X-Factor alum Carlos Guevara reintroduces himself on his own terms with new single ‘Pin Me Down’

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Byron Gamble
Byron Gamble

Jon Ali is In The Know’s music contributor. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram for more.

Carlos Guevara is back — and ready to dominate all on his own.

Formally known as Carlos Vara, this openly queer singer-songwriter knows a little something about the ups and downs of navigating the music industry. The South Carolina-bred powerhouse was first discovered on the last season of The X Factor back in 2013. He managed to make it through as a finalist in the boys’ category, bowing out in thirteenth place.

Not too shabby for a teenager, right?

At around age 16, following his run on the series, he started using the experience and the angst of his insecurities — along with his mother’s keyboard — to write songs. Like many artists, Carlos began posting his music online until he eventually connected with a music producer in Nashville. He then made the bold decision to leave South Carolina for the Music City — and hasn’t looked back.

All of that commitment and self-determination eventually paid off for Carlos. He eventually ventured to L.A., where he eventually landed a deal with Warner Records. And while he managed to attain millions of streams with songs like “Numb,” “Confident” and the rest of his debut EP Have You Ever Seen a Boy Break Down?, Carlos felt he never got to live up to his full potential at the label.

By 2020, Carlos had confirmed that he was no longer associated with Warner Records, adding that he’d be moving forward, rightfully, all on his own.

“The universe was really watching out for me during that chapter of my life. I needed to reconnect with myself and I needed to grow. Growing hurts, but it’s a necessary process. Everyone should do it. I’m thankful for that era of my life. I learned so much,” Carlos told In The Know in a statement. “I feel more alive and myself than I have ever felt moving into this new chapter. I’m re-starting with my full name Carlos Guevara, and I cannot wait to keep releasing my art and connecting with people.”

“I can do whatever I want now, however I want and whenever I want. It’s powerful,” he added. “I’ve learned to put the blinders on and really trust my instincts. We are stepping into a true Renaissance of arts and culture, and I am just thankful to be a part of it. I’m no longer blurring my vision, so you can expect a lot from Daddy this year.”

Guevara’s new indie chapter kicked off with a bang in the form of his new single “Pin Me Down,” a liberating and haunting pop throb that doubles as the ultimate release of sexual expression, as he confidently and willing begs to be dominated.

“Don’t think that you got off that easy,” Guevara warns in the menacing chorus. “You’ve gotta pin me down/ Don’t think that I don’t mean what I say/ You’ve gotta pin me down.”

“I have spent the majority of my life feeling incredibly insecure and surviving off the validation I craved from anyone who would give it to me,” Carlos told In The Know about his upbringing and the inspiration behind the single. “Growing up an undercover queer in the South, you never really get the opportunity to date or experience any sort of kind of intimacy. I had promised myself at a young age that I would grow up to be the most iconic celibate in the church. I felt very unwanted by the world growing up and even though I came out, left home and was doing my thing…the trauma from that showed up in my everyday life eventually.”

“‘Pin Me Down’ is me stepping into the power of my existence and sexuality whilst still allowing myself to be vulnerable and willingly dominated from time to time — as everyone should because it’s literally so fun and hot,” Carlos added. “It acknowledges the fact that it’s an honor for someone to be in your presence, especially when you’re giving them the power to take control. That really applies to all areas of life.”

Beyond passing the instant bop test, the song – along with the accompanying grungy, ’90s-leaning visual directed by Byron Gamble – finds Carlos looking and sounding more secure than ever in his being and sexuality.

In a time of artists like Lil Nas X and Cardi B causing an uproar among critic for being “too sexual,” this unapologetic queer youth offering is a timely and refreshing addition to the refusal of toning it down. It’s time to take control.

If you enjoyed this article, read about Allison Ponthier’s debut single “Cowboy.”

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