Born and raised in the East Harlem section of NYC by his single hard-working mother, nurtured to strive for achievement and to create his own opportunities, Andre Rivera a.k.a. “Sonny Sofrito” has built a resume as varied and flavorful as a jar of home-style sofrito.
A communications major at New York University, Andre’s foray into the entertainment industry took off in 1992 when he was hired as a stage hand, then stage manager, for the hit weekly sketch show “El Barrio USA”, produced and directed by Angel Salazar (Scarface, Carlito’s Way). He played bit parts in some of the sketches on occasion, meeting and networking with many upcoming entertainment stars such as singer La India, actor/comedian John Leguizamo, and singer/actor Marc Anthony.
After a two-year stint, Andre briefly delved into the NYC club scene under Back 2 Back Promotions, promoting some of the hottest clubs of the time (Club USA, 20 West, Velvet, Café Lynx, Limelight, The Grand). With this first real exposure to marketing and promotions in a hands-on environment under his belt, he branched out into the music industry: he was offered the opportunity to work with Dollar Bill, an independent marketing and promotions company. Working with clients such as Motown, Warner Music and PolyGram, Andre created and managed a dynamic street team for Dollar Bill, promoting artists including Diana Ross, Bush Babees, and Sounds of Blackness.
Though his work with Dollar Bill was expansive and productive, Andre still felt drawn back to his first love – comedy. With the contacts he cultivated, he returned to the comedy scene, producing his first stand-up comedy show at Comic Strip Live. This afforded him the opportunity to collaborate with Urban Latino Magazine, gaining their sponsorship to produce his second comedy show at the prestigious Stand Up NY Comedy Club. Gaining momentum, Andre was tapped by Chuck Sutton of Inner City Broadcasting to work with talent producer Keith Sage-El, casting comedians for “It’s Showtime at the Apollo” and becoming one of the key producers of the Urban Comedy Festival. Always looking to diversify, Andre got involved in print media as a marketing consultant for Mia Magazine, a grassroots Latino lifestyle magazine targeted to Americanized Latinos on the East Coast.
After taking a brief hiatus to reevaluate his career, Andre reemerged to establish his own identity in the nightlife arena. Valuing the importance of brand recognition, Andre decided to give himself a moniker that would be easily identifiable and representative of both his Nuyorican roots and the upscale party lifestyle – “Sonny Sofrito” was born. He launched his first “¿ Got Sofrito?” party on his birthday in December 2000 at Zanzibar. Over the next ten years, “¿ Got Sofrito?” parties would host some of the most popular events at the trendiest venues, including China Club, LQ, Canal Room, Metronome, Supper Club, Spirit, and The World.
Andre continues to extend his marketing talents and leave his trademark on the many projects he undertakes, including select events in the Spanish Harlem community like the 116th Street Festival and the Community Board 11 Cultural Awareness Street Festival, as well as working with Caroline’s Comedy Club and the Latino Comedy Festival. From nightlife, to comedy, to community and cultural events, Andre has repeatedly proven himself a versatile player in the entertainment industry, leaving no doubt he does, indeed, GOT SOFRITO.
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