Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks New Album, His Daughter, & Juan Luis Guerra

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Luis Fonsi is working extra hard these days. It’s not in the studio. It’s not on stage. It’s in the playroom with his daughter, Mikaela. Forget Grammys (sorta), he’s all about getting The World’s Best Dad trophy. But, of course, his duties as a top-selling Latin musician are constantly calling him back to the studio. Here, the Puerto Rican crooner talks about his new album, working with legendary artist, Juan Luis Guerra, and his baby girl.

Tell us about working on your new album, 8

Working with Martin Terefe was a great joy of course. The biggest difference from my point of view was the surroundings. The fact that I was in a different city—I was in London and culturally it’s a big change. Not only that, but also the way that the album was recorded because it was [a] live approach. That’s what I liked most about Martin because he does have that live sound room and his musicians are amazing. They have a specific style and I thought that it was the correct route to go—to head down a more organic, aggressive sound versus that plush, more traditional sound that most Latin producers, not all, tend to go for. I don’t think it’s a completely different route than what I’ve done, but I thought it was right amount of evolution and change to make it seem as though it’s a new album and a new beginning. I’m still following that path that I’ve always followed as far as that pop sound and mix between romantic songs and more up-tempo songs.

How was it working on music in London?

I went for a week to write with Martin originally, before we even started talking about a production deal with him. He’s a very busy guy and he’s doing a Jason Mraz record and James Blunt record and all these amazing British acts. I came to him as a songwriter and said, “I love what you do and I love your approach and I would eventually like to produce a couple of songs with you, but in the meanwhile let’s write.” I went there for a week and I went with a backpack and a guitar for a five-day trip. A five-day trip turned into about a month and half. I hung out there and got to work with him and his team and we got to do some demos and we tried to get the correct sound and before we knew it, we did the whole album. Some of them I wrote there, and some of them I had already written. We recorded the whole album and I was influenced by the day-to-day just going from my hotel room and walking to Hyde Park or getting in those taxis we all love when we go to London.

Every day, didn’t matter if it was a Monday, Tuesday, or Friday, there was a cool concert from a cool new act. It’s just big city living that I’m not accustomed to because I’ve never lived, other than when I was just doing Broadway a little bit ago, in New York. Miami is the biggest city I’ve ever lived in and Miami is not city living at all. To me, it was different, culturally different. The music that I talked about on a day-to-day basis with my musicians was completely different from the music that I would talk about with producers here. When you do music, you constantly use music references like talking about the edge guitar on the U2 record and suggesting we use that. The examples that we used in both places were completely different. It was fun to be able to get away from the way I did my last four or five albums. Other than Martin, the musicians had never really heard my music before so it was a clean slate and starting from zero. It was only about doing music and not trying to make this record better than the last one. I liked that creative freedom and it wasn’t about making a Latin album, or an Anglo album, or a British album. It was just about making a great album, period.

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