EXCLUSIVE: Presenting Alex, Jorge y Lena

Spanish pop star Alex Ubago, Colombian singer Jorge Villamizar and Cuban pianist and vocalist Lena Burke have joined forces to create a new musical project built on songwriting prowess and multiple talents called (appropriately enough) Alex, Jorge y Lena. The result is a self-titled debut album packed with 16 skillfully crafted pop songs, each with its own story behind it. We recently caught up with Villamizar to talk about his old trio, Bacilos, and his new project. Here's what he had to say:

I was a big fan of Bacilos; why did you decide to break up?
We spent 12 years together. We were tired of spending so much time together and having to decide everything in our lives together. We decided to take a break and see what happens in the future. We never imagined we go so far.

You made a solo album before joining another band. Do you prefer collaborations?
Yes. I hate monotony. I like change. I experienced being alone. Now this opportunity showed up and I’m really glad I believed in it.

How did you meet Alex and Lena?
All of us are on the same music label, Warner. I’ve known Lena for years. It started when we got together to write songs for other people. I said let’s try to come up with something for such and such artist. We had a blast. We thought about taking it to another level. Collaborations are very fashionable. I met Alex in Viña del Mar. We were staying in the same hotel and ended up partying together. After Alex joined the group we stopped looking for more people. The stars had aligned for us.

How would you describe the style of the group?
It’s pop music in the right sense. It’s well elaborated and well performed. It’s user-friendly. We brought together songs we had written before. The songs demanded certain things from us. The songs written by Lena had a feminine perspective. Also the vocal range wouldn’t allow one of the others to sing a part. It was like building this puzzle that came out really cool. The common denominator was the three of us.

What does each person bring to the table?
Alex brought a connection to the world of ballads; Lena does ballads but she’s a girl so the younger market is Alex’s territory. Lena is a super musician, piano player, keyboardist. She’s very serious. I’ve always had the a bit of the comedic. Most of the songs that I’ve connected with people have some degree of humor. We all use each other’s background to explore areas that are out of our comfort zone. That’s what makes the album exciting.

What’s your favorite song on the album?
A favorite song is hard to tell. Maybe “Mil Maneras de Querer” and “Versos de Amor.”

You named the band after yourselves; did you discard any names?
I can’t say. Lena will kill me! [laughs] The Three Amigos, that was my choice.

Here’s the group singing “Estar Contigo” from their debut album.