• Justin O. Cooper

 Flexes His Muscle & Music

Updated: Apr 26

I discovered Felino on Instagram, where the majority of his social media content highlights his fitness workouts, training sessions with clients that entrust him as their trainer, and his fun and lighthearted dance videos. Like a good TV show, I and the other more than 16,000 followers are tuned in to the "Felino Show."

A proud Latino man of Peruvian descent, Felino, now calls Montreal, Quebec home. Like many migrants, he and his family relocated to Canada in the mid-nineties for a better quality of life and opportunities that were unavailable in Peru the thirty-something recalls.

More than 25 years later, Felino has established himself as a successful entrepreneur as one of Montreal's leading fitness and physique competitor coaches. Ever the goal setter, he now has his sights set on returning to one of his other passions, music, and making his mark in the music industry.

In this issue of SOLIVAGANT, we catch up with Felino to uncover the mystery behind the man, his methods, his muscles, and his music.

SOLIVAGANT: Your moniker, "Felino," how did you land on such a name, and what does it mean?

FELINO: It's an amusing story, back when I used to play soccer, the one skill that helped stay on the team was that I was quite fast. One day my teammates were joking around and began to call me "Felino!" The Spanish to English translation is "Feline," they were comparing me to a fast, wild cat.

Since then, the name stuck, and everyone called me by Felino. I liked it, and it became my nickname and stage name for my work as an artist.

SOLIVAGANT: When and how did you break into the fitness industry, and what was, is your motivation?

FELINO: I started in the fitness industry at 27; before then, I was into sports but not in the fitness industry or competitions. When I got into it, I took the time to educate myself and hire the right coaches to guide me. Over time it became a huge passion of mine.

SOLIVAGANT: Are there any examples of success stories that you've had with a client or clients that you're most proud of?

FELINO: I look at all my clients as success stories. However, if I had to name one, it would be one client who lost over 175 pounds. Her dedication reminded me in many ways that what I do matters and how big of an impact I can make in people's lives.

SOLIVAGANT: As an entrepreneur, what has been a challenge that you've faced? What did you learn from it, and how did you overcome it?

FELINO: The beginning was the most challenging time. Staying motivated and consistent despite the good times and the bad times, it's a challenge.

I was figuring out a system that worked both for me and was that in alignment with my goals was the main objective, and although it was challenging, it has been super rewarding.

SOLIVAGANT: Extending your commitment to physical fitness, you're also a men's physique competitor. What piqued your interest in the sport? How long does it take for you to prepare for a competition and have you won/placed any awards in the one's you've participated in the past? Any coming up for 2020?

FELINO: When I was a personal trainer at a local gym, I had a coworker who was also a full-time competitor. He enlightened me about the industry and told me that I had the potential to be great. A year later, I decided to compete, hired a coach, and by 2015 I participated in my first competition and garnered second place.

Ever since, I have placed in the top positions in all of my competitions. My most significant victory was in 2007 when I self-coached for the APQ fitness competition and won first place. As of now, I'm taking a hiatus to focus solely on my music career.

SOLIVAGANT: In much of the content you share online, you incorporate various styles of Latin dance and music. At the end of 2019, you reintroduced yourself as a music artist with the release of "Sin Duda." What was the concept behind the song and video? Is this your first time releasing music, and what or who influences your style?

FELINO: "Sin Duda" translates into English as "Without a Doubt," and the concept for the song and video is where guy reminisces about love lost. The video visually highlights how much I miss her (the woman) and how much I'd love to have her back again.

Before this latest music, I was in the music industry years ago with a group called "Los Vagabundos" in 2006. That year we also released an album.

At the moment, my biggest aspirations include fellow artists Maluma, Jbalvin, and Romeo Santos.

SOLIVAGANT: In January, you released the follow up single "Y Como Es" featuring Mendylandia. The song is an uptempo party starter, what was your inspiration behind it?

FELLINO: As I'm initiating my career, it is crucial for me that listeners get a good idea of all the styles that inspire me.

After releasing my first single, "Sin Duda." "Y Como Es," I wanted to go in a different and upbeat direction. With the New Year, I thought the timing was right by bringing something more energetic!

SOLIVAGANT: Will you be releasing a new single or a full-length album in 2020. Are there any plans for an English-language song, and will there be a tour attached to promote your music further?

FELINO: I'm currently working on finishing an EP, and an English and French song are in the plans.

SOLIVAGANT: As an artist, what messages do you want the public and your fans to associate you with?

FELINO: My main goal is to express and project happiness in everything that I do. I want people to change their state of mind when they hear my music.

SOLIVAGANT: I'm aware that you've been very hands-on behind the scenes with concepts and ideas for the visuals that accompany your music. With the need for greater representation in media of people of color, do you have any plans to venture into TV and film as an actor or director?

FELINO: I'm very creative, and I love all the technical parts that are involved in producing. If the right opportunity presents itself, I would love to consider it.

SOLIVAGANT: In an age of social media and technology, what makes what you do differently, and how do you distinguish yourself in a very noisy landscape of social media influencers?

FELINO: I just shared myself, my journey, and who I am, with all my quirkiness and everything, as well as my projects and what I truly believe.

SOLIVAGANT: Looking ahead to the remainder of this year, what can we expect from you as a businessman and artist?

FELINO: This year I'm focusing solely on my music career, as far as my business and fitness I have a team they will continue to help and inspire our clients, but I will be fully present in the music industry.

SOLIVAGANT: How can music fans purchase or access your music and contact you about your physical training offerings?

FELINO: Social media is the best way to contact me for either fitness or music, and yes definitely, people can have access to all my music on the leading platforms such as Apple Music, Google Play, iTunes, Spotify.

SOLIVAGANT: Is there anything that we haven't covered that you'd like to share?

FELINO: If people find themselves in a bad place, they should never give up on their dreams. Regardless of life's hurdles, you deserve to be happy."

Keep up with Felino on his dedicated Instagram music and YouTube channel at @Felino_Music

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