Born Carlos Ilarraza Allende in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Don Iván was exposed to Latin music and culture at an early age. He moved to the U.S. at the age of 11 where his father introduced him to a wide variety of music ranging from salsa to rock to freestyle to R&B. Don Iván has successfully blended this wide range of influences to create his own distinctive brand of Latin Urban Music. With songs ranging from Reggaeton to English Hip/Hop, his unique flow results in a sound all his own. His prolific lyrics and infectious grooves will pound away in your head long after the music has stopped.
By all accounts, Don Iván is a bona fide action hero. Having served two tours of duty inIraq and theMiddle East, this highly decorated combat veteran’s second tour was cut short when on December 23, 2004 his unit was ambushed while doing a door-to-door sweep in Fallujah. A born leader, Don Iván took up the point position during an anything but routine search of a neighborhood known to harbor Iraqi insurgents.Just as he was about to lob a grenade inside a “vacant” home, the front door burst open and the enemy opened fire with an AK-47 assault rifle. More enemy combatants instantly appeared in the windows and on the rooftop and rained down a barrage of gunfire on him and his unit. Don Iván was hit with five rounds of enemy fire and a grenade blast to his left side.
Thanks to the quick action of Navy Corpsman HM2 Matthew Early and his brothers in arms, Don Iván’s life was spared that day. He did, however, suffer a collapsed lung, a shattered humerus, ruptured femoral artery and a multitude of other injuries. He spent over one month in various hospitals where he underwent numerous surgeries. While hospitalized inBethesda,Marylandhe was visited by the Commandant and was personally awarded his Purple Heart by the highest-ranking officer in the Marine Corps. Unable to return to action, Don Iván reluctantly chose to be honorably discharged from the Marine Corps rather than take a desk job. With his military career behind him he was now free to pursue his other love—music!
His life experiences exceed most and is evident in the depth of his lyrics. Don Iván “el phenomeno” is a singer, songwriter, producer and performer. His real, raw and fierce lyrics, combined with his electrifying live performances have garnered much praise and adulation from many industry professionals. At such an early stage in his career, he has already collaborated with such well-known artists and producers as Bimbo, Super Yei, Hi Flow, Profesor Gomez, Sr. Robles, Fingazz and Jeeve. Don Iván has toured extensively throughout California and the Northeastern part of the U.S. and has supported such artists as Tego Calderon, Cristian Castro, Rocky Padilla, Sensato del Patio, Brenton Wood, Zapp, Tevin Campbell, Jon B, Evelyn Champagne King, Debarge, En Vogue, Debbie Deb, and Chamillionaire.
Don Iván is without a doubt the complete package. With the discipline and precision of a military machine, he continues to hone his writing and producing skills. When not on the road performing you will find him working in the studio for days on end. His passion for perfection and desire to constantly evolve as an artist will keep this rising star burning bright for some time to come.