen to a pitch and understand if it works or not. When I write a song, it allows me to see if it works or not.”
Do you prefer to be onstage performing or behind the scenes creating?
“On stage. But then again, the entire package to me is so intriguing. I think of each one of those categories like one of my kids, and it’s like asking which kid do you love the most. To me the entire package is such a blessing.”
We all know that Fonsi is one of your biggest influences, who are some others?
“I’m always listening to music, and I’ll always get into these certain funks where I switch genres. One week I’ll be obsessed with country music; then I’ll be obsessed with rap; then I’ll listen to classical and want violins. With Sway it’s just so uncanny how it just so happens to be that the very song that inspired [Despacito] got to the man himself. It’s crazy. I love songs that hit. Very memorable hits.”
You crossed working with Fonsi, is there anyone else you want to get in the studio with?
“I would love to be able to work with a lot of different artists. I love Justin Bieber. I love Sia; I love Daddy Yankee, J Balvin. I feel like I’m J Balvin’s son. I’ve been listening to him for so long. If I was sitting in the room with him, I would be able to give him a song that would fit his needs 100 percent.”
Unlike other Latin artists, Balvin included, you don’t want to sing in solely Spanish. Is there a reason for that?
“The reality is my roots are English and Spanish so it works out just fine. My parents were born in Chile, and I was born in Los Angeles, California. I’m in love with the idea that I have that blessing. I can go two routes. If I don’t take advantage of that what am I doing? I do perform in English and Spanish.”
Let’s talk about Sway. How did you manifest that moment, and how did you celebrate it?
“The first thing is to understand the concept that this was in a weird way 100 percent planned. On my episode, I had a piece of paper with my goals. Then the song got to Luis Fonsi, and then the song got to number one. It was exactly what I had written down on this piece of paper. It felt like a puzzle piece that I’ve been missing for seven years, and I found it and put it on the piece that was missing. It feels extremely right. It feels like it’s been a long time coming.”
Is there key advice that you took from Ryan Tedder, Luis or any of the other Songland coaches?
“I picked up pieces from so many. Just the kind words and reassurance. Every single one of their comments reflected that thing about me. They were just saying extremely nice things, that they wanted me to continue spreading my light, that they were so excited about the energy I was bringing to the table. It’s like I was looking in the mirror and got an exact reflection of who I was and I’m glad they saw that. I’m so grateful for the way that I’ve been impacted in my career.”
Right now, something I’m really proud of, it’s the music video for a song called Hate It. The concept of the song is about loving somebody so much that it makes you uncomfortable that you hate it. We have a new song coming soon. This song is called I’m Thinking When, which I wrote with one of the contestants on Songland, Caroline Kole. It’s going to be crazy.”