MIAMI – Peruvian-born rapper Nando Chang – whose first album “Cholito Samurai” comes out this week – said on Wednesday that his passion for music is rivaled only by his love of cooking.
His music is as “spicy” as the food he cooks, Chang told EFE in an interview at his family’s restaurant in Miami – which specializes in Japanese cuisine with a Peruvian influence – adding that even a Latin Grammy nomination would not lead him to give up deboning salmon fillets.
“To me, both have always been equally as important, because cooking was a necessity, a livelihood,” the 28-year-old Chang said. “My father was always in the kitchen, and music was always there. I have never been able to separate one from the other. They both have always been part of my life.”
Chang also said that he was 16 when he first walked into a kitchen to wash dishes, about the same age he was when he started listening to hip-hop.
“Like any other immigrant family, we had nothing,” he said of his family’s experience moving to the US from Peru.
He started recording songs at home, all the while hearing his then fellow cooks saying, “Look, Nandito knows how to cut fish.”
Four years ago, Chang set out to release a professional record and, after signing with Universal Music, his first album “Cholito Samurai” will soon see the light of day.
Chang works 60 hours a week at the restaurant plus another 40 at the studio, which he does not consider to be work at all, saying that it is like coming back home from work to help his sister and father with chores.
“I love what I do,” he added.