The Latin Tribute to Michael Jackson
Antonio “Tony” Succar (Lima, May 18, 1986) is a Peruvian-American percussionist, composer, arranger, band leader and producer.
Succar was born in Lima, Peru. When he was two years old, his family emigrated to the United States and settled in Miami, Florida.
Among his relatives were several musicians who encouraged Succar to develop his own musical interests. The family’s musical tradition began with his paternal great-grandparents, Mexican composer Lauro D. Uranga and Spanish flamenco dancer Adelina Esteve Gregory.
Succar’s father, Antonio F. Succar, is a pianist and his mother Mimy Succar Tayrako Sakaguchi is a singer. Since he was 3 years old Tony started playing in The Peruvian Cajon, when Succar was 13, he started playing drums with his parents’ band when they played at weddings and other private and corporate functions, mainly in Miami, Florida, USA.
Succar attended Miami Sunset Senior High School in Miami-Dade County. At the time his ambition was to be a professional soccer player, and he played on several teams, including his high school team when it won the 2004 state championship. He later tried to earn a soccer scholarship to Florida International University. Unable to get a scholarship, he asked his father for study advice.
The advice he received was to apply to FIU’s School of Music.
Seeking an interview with the school’s drum instructor, he ended up auditioning for the Latin jazz ensemble and was quickly accepted. Succar earned a Bachelor of Arts in Jazz Performance in 2008 and went on to study for a master’s degree, which he earned in 2010.
Succar already had an active musical career while still an undergraduate student. As a junior in college he took over as musical director of the family band, which he renamed Mixtura.
On September 21, 2010, Succar released an album recorded at his graduation recital, a live concert with Mixtura at the Wertheim Performing Arts Center in Miami. This CD/DVD contains a mix of Latin-influenced arrangements of classic jazz numbers and original material. It received numerous positive reviews including from Audiophile Audition5 and JazzChicago.
After graduating from FIU, Succar became artist-in-residence in 2012, and continued to work with the school’s music students on a number of projects. He is the youngest artist to ever hold this appointment at FIU.
Succar has worked with several prominent artists in Latin music genres. These include Tito Nieves, La India, Kevin Ceballo, Michael Stuart, Jon Secada, Jennifer Peña, Jean Rodriguez and Obie Bermudez, who collaborated with him on Unity: The Latin Tribute to Michael Jackson.
The Latin Tribute to Michael Jackson
Unity: The Latin Tribute to Michael Jackson is a collaborative project to produce a musical tribute to Michael Jackson. In addition to live performances, the project plans to release an album consisting of 14 Jackson songs rewritten to include Latin influences, primarily salsa and Latin American rhythms, Succar, who was a long-term fan of Jackson’s work, is the founder and producer of the project. Unity launched in 2015 with a concert at Miami’s Olympia Theater sponsored and broadcast on PBS TV, 360 stations, primetime, Friday night at 9:00 p. m., and also sponsored by Universal Music Classic.
Unity features over 100 musicians, Latin superstars such as Tito Nieves, Jon Secada, La India, Obie Bermudez, Jennifer Pena, Michael Stuward, Angel Lopez, Sheila E., Judith Hill, Jean Rodriguez, Fernando Vargas, Maribel Diaz, Kevin Ceballo, hosted on PBS TV by Gloria Estefan, and the magic of Jackson’s legendary engineer, Bruce Swedien.
Succar’s sound is refined and distinctive. His up-tempo songs have an unmatched explosive energy, while his slower arrangements are soulful and captivate the listener with the intricate nuances that are signatures of his sound.
Tony is currently working on his next album and touring the world with his band.
He has performed at the Caribbean Sea Jazz Festival (Aruba), the Ravinia Festival (Chicago), Auditorio Telmex (Mexico), Vivo Beach (Puerto Rico), Tempo Latino (France) and the 2019 Latin Grammy Awards (MGM Grand Las Vegas ), among others.