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Felipe Rose (founder Village People) interviewed by Lenny Fontana for True House Stories® # 055

Felipe Rose the native from the original Village People sits with us and shares his humble beginnings on how the music found him. His father is from the original Indian tribes of South Dakota and his mother is of Puerto Rican and Italian descent. With that mix caused fire and Felipe was born.

His mother grew up in New York City and was involved in modeling, dancing and singing in the New York City Scene. Her background as a musician was influenced by Salsa and Jazz. His mother would host party’s week to her at her home and musicians such as Mongo Santermaria and other Salsa greats would be there as well. Growing up in Brooklyn, Felipe would soon as he became old enough start to dance and sing in night clubs.

He is discovered by producer Jacques Morali from Can’t Stop Productions who also managed to help create The Ritchie Family.

Felipe Rose comes to a real audition all in his full Native Gear and Jacques Morali at the moment decides that he will get other men to fit the roles to create the new group called The Village People.

Well to the say the least the first group was a disaster and everyone was fired except Felipe and new members were brought in to create the disco band that was etched in our minds from the moment we saw all of them on the hit TV Show American Bandstand.

Felipe Rose also played the sleigh bells and additional percussion on Macho Man and a few of the other big songs from the album. They are the first boy band before boy bands are even created. The auditions to be in the group were listed in Variety Papers and some performers were dared to show up with the craziest outfits out there of the time.

The 1st album was signed to Casablanca Records and went on to achieve double platinum status in the USA and all of them in the group were rolling with so much money right after.

Listen to Felipe share his conversation with Disco Artist Sylvester on his rooftop home. Saturday Night Fever broke out and YMCA blew up. Hear the story of Disco sucks and the burning of all the Disco vinyl in Chicago as Felipe was witness to this absolute devastation of the disco genre.

As with every great story there is also the part of dealing with Felipe losing the rights in a court case settlement over the Village People. He also speaks about his new single “Dance Again” and the importance of the next steps he is taking in his professional life.

Felipe Rose YouTube Video Part 1

Felipe Rose YouTube Video Part 2

Felipe Rose (founder Village People)

Biography Felipe Rose | Village People

There are few entertainers who have enjoyed a succesful 40+ year career in the industry. Felipe Rose is one of them. From performing ballet on stage at Lincoln Center’ Alice Tally Hall  in NYC to co-founding one of the most successful Disco Groups of all-time in 1976, unveiling the group’s first studio album in 1977. Felipe Rose is a true renaissance man. Felipe is a singer, actor, culinary enthusiast a visual artist/painter who continues to embrace his history while remaining contemporary.

At an early age Felipe developed a love for the arts, inspired by his late Puerto Rican mother a professional dancer at the famed Copa Nightclub in NYC, where by fate she met his Native Father who was relocated by trade as a wielder, in the Indian Relocation Act of 1956 also known as the Adult Vocational Training Program. 

Two very different people from seamless backgrounds went to NYC to become part of the American Dream. In his teen and early 20’s he was performing dance/ballet with the reknowned ‘Ballet de Puerto Rico’ under the guidance of Pascual Guzman.

In early January of 1977 Felipe’s ‘Native American’ image inspired record producers; the late Jacques Morali and the late Henri Belolo to form a group of consisting of American Male stereotypes; a Native American, a Cowboy, Construction Worker, Military Man, Biker (Leatherman) and a Police Officer.

The Village People, as they would be known, have sold over 100 million records world wide with hits including; Macho Man, In The Navy, Go West, San Francisco and YMCA, a song which was added to the US Library of Congress / National Recording Registry (March of 2020).

As an Actor Felipe Rose has appeared in the  2 movie musicals; Tu Me Tien Por La Barbachette a French comedy and in 1980’s Can’t Stop The Music now considered a cult classic and on numerous shows and television hit series; The Love Boat and Married with Children.

Having been raised in one the poorest and toughest cities in NYC, Brownsville, Brooklyn to be exact, Felipe has never stopped championing the rights of those in need.  His social justice work is as much a part of who he is as is his music.  Whether he’s devoting time & financial resources to Native American causes, Gay Rights or speaking out for equality, Felipe won’t stand idle while others hurt. 

In 2019 Felipe Rose particpated in the 50th anniversary of World Pride in NYC as a guest of God’s Love We Deliver an organization that cooks and home-delivers nutritious, medically tailored meals for people too sick to shop or cook for themselves.

In 2019 Felipe Rose particpated in the 50th anniversary of World Pride in NYC as a guest of God’s Love We Deliver an organization that cooks and home-delivers nutritious, medically tailored meals for people too sick to shop or cook for themselves.

Felipe Rose continues to record new music, create contant for social media platforms and pursue various acting opportunities, and more importantly advising new artist in the industry.