Alejandro Sanz launches a new album: “I have given everything to fully represent me as a musician” | INTERVIEW | LIGHTS

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The COVID-19 pandemic surprised Alejandro Sanz in this part of the world. He had already sung in Lima and was getting ready to perform in Bogotá, when his plans were indefinitely postponed. He returned to Madrid and went through different states of mind there, never losing his creative impulse. In fact, in quarantine he did virtual concerts (one of the first, together with Juanes), released songs, premiered a movie (“The world outside”) And wrote“ Sanz ”, the album that he presents today.

SIGHT: Mike Bahía asked Greeicy Rendón to marry him during Alejandro Sanz’s concert

The album, the twelfth of his career, is also published in a time of celebration, not only because of the advances in the return to a certain normality, but also for the 30 years that have passed since he released his first album under the name by Alejandro Sanz when we have the information. Three decades of trajectory that, furthermore, if we consider the short life expectancy that artists’ careers have today on average, allows him a freedom that he puts into practice on this album.

To begin, the Spanish emphasizes that this album does not have singles, as it was conceived as that, an album, which should be listened to from issue 1 to 10 (a discussion that the British Adele already put on the table recently) and why not He has written none of the songs looking for the first place in the rankings, but to show where he is currently as a musician. But, better, that he tell us himself:

– There are artists who title their first albums with the same name as who is presented, but there are those who prefer to keep that possibility for when they publish an album that not only presents them, but actually represents them, is it your case with “Sanz”?

You just gave me the perfect excuse and I’m going to use it in the rest of the interviews (laughs). But there is a bit of that, although not so well collected. It is true that it is when you start that you put on these types of titles, so that they relate your name to that of the album, but there are also those who already call their first album “30 years of successes” (like Los toreros muertos). I wanted this album to really feel like I’ve given everything to achieve something that fully represents me as a musician. I have given 1000% for it. I still do not know if I have achieved it, because perspective is the only tool you have to see things really as they are and I still do not have enough perspective to know it, but I have given 1000% that is for sure.

Alejandro Sanz.  (Photo: Universal Music Group)
Alejandro Sanz. (Photo: Universal Music Group)

– “BIO”, The theme with which you presented the album, already told us that it is a very personal material. Despite this, it is on this album that you decide for the first time to record songs that are not your own: “Y ya te amo”, by Manuel Alejandro; and “La rosa”, in which you take parts of an unpublished song by Paco de Lucía.

If you had to make your debut singing a song by someone other than me, I couldn’t think of a better one. First, Paco de Lucía is my compadre and has been my musical idol all my life, in addition to the mirror in which I have looked at myself many times as an artist because of the way in which he committed himself to his art. When this chorus that I had recorded and had not edited into any song came to me, it seemed like a unique opportunity to be able to have him by my side again, sitting with the guitar and singing, because he also sings in the song. I didn’t think about it for a second. And in the case of Manuel Alejandro, he is my godfather, but I have not seen him since my baptism. I think the way he had to celebrate our meeting after so many years was to give me that song, which is a beauty. It seemed like a good excuse to inaugurate that showcase of songs that are not mine and that I love to sing.

– Although in all your works there is a clear personality, in your last albums you have been trying with other sounds, and in this one you return to your most classic style, always with flamenco present, but also with string arrangements, wind and harmonies with choirs of female voices. What influenced the sound of this album, perhaps your return to Madrid after living in the United States for so many years?

I do not believe it. My sound is a product of the years. My constant search has been for my own sound. I think the most important thing a musician can do is find his voice. And my sound is the result of all my travels, of everything that I have liked and also of what I am. Before I did not know why the Italian ballad, especially at one stage in my life, was so important until one day I did a DNA analysis and it turned out that, after Spanish, Italian is the highest percentage in me. There is also a Cuban percentage and I told myself ‘this can’t be!’ Everything that is represented in my music turns out to be in my DNA. It may be a coincidence, but I like it, I find it interesting to think that there is something in our DNA that makes us, in the case of musicians, sound one way or another. It seems to me that everything is a consequence of what we do, but also of what we are made of.

