Photo by Greg Watermann – Awakening The Gigante Within
Pitbull and Tony Robbins sit side-by-side to watch Pérez’s NASCAR team race.
On their way to school each morning, Armando Pérez and his mother would sit in the car and listen to Tony Robbins. While Pérez says he complained at the time, he shares that the messages Robbins spoke of wound up making their way into his personal ethos.
“My mother put me onto Tony Robbins when I was about 10 years old and I heard him speaking on a cassette tape,” Pérez, better known as Pitbull, told Pollstar. “Just what he spoke about there changed my life, my perspective on a lot of things. So therefore any time I get a chance to hit the stage and give people my perspective and my story, because a lot of people may think I wake up every day and then all of a sudden my life is just great; but no, my life is full of challenges. It’s full of risk. It’s a lot of people that don’t believe or think that things are impossible. I want people to understand that it’s not easy, but that’s what makes it fun. Anything that’s easy is not worth living for.”
Perhaps something that Pérez could not have anticipated during those car rides with his mother was that not only would he one day meet Tony Robbins, but the two would become friends.
Mutual friends had connected Pérez and Robbins through promises that Pérez could recite Robbins’ inspirational messages perfectly. “He could quote them better than I could at the time,” Robbins told Pollstar.
“He’s such a class act,” he continued. “He’s so respectful and warm. He puts people at ease and he’s focused on them. Not himself, there’s no ego in him.”
For more proof of Pérez’s charisma, inspiration and positive influence on people, look no further than management team member Tom Muzquiz. He was a top executive at a number of major label publicity departments, including RCA where he first met Pitbull. Early on, the artist saw Muzquiz’s work ethic, strategic vision and leadership and told him he believed he could do great things with his talent. This helped give Muzquiz the confidence to strike out on his own and in 2016 he co-founded Entotal Agency with Jorge Sanchez, whose growing management roster now includes Pitbull, comedian Steve Treviño, Lupita Infante, and Olivia and Raquel Sofía among others.
“Pitbull is known for delivering impromptu inspirational messages to his fans in between songs at his concerts,” David Evenchick of UTA, who books Pérez’s speaking engagements, told Pollstar. “Motivational speaking has always been a part of who he is. He has a real passion for motivating people and the lecture circuit is a natural extension of that passion.”
Pitbull’s lyrics also reflect his motivational phrases, such as, “Ask for money, get advice. Ask for advice, get money twice” and, “The biggest risk you take is not taking one.”
“His fans call him ‘Mr. Worldwide’ for a reason,” Evenchick says. “His message of positivity and hope is universal and in typical Pitbull fashion, he delivers this message impeccably and energetically on the lecture stage.”
With his success, Pérez continues to give back to his community. He established his first SLAM! school in Little Havana, the neighborhood where he grew up.
“He’s never forgotten his roots,” Robbins said. “Another thing that inspires me – he goes back and he continually gives back to Little Havana and everywhere. He’s really proud of being part of this background, it’s a really gorgeous thing to see.”
When it comes to his audience for his speaking appearances, Pitbull will talk to anyone who will listen. “You’ll have grandkids and grandmothers there, and everything in between,” Pérez said.
Evenchick books him for Fortune 500 companies, tech companies, trade associations, international groups and colleges.
While touring was put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pitbull ramped up the number of speaking engagements he participated in.
“As live touring was shut down, his availability for virtual speaking opportunities was much greater,” Evenchick said. “We were able to secure many virtual appearances for Pitbull over the course of the pandemic. His message of positivity was welcomed by his fans as the country dealt with the many hardships associated with COVID.”
Evenchick works in sync with Pitbull’s touring schedule to spot speaking opportunities in cities he’s already playing in. So that his already busy schedule is not entirely overloaded, they schedule his engagements on dates that he is not performing.
“He took this next step which is how to be an inspirational role model to everybody,” Live Nation’s Brad Wavra said. “How to get everybody to never give up, keep forging ahead. That whole thing he does in his inspirational speeches, that’s the embodiment. That feels like full-circle Pitbull.”