Inspired by his personal tragedy, urban singer Jalil López takes bachata to a new level.

After the death of his mother, 16-year-old Jalil López started running with a bad crowd on the streets of Newark, New Jersey. “When my mom passed I was doing so many negative things… then, three boys were killed in front of me and I thought: ‘this isn’t life.’” With the help of his dad, God and music, Jalil turned his life around—even after his father died a couple of years later. “God and my parents are the reason why I won’t ever take a wrong path.”

Now, Jalil, of Honduran and Puerto Rican descent, has two R&B records under his belt:“Headed to the Top” and “America’s Most Wanted.” He is ready to do the reverse crossover with his new bachata album. “If I’m putting my emotions into a song, I figured ‘why not do it for my people?’” His first single is “Princesa Mia” which he feels will resonate with his fans. “It’s a love story where a girl’s father misjudges the boy. It happened to me.” The album also includes pop reggae songs as well. “I just want to send a message to everybody that no matter what people say, you can do it.”