– On this album there are also arrangements that are not so frequent in your songs, there are some arrangements with programming, more digital. How open are you to new sounds?

I’ve been doing it all my life. I think music is too big and all the technology we are using, which has been going on for several years now. Let’s say that since the sample was invented, electronic sounds have been used and, in fact, some analog keyboard sounds are being used as if they were very modern, but they are sounds from the 70s. your hand to convey what you want to convey you have to use it. It is sacrilege to have all the tools and not use them. No one can appropriate the sounds or the way of producing, it is open to everyone, and it is wonderful. We have so many possibilities, you can have an orchestra on your cell phone. Now, it’s never going to sound like recording an orchestra in Bratislava or Prague or wherever, a real orchestra with its 40 or 50 musicians playing. I already told you that, there is no ‘sample’ that can handle it.

– On this album you also work with Javier Limón, who is a well-known name in the world of flamenco and a great friend of yours. Although they have already made songs together, this is the first time that he has produced one of your albums.

And there is also his son, Javier Limón Jr., who is 18 years old, is a student at Berklee and he is a bit of the one I wanted to put in charge of electronic sounds. I was interested in seeing between the two of them that language we were talking about put into practice. In addition, on the album there is also Alfonso Pérez, who is the head arranger of all the songs and producer along with Javier. I wanted to see the two most classic, most experienced, with many productions behind them, and how they communicated with Limón Jr. and his 18 years. With those two ways of arranging I got a voice that is the one that appears on the album. And having Javier Limón gave me many advantages. He is someone who knows flamenco well, he has recorded with Paco de Lucía, with many flamenco artists. I was interested in that wildest part of Javier, his way of understanding productions, with the most orthodox and academic way of Alfonso Pérez. One is very methodical, the other is more decisive, I think that mix has worked.

Alejandro Sanz.  (Photo: Universal Music Group)
Alejandro Sanz. (Photo: Universal Music Group)

– When you started your career, it was not frequent for a pop artist to use sounds like flamenco, now there are other Spanish artists who stand out, such as Rosalía or C. Tangana, for bringing part of their identity to their music. Do you think the music industry is now more receptive to what is different?

One of the best-selling albums in history was “El alma al aire”, which is an album with a lot of flamenco roots. I believe that music cannot be defined by whether certain styles are going to work or not, because you may be surprised. Music, when it comes, comes in whatever form. Shakira, for example, used a lot of Arabic music in her songs, and a lot of African music. The styles are there for everyone to use however they want, just like the sonic tools. Flamenco will always be present in what I do, because I grew up with flamenco and doing flamenco. I celebrate every time someone uses it to put it in value, but I still believe that, if someone gave them their place, those were Paco de Lucía and Camarón de la Isla. That’s right.

– Now that you mentioned Shakira. Reggaeton has put music in Spanish in places that were not so receptive to music in our language before, and one of the first commercial reggaeton songs, which broke the language barrier, was the one you recorded with Shakira at the beginning of the 2000, “The Torture”. How do you evaluate that issue now? Did you imagine the influence it would have?

I think that in one way or another it helped open a path, but that path was already opened by Tego Calderón, Vico C … there were already people making a type of urban music, which was called reggaetón, but I don’t know It seemed a lot like a certain reggaeton that is done now. I believe that urban music has existed forever. There are things of very good quality and there are things of not so good quality, as in almost absolutely everything, and I tell you that from the Peruvian 10% that I also have in my DNA.

Alejandro Sanz.  (Photo: Universal Music Group)
Alejandro Sanz. (Photo: Universal Music Group)

THE DATA

“Sanz”, Alejandro Sanz’s new album, is now available on all digital platforms. This is the ‘tracklist’ of the album:

  • “BIO”.
  • “I was going”.
  • “I don’t want luck.
  • “The Rose.
  • “If I wanted to and if you could.”
  • “Seas of honey”.
  • “One nothing more”.
  • “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”
  • “Geometry”.
  • “And I already loved you.”

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