On a scorching hot mid-August day, six of the seven members of Grupo Firme file into a hidden hacienda in Spring Valley, Calif., a small town just east of San Diego. “Buenos días,” they greet the staff of this boutique hotel, making their way toward the shade of the pool area. Wearing basic T-shirts and jeans or gym shorts, they look like the literal boys next door. Still, the staffers struggle to keep their cool — this is the biggest Mexican group in the world, and they’re all fans. (Later today, they will get their photo taken with the band.)
Eduin Caz, the group’s charismatic 28-year-old founder and frontman, is the last to arrive. He apologizes, explaining that he drove from his home in Tijuana, Mexico, and it took four hours to cross la línea, the Mexico-U.S. border in San Diego. That’s longer than usual for a seemingly uneventful Tuesday, but the Baja Beach Festival took place over the weekend in the town of Rosarito — where Eduin joined Maluma onstage to sing their Regional Mexican Airplay chart-topping hit “Cada Quien” (“To Each Their Own”) — which could explain the traffic returning to the United States. “Aquí estamos a sus órdenes” (“We’re here, anything you need”), Eduin says with a shy smile and joins his bandmates, who don’t seem to mind his late arrival one bit; they’re just lounging around, catching one another up on their weekends.
Clowning around together by the pool, speaking entirely in Spanish, they remind me of my rowdy cousins who constantly poke fun at one another but clearly have an unbreakable bond. And while Grupo Firme may have skyrocketed to stardom over the past two years — playing sold-out stadium shows and becoming the first banda ensemble to ever perform at Coachella — that bond has been in the making for nearly a decade.
Read Grupo Firme’s full cover story here.