MERIDEN — When Windy Collado was a teen, he became interested in music. He enjoyed rock, but his Latino roots led him to focus on bachata music.
Today, the 39-year-old guitarist and city resident plays on music tours with a variety of artists, many who are prominent across Latin America.
In 1997 he started a band with cousins and friends. They recorded some albums together and were signed to a record company in 2000, but the band broke up in 2002.
Some of the band members moved on to groups that became popular such as Aventura and Xtreme.
In 2003 Collado started to tour as a guitar player with different artists who mainly play bachata, a fast or slow, sensual beat that features acoustic or electric guitar. Bachata dance frequently accompanies bachata music.
Collado’s most recent tour with Tony Dize ended in mid December in Hartford. His next tour, which will be with Xtreme, starts this month.
He recalled having an “amazing” and “crazy feeling” when he was able to play for three years with El Chaval de la Bachata, who he became a fan of at an early age.
“When I joined Chaval’s band that’s when I was like ‘oh my God I feel like I made it’ because Chaval is a different level,” he said.
Collado moved from the Dominican Republic to New York when he was just a one year old.
In 2006, Collado moved to Meriden and in 2009 he became the audio engineer at United Rhythms Dance Studio on Powers Drive. The school has a studio where Collado brings artists to record music. He also oversees music in the shows and events put together by United Rhythms.
He feels proud he’s able to spread a bit of the bachata and Dominican culture through his job, noting he is the first Dominican and bachata guitarist sponsored by Godin, an instrument company based in Canada.
Lyzbeth “La Nena de la Bachata” Ramos, of Meriden, has known Collado for over 13 years. She is a dance instructor at United Rhythms and a bachata singer.
“I have shared the stage with him as my lead guitarist and have spent countless hours in the recording studio watching him create beautiful melodies as a producer,” Ramos said. “He's played for the biggest bachata artists, toured with greats, and is still the humblest person you will ever meet. I am proud to call him my friend.”
Eric “Bori” Rivera, a music director, guitar player and composer who lives in New York, knows Collado from the bachata community. Collado has also performed with Rivera.
Rivera said he has seen Collado evolve through the years.
“He is a very good guitarist, Windy is really good,” he said.
Touring, traveling, seeing new places and meeting new people is Collado’s favorite part of his career.
He said that each artist has its own style and adjusting to each artist and their music can be challenging. But Collado takes that challenge in a positive way as it enables him to learn new things, he said.