The Orlando Sentinel Spotlight: Eddie Olivares
Eloísa Ruano González | Sentinel Staff Writer
July 27, 2008
As a singer in his self-titled band, Eddy Olivares spent much of life on the road, giving migrant workers a whiff of home. The Lake Wales resident entertained audiences with Mexican regional music and love ballads in bars, restaurants, radio stations and concert venues all over the country, including Texas, Minnesota, Washington state and Florida. He and his band, Eddy Olivares y Su Grupo, formerly Los Playboys de Eddy Olivares and Eddy Olivares y Su Grupo Amor, often performed on the 'Johnny Canales Show,' which broadcast entertainers from Mexico and the U.S., including the late Selena. During his 28-year performing career, Olivares, a former Spanish teacher in Texas, recorded more than 50 albums, which were popular among Tejanos and Mexicans. He quit touring and moved to Polk County five years ago to promote Mexican events through Mexico USA Promotions Inc. Although he no longer records, Olivares is returning to the airwaves with the purchase of WTWB Radio (1570 AM). The Spanish-language station plays Mexican regional music. Olivares recently spoke to Orlando Sentinel reporter Eloísa Ruano González.
How long have you been in the music industry?
I started playing back in 1974 -- professionally, getting paid. But actually when I was in elementary school in Mexico, I was in a trio. It's a three guitar [band]. A friend from my little hometown taught me how to play guitar. We played for school events, like Mother's Day and 16 de Septiembre [Sept. 16 is Mexico's Independence Day].
What instruments do you play?
Guitar. Bass. Keyboard. Drums, etc. . . . Percussion. I'm a singer, that's my main [talent]. I recorded 54 albums from 1975 to 2002.
When and why did you move to Florida?
Everything started to fall into place without going ahead and planning anything. Then I was offered to lease a station in Wauchula. I leased it for a few months. I thought I was here for a few months and stayed for five years.
Why did you purchase a radio station in Polk County?
We try to help people. We try to communicate. We speak their language. We come from a small ranch in Mexico, so we know how it is. We struggled to get here. I identify with most of the Mexicans, and I identify with the undocumented people . . . I was one at one time. That's why I tell them on my radio shows, 'Don't give up.'
Can you tell me more about the explosion of Mexican radio stations in Central Florida?
As Mexican people are getting into corporate businesses, the radio business has also been one of them -- being that there is such a demand [with] so many people coming to Florida and other states. [It's] not just Florida.
Eloísa Ruano González can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 407-931-5940.