After a little more than a year of a self-imposed break, Bacilos lead singer Jorge Villamizar is back with his own self-titled solo project, out May 20. It's been a rough time for the Colombian crooner, he confesses; over the past couple of years, Jorge's sucessful band broke up, his 5-year wedding to fellow colombiana Xandra Uribe ended and a series of failed relationships came and went—the most high-profile of which, with Mexican alterna rocker Julieta Venegas, lasted only about two months. He's got plenty to say about his time off, his new solo album and newfound focus and clarity.
So, tell us about your new project.
Jorge: Well, it's the start of a new stage in my life, a lot of things have changed, On one level, becoming famous, being in the public eye, it's like being subject to the opinions of millions of people that don't even know you. Personally, my marriage ended, I had a series of really complicated relationships. Just a bunch of events that completely changed what my life had been before. The album is almost an analysis of everything, it represents a change of the page.
We can hear some Bacilos-ness in it…
Jorge: I find it completely different, but in the end, obviously I composed all the songs for Bacilos and I sang for Bacilos, so maybe the same character is at the heart, but it's still quite different. As a band, we had a totally different focus and mission: We wanted to be as Latino as we could be. This record changes that, I even hired an English producer, Richard Blair. This new project has more electronica elements, more programming, it's relaxing, groovy, calm.
Richard Blair is the same guy from Sidestepper?
Jorge: I'd say Richard Blair is Sidestepper, which is why I hired him, he's got the experience with the Latin music and the fusion. I'm a Colombian who's lived between England and the U.S. and he's a Brit who's lived in between England and Colombia, so I'm sure we'll have interesting things to talk about.
So what else did you do during the past year? What cathartic activities brought about this new album?
Jorge: I traveled a lot, most importantly I went to Paris. I went, I bought a bike and I went around Paris on my bike for two months. I wrote many, many songs. I thought a lot, I made many important decisions, like working with Rich. And of course thought about my personal life. And I decided it's definitely easier to be a solo artist than being a single man.