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Latin Musician Prince Royce On His DNC Appearance

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And finally today, if you were watching the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night, you probably caught Latin music star Prince Royce performing his 2010 hit "Stand By Me," a bilingual cover of the Ben E. King classic.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "STAND BY ME")

PRINCE ROYCE: (Singing) No llorare (ph) oh, I won't shed a tear por que se que tu estas junto a mi (ph). And darling, darling, stand by me...

MARTIN: At the end of his performance, Prince Royce reminded people to get out and vote this November. But the upcoming election isn't the only issue on Prince Royce's mind right now. He's also been speaking up to urge people to take the coronavirus seriously, and he would know. He's one of the millions of people in the U.S. who have had COVID-19. We wanted to hear more, so we gave him a call, and he's with us now from his home in Miami.

Prince Royce, welcome. Thank you for being with us.

PRINCE ROYCE: What's up? What's up? It's a pleasure to be here with you guys today.

MARTIN: Well, first of all, were you happy with your performance at the DNC? It was kind of fun - I mean, that long tracking shot. It was colorful. It was fun to watch. I mean, were you happy with it? And why did you want to be part of it?

PRINCE ROYCE: Yeah, I was really happy with it, actually. I thought it was pretty cool. And I think that we sometimes take - or I think not even sometimes - often take voting for granted, you know. And I think - you know, I have a group chat with my cousins, and we're talking. And I remember the last election, a lot of people were, like, oh, Hillary's going to win. Like, I'm not even going to vote, you know. And I just think it's so important to - doesn't even matter who you vote for, but just go out and vote and be heard.

MARTIN: Why do you think some people do take it for granted? And why don't you? Why do you not take it for granted?

PRINCE ROYCE: I think there's a lot of reasons why people think their votes don't count. You know, part of it also being, like, the electoral college and stuff like that, too, I think. You know, like, people probably feel like New York, for example - and I talk about New York because I'm from New York. Like, you know it's more of a Democratic state, so I feel like people feel like, oh, well, Democrats will win, so it'll get the points, you know.

There's just something that doesn't sit comfortable with me knowing that I didn't vote - for me, at least. I think about so many other countries. Like, my parents are from Dominican Republic. And I think about so many other countries, third-world countries and places that people don't even get to vote. And I just think we take it for granted, you know.

And I think that for me, I feel like we should - you know, we should be a part of history every time that we can be a part of history. And, you know, we read these textbooks, and we see what's happened in the past, and we see things that we didn't like in the past. And I think that it just - for me, it just doesn't sit well knowing that I wasn't a part of a decision that's so important every four years, you know.

MARTIN: Despite the fact that President Trump has had some very harsh things to say about people from certain backgrounds, the Democratic nominee, Joe Biden - he remains the choice of the majority of registered Hispanic voters, but he doesn't seem to garner the same level of enthusiasm even of, you know, Hillary Clinton four years ago or Barack Obama before that. And Mr. Trump still seems to be the choice of about, you know, 20% of Latino voters. Why do you think that is?

PRINCE ROYCE: It's weird because I do have - I have friends that are voting for Trump, you know. I got a lot of friends in Texas, and they're Mexican. And I asked them, you know, like, why - you know, why are you voting for Trump, you know. And he's - you know, they tell me, like, oh he's just so real. And they're, like, well, you should vote for Trump. Like, you're rich, you know (laughter). And these are, like, middle-class people that I know that have businesses and feel like voting for Trump is going to help their business.

And they're Hispanic. They're Mexican. And I said, but you don't feel - I've asked them, you don't feel like he's, like, targeting, like, your community and, like, you know, talking crap about, like, you're - where you're from. Oh, no - that's the Mexicans from Mexico. Like, I'm Mexican American. I don't even know. It's just weird, you know (laughter).

Some people feel that they'd rather not see change, I think. I think people - some people feel like - you know, especially people that are, I feel like, middle-class communities or people that are making more money, I feel like it's probably more beneficial for them to see Trump win. Like, you know...

MARTIN: Interesting.

PRINCE ROYCE: Here in Miami, there's a lot of Hispanics that are well off.

MARTIN: Well, what about the way...

PRINCE ROYCE: I come from a background that...

MARTIN: ...Yeah, the coronavirus, though - I mean, the fact - yeah, the way he's handled it?

PRINCE ROYCE: I personally think it's been a poor job. You know, I think people should definitely not support the way he's handled coronavirus. But some people are looking the other way. Some of these guys that I know think that coronavirus is fake even though I got coronavirus. You know, and I was telling them, guys, come on.

MARTIN: I was going to ask you about that. How are you doing, by the way? Do you mind if I ask? How are you doing?

PRINCE ROYCE: I'm good. I'm good. I was - I got it in June. I was quarantined for, like, three, four months. I was, like, not going out. I was cleaning packages. Then things opened up in Florida. And, of course, I'm, like, oh, well, let's go to dinner, you know. I went out twice. And I don't know where I got it. I don't know - and it was - I was outdoor seating, and I was washing my hands. I had a mask on. Obviously, I took my mask off to eat. And I thought I was being super-careful, you know.

The fever was only one day. Then I had headaches every day. I lost smell. I was just really tired. And then it kind of left. Like, it got slower the second week. By two full weeks, I was already, like, feeling pretty good. But I kept testing. I would test, like, positive and negative each week. And then, seven weeks in, I finally got two negatives.

MARTIN: Wow. That's crazy.

PRINCE ROYCE: Yeah. And then I actually donated plasma recently - yesterday, actually (laughter).

MARTIN: I wanted to ask you about that because you told the Associated Press that you - initially, you didn't want to talk about it. But then you decided you did want to talk about it. And why is that? Are you concerned that maybe people, particularly people your age, aren't taking it as seriously as they should?

PRINCE ROYCE: A hundred percent. At first, I was afraid. Like, it was this thing, like, oh, my God. Nobody should know. Then once I - like, once I felt better - and that was right around when cases started going crazy in Florida, and cases were already going crazy in New York. And I go to California a lot, too. So I just saw, like, a lot of cities that I love and that I enjoy and that I'm from and that my family's from and especially out here in Miami, people were out, like, partying, no masks, all of Florida open.

And I thought, like, the same thing that happened to me is going to happen to other people. So I felt that I had to upload that video to kind of just create awareness and be, like, hey, listen. Like, I just got it. I felt like - I got it so easy. I felt that I was doing a good job by wearing a mask. And, you know, so many people are dying from this.

And, yeah, if you're young, you might be cool, which is why all the young kids started going out. But, you know, what if you take it to your parents? Like, how are you going to feel? So I kind of felt that need to come out and speak about it.

MARTIN: That is musician Prince Royce talking about his appearance at the Democratic National Convention and his recovery from COVID-19. His latest album is "Alter Ego."

Prince Royce, thank you so much for talking with us. I wish you every good thing.

PRINCE ROYCE: Thank you, guys.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "STAND BY ME")

PRINCE ROYCE: (Singing) When the night has come, and the land is dark, y la luna, es la luz que brilla ante mi, miedo no, no tendre (ph), oh I won't, te asustare (ph) just as long as you stand, stand by me. And darling, darling stand, by me, oh stand... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.