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The Mexican father of five has gone from scraping a living selling doughnuts to releasing his debut album in Mexico and the United States.
GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Less than a year ago the future looked bleak for German Manuel Loza, better known as Larry Donas ("Larry Doughnuts" in English).
The Mexican doughnut vendor was living with his wife and growing brood of children in a 270-square-foot wooden shack with no bathroom in Mexicali, the capital of Baja California. Every time it rained the porous house flooded with water.
Loza, 28, scraped by supporting his young family by riding a tricycle selling donuts around the streets of the city located on the Mexico-US border.
To boost sales, the charismatic vendor would sing "banda" songs popular in northern Mexico, imitating the sounds of instruments such as the trumpet, the tuba and even the guitar.
"I sold three doughnuts for 10 pesos or one for 4 pesos. For six doughnuts, a ballad was included," Loza told Mexican newspaper Milenio earlier this month.
The songs were a mix of covers and originals penned by Loza, and were a huge hit with customers.
Some of them recorded the doughnut vendor's heartfelt performances with their smartphones and posted the videos on YouTube.
Those recordings became the catalyst for Loza's dramatic change of fortune.
The videos went viral, receiving hundreds of thousands of hits. Eventually his soaring popularity on social media networks attracted the attention of the local media and catapulted Larry Donas onto the national stage.
In the past six months, he has made numerous appearances on talk show programs, and performed alongside some of Mexico's most popular singers and bands, including Espinoza Paz and El Recodo. He signed a contract with Universal Music and, last November, released his debut album, "El Donero," meaning "The Doughnut Vendor," in Mexico and the United States.
When Loza Dominquez when he was still selling doughnuts
And this week the videoclip for Loza's most famous song, “El Donero Loco de Amor,” or "The Doughnut Vendor Crazy for Love," was released on Vevo.
The video, shot in the streets of Mexicali, tells the story of Loza’s incredible rise to fame and features local residents who used to enjoy his doughnuts and music.
“Life has changed for the better,” Loza told talk show host Laura Bozzo late last year.
It certainly has.
In September, the singer and his family moved into a new house with its own bathroom.
And now when people stop him in the street it's to ask for a photo with the star, rather than for a doughnut.
Larry Donas' biggest hit, "El Donero Loco de Amor"