JEFF SCOTT SOTO Explains How He Dealt With Racist Attitudes Early In His Music Career

February 21, 2022

In a new interview with the "(Don't) Quit Your Day Job" podcast, Jeff Scott Soto, the acclaimed American hard rock singer of Puerto Rican descent, was asked if he ever felt like he didn't get a fair shake or people treated him "shitty" just because of the slightly darker hue of his complexion. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Absolutely. Of course I went through it, especially in the '80s when this style of the hair bands, or whatever you wanna call them, and even the genre was flooded with so many bands that were… a lot of their frontmen were of Caucasian descent and had green eyes or blue eyes and they had blond hair. I didn't fit in that mold… Of course, there were exceptions. Stephen Pearcy [RATT] is Spanish. I believe Vince Neil [MÖTLEY CRÜE] is half Spanish, but they didn't come across with that look as much as I did. And [I thought], 'I need to shift how people see me first because my talent isn't gonna do it enough; it's not gonna do it alone. I have to make sure that I kind of fit and look the image as well as singing it,' because the way I looked when I was with Yngwie, it would not have worked for me in terms of trying to get and gain that side of notoriety had I not done something about it. So I was doing things like adding the bleached hair on portion of my hair, I grew it out longer, I was wearing different clothing. I tried to remold myself to kind of fit musically what I was trying to rebrand myself."

Soto is a man that needs virtually no introduction to any discerning melodic rock fan. Jeff launched his career at the young age of 18 years old in tremendous fashion as the lead vocalist for Yngwie Malmsteen's debut album, "Rising Force", and the sophomore effort, "Marching Out". That first step into the spotlight has led to a career that has seen Jeff play and work with an outstanding number of artists and genres from the AOR of EYES and TAKARA, to the hard rock and metal of TALISMAN, AXEL RUDI PELL, SOUL SIRKUS, and, of course, his time with the legendary JOURNEY. Jeff has also maintained a solo career over the past decades, while also recently joining up with the progressive metal supergroup SONS OF APOLLO.

Last October, Soto released his latest solo project, "The Duets Collection, Vol. 1". For this album, Soto wanted to do a career retrospective and re-record some of his favorite songs from his storied career, but with the twist that he invited friends to join him on duets of said songs. So, not only did he re-record these songs with his musical friends Jorge Salan, Howie Simon (guitars),Leo Mancini (guitars),Tony Dickinson (bass) and Edu Cominato (drums),but he called in some of his fellow rock friends/vocalists — including Erik Mårtensson (ECLIPSE, W.E.T.),Eric Martin (MR. BIG),Johnny Gioeli (HARDLINE),Deen Castronovo (REVOLUTION SAINTS, JOURNEY),Nathan James (INGLORIOUS),Russell Allen (SYMPHONY X),Renan Zonta (ELECTRIC MOB),Dino Jelusick (TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA),Mats Levén (CANDLEMASS, TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA),BJ (SPEKTRA, SOTO) and Aliro Netto (SHAMAN, QUEEN EXTRAVAGANZA) — to create a unique duets album.

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