The world of rock loves a bad boy and for years, Argentine American singer Diego Garcia didn’t disappoint. As lead singer of indie rock sensation Elefant—he was once voted ‘sexiest lead singer’ by New York magazine— he played tongue-and-cheek with reporters about dating models and used his relationship drama as fodder for song lyrics.
But with the launch of his solo career, Garcia is taking a softer approach. “I made the record to survive,” he says. “I had to heal my heart. In other words, I had to get my girl back.”
Featuring lush cello arrangements and delicate Spanish guitar, Garcia’s first solo album on Nacional Records is titled Laura. It’s inspired by and named after his wife, a Brazilian fashion designer he met while at Brown University (she was a student at the nearby Rhode Island School of Design). After breaking up and making up (in Rome, no less!) they decided to get married and start a family, and now have an adorable baby girl named Georgiana.
Laura’s first single, “You Were Never There,” is a return to 70’s style folk romance and is being hailed by critics as the second coming of Paul Simon. But the fully bilingual Garcia also draws heavily on his Argentine roots, especially when he’s pouring his heart out in the tradition of the best Spanish-speaking balladeers. “Artists like Sandro, Roberto Carlos and Julio Iglesias were early pioneers in what I like to refer to as a movement of romanticism in music,” says Garcia, “it only made sense for me to pick up where they left off.”
All this is a far cry from the days when Garcia offered his private number to a reporter in case she wanted a booty call (true story). “It’s only natural I’m going to attract a new crowd [now that I’ve gone solo],” he admits, possibly referring to the hundreds of thousands of Starbucks customers who recently snatched up their Pick of the Week gift cards to download “You Were Never There” for free. The song was co-written with his friend from Brown, Dhani Harrison (son of the legendary Beatle, George Harrison) and was also recently spotlighted as an iTunes Latino “Single of the Week.”
We couldn’t help but love him as a troublemaking playboy in his Elefant days, but we are seriously swooning for the renewed, sentimental Diego Garcia. Check out “Nothing To Hide,” our favorite track, below: