Cuban American television star and musician Jencarlos Canela may be the biggest double threat to hit the small screen since Ricky Martin (his first album Buscame topped the Latin charts and he’s currently starring in his fourth telenovela) but he hasn’t yet crossed the line into becoming a mainstream superstar. However, with his album Un Nuevo Dia (oun sale today, June 21st!)—boasting collaborations with Pitbull, Jose Feliciano and Gilberto Santa Rosa—and his first-ever English language track, his days walking around anonymously in the mall may be numbered. We interrupted Jencarlos during his lunch break from shooting the Telemundo novela Mi Corazon Insiste to ask him a few personal questions about his album, family and—most importantly—his love life (don’t let the rumors fool you, he’s single!).
Tell us something about your new album…
We worked so hard on this album. Sometimes we were working in the studio til three in the morning. I got to do some amazing collaborations with great friends of mine and artists that I admire, like El Cata and Pitbull, who’s like my brother. But the best thing about this album is we have an English track, and I feel like I’m finally being honest with myself, by singing in both English and Spanish.
What does that mean— you’re finally being honest with yourself?
My first language is both English and Spanish. My mom was raised in Los Angeles so with her we spoke English, but my father was born in Cuba, so with him we spoke Spanish. But my career did start in the Spanish language industry, and that’s probably because my father is my manager. He pushed my career in the direction he knew best. But I think we’re going to definitely start moving in that direction [of recording more English language music], without abandoning the fans that brought me here.
Your dad is your manager?
Yeah, I have a dad-ager. My dad is really good at the business end of things. But it’s really a family affair. My mother handles all my social media stuff—Facebook, Twitter, e-mails, that kind of thing. Sometimes it seems like whenever I ask where she is, someone is telling me, “Oh, she went to dinner with the president of your fan club.” She’s always making me read things that people write.
Is it difficult having your parents involved in your career?
No one is going to look out for your needs like a parent will.
How did your career get started?
My dad wrote songs as a hobby, so I grew up singing in the shower. When I was five or six, I asked to sing at a big family party, and ever since I got up there in front of everyone in my suit—it had a blue collar, like in Scarface—I had the bug.
We hear you’ve started doing some charity work recently. Tell us about that.
I just started working with the International Rescue Committee. It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. The work they do is incredible, getting kids out of poverty. I’m going with them on these trips to refugee camps, in Cambodia and places like that.
How do you find time to do that, given your many day jobs?
My grandpa always told me before he passed away, ‘the day you think success is a great song or a great album or a great movie, you’ll soon realize you don’t know success at all.’ That really stuck with me.
Do you have a girlfriend?
I don’t have a girlfriend right now. I’m very happy right now. I’m in a very happy place. There’s always space in my life for love, but in terms of a formal relationship…no, I don’t have a stable relationship in my life right now.
Describe your ideal woman.
I love a woman who's good with details, like she’ll leave you a note that says “I love you,” that kind of thing. I like a woman who can admit that she's wrong. But of course, it all comes down to physical attraction. I'm very sexual, so I need to be attracted sexually. When I come home I want to have that look in my eye and make love in the shower, the kitchen, the bedroom, wherever.
Do you have a celebrity crush?
Jennifer Aniston. She has a beautiful personality. She's the girl who you want to have kids with.
Where do you get your looks?
I look like both my mother and my father. I think I got my mother’s light eyes and my father’s dark hair and eyebrows.
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