Basketball and music kept Carlos Pina out of trouble when he was a kid growing up in the projects of Union City. He and his friends would rap in English and Spanish fusion, an art form that wasn’t known back then. Music was more of a hobby for Pina, who had his sights set on a teaching degree.
After college, a childhood friend convinced him to take the exam to become a police officer. He passed and was hired as a Union City police officer in 1999.
He has worked in the street crimes unit and narcotics and has gone undercover for the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office. Currently, he works the day shift.
“I grew up in Union City,” he says. “It’s my city and I love it.”
Pina clearly loves helping others. But his passion for music never left him. Five years ago, while in Miami, he ran into an old friend from Union City, Erick Morillo, an international DJ, music producer, and record label owner best known for his dance hit, “I Like to Move it.”
“That’s when the music bug re-bit me,” Pina says.
Pina started to work with Fulanito, a Dominican- American musical group that combines traditional merengue with other styles. As an assistant manager, he travelled with them to shows in Columbia and Paris, and familiarized himself with the music business. Then, he told himself, he had to do things on his own.
He started Pina Productionz and began to work with local artists such as Pofat and Renoly Santiago, known for his appearances in movies such as “Dangerous Minds” and “Con Air.” The two artists teamed up to record, “Your Love,” a song Pina produced.
In August of 2013, Pina, knowing the World Cup was coming, wrote a song about it called “Ole, Ole.” He reached out to a young Chilean artist named Kreone to record it. Pina met Kreone four years ago while working with Fulanito. Kreone had recorded a song called “Vida.” Fulanito recorded a remix of the song that featured Kreone. Pina was impressed with the young artist.
“He was a diamond in the rough,” he remembers.
A You Tube hit
He signed Kreone to Pina Productionz in September of 2013 and released “Ole Ole” in January 2014. The song received close to 8,000 hits on You Tube. Recently, Pina brought Kreone to the New York area.
“As the song says, ‘If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere,’ ” he said.
A new song, “Te Vas Conmigo,” was just released that is part of an album that Pina and Kreone are collaborating on, entitled “Mr. International.”
Five of the album’s songs have been completed to date with ten more songs planned, some of which are already written. World renowned DJ and producer, Jose´ Nunez, is working on two of the songs for the album.
Pina Productionz has been heavily promoting Kreone and the new song. The song is in heavy rotation by DJs in Aruba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Argentina, and Kreone’s native Chile. Kreone performed at a concert in Flushing Meadow Park in Queens, and, just recently, at Union City’s National Night Out Against Crime. Kreone is also scheduled to be interviewed at La Mega 97.9 FM, the number one Latin music station in New York.
As Pina continues to build his music business, he also works hard as a Union City police officer. He clearly enjoys the job and the people he works with. “It’s a great department with a great chief,” he said.
Pina knows how fortunate he is to love both of his careers. “I’m living my dream in the music industry thanks to the love and support from my fiancée, Paola, and my children Kristie, Bianca, Alyssa, and Noah and family and friends,” he said.
Pina tries to instill the importance of pursuing one’s passion to his children, ages one to 23. “I grew up in the projects,” he said. “My mother is still hard working. If you have that passion, never take no for an answer.”
To see the video of “Te Vas Conmigo” on You Tube, click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0dia4cKY2w and follow Pina Productionz on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.