Brooklyn-born, Angelo Maldonado was one contract away from possible worldly success in the music industry, but when the production contract that was offered to him by Platinum selling recording artist, Wyclef-Jean fell through, Angelo saw his dreams shattered right before his eyes. Angelo found himself jobless and living on the streets trying to find his way.
This would be the defining moment that gave birth to ,L.A.R.O., the the double threat (rapper/singer) recording artist that has a passion for using his gifts and talents to take back a generation of inner city youth and young adults who are lost and forgotten for the Kingdom.
Welcome, “The Takeover”, the ministry that fuels L.A.R.O.'s calling in the music ministry and industry.
Angelo was mesmerized by music as early as three years of age, his parents always knew he had a talent for singing. He was also strongly influenced by his grandfather who was a famous Latino singer and guitarist in the 1950s, “I would see him play his guitar and, his face would say it all. You could see the emotions and I knew he was in a zone.” So growing up he sang not only in the church, but anywhere someone would listen. Growing up in New York also exposed him to the new sound of Hip Hop music that would later influence him to hone his emcee skills. “I remember in '86 when Beastie Boys dropped their first album, I would hang out in the hallways with my friends playing the cassette over and over. It was my first real taste of rap.”
Even though music was a big part of Angelo's life not all was always good growing up. His mom had him at sixteen, which forced her to be on welfare to raise Angelo and his brother Paul as a single mom. He even witnessed his mother almost get beaten to death in their kitchen by his father. Drug, alcohol and emotional abuse was a constant in his household and learning how to survive in this environment has become a staple in what God would use to shape his ministry later on in life. “I know how it feels to be alone, desperate, unloved, and worthless. I want to be so in tune with the Holy Spirit that I can be used to make a difference and speak life into those who are struggling.”
By the time Angelo became a teenager, he gave in to the temptations of the world and lost interest in the church. He began to set off into a lifestyle of drug and alcohol abuse mirroring the lifestyle he saw growing up. Even though he made this decision, he never stopped singing and rapping. He started to develop a real talent and caught the attention of some of the most popular hip hop acts in the 90s. He shared the stage with The YoungBloodz, Beanie Siegel of State Property, and did some recording with Mr. Cheekz of The Lost Boyz. However, his biggest “success” in his growing career is when he was invited by Wyclef-Jean to perform with him on the Carson Daly Show, which later led to a production contract with Platinum Sounds, Wyclef's studio. “When the contract fell through I then realized that I could not do it on my own, and at that point I rededicated my life back to the Lord...”
After honing his skills in the secular music industry and given a testimony that could impact lives, L.A.R.O. was now born-again and ready to take his signature sound of hip hop, r&b and worship to the world. “Sean Slaughter was the first Christian hip hop minister I have ever seen, he was rockin' at a church in Bayridge Brooklyn and he went in; from that point on I never looked at Christian hip-hop the same.”
Present day, L.A.R. O. is gearing up to drop his first album, “Timeless” in March 2011. He has already released three singles , 'Falling In Love', a song that shows that L.A.R.O. is not afraid to display his more vulnerable side as he shares his pain; and the discovery he went through to find real Love;'For Me', a song that highlights L.A.R.O. 's realization that Jesus truly did die for him, even when he was wasting his life a way, and 'Always Be', which is a very personal song that was inspired by some issues which he dealt with his wife early in their marriage. L.A.R.O. has released these singles on ReverbNation and is rising up the local gospel/Christian charts.
L.A.R.O. has had the opportunity to minister to thousands in the tri-state region, and the thing that keeps him grounded is being a husband and a father ,” Being a husband and a father has changed my outlook completely. I have been single for most of my life, but now having a wife and children who truly love me for me is a blessing and made me realize the importance of my message and how it can affect others...” He is also actively involved in street evangelism at his local church and maintains accountability to Pastor Jay Maldonado who also serves as his mentor in ministry. “Watching him live his life has been an inspiration to me because no matter what he experienced, he always stood firm and trusted the Lord; a man of incredible faith and perseverance. He has also taught me structure, order and doing everything with excellence, I love him for that and it shows in my music.”
L.A.R.O.'s mission is very clear : to introduce Christ to men, women, boys and girls of all ages and nationalities. The foundational scripture on which his ministry stands is Psalms 71:8,
“My Mouth Is Filled With Your Praise, Declaring Your Splendor All Day Long.