NEW YORK: Two years ago he made the whole world dance with “Despacito,” but Luis Fonsi says he is still a romantic singer and is ready to show “all his cards” Friday with his new album, “Vida.”
“Many people thought I moved away from that romantic side and I always said ‘I haven’t, I’m not going anywhere.’ I am still a romantic singer, I still talk that romantic language. But at the same time I like to do both things. I don’t like to be limited,” Fonsi said in a recent interview with The Associated Press, in Spanish.
“Vida” is his ninth studio album and his first in five years, a time of big changes in his life and his career — especially since 2016, when the birth of his son Rocco overlapped with that of the song that gave him international stardom and a broader exposure to Latin music.
The original “Despacito” video, featuring Daddy Yankee, is still the most watched in the history of YouTube with over 5.9 billion views to date; its remix with Justin Bieber remains among the top three songs on Billboard’s list of Hot Latin Songs.
Both versions are included in the album, along with the previously-released singles “Echame la culpa” with Demi Lovato, “Calypso” with Stefflon Don, “Imposible” with Ozuna and “Sola”. It also includes new romantic songs and one powerful torch song that challenged Fonsi’s vocal chords. One of the most personal pieces is “Ahi estas tu,” which he wrote to his son Rocco. (His previous album, “8,” included a tune for his daugher Mikaela.)
There are 15 songs total that cover or fuse Latin pop, R&B, dembow, reggaeton and other genres.
“I want to be able to dance, make people rejoice, and sometimes sing a ballad with a lot of lyric, a lot of emotion,” said the Puerto Rican singer-songwriter.
The touching R&B-infused, piano-led ballad “Dime que no te irás” is also, according to Fonsi, the most difficult to perform vocally.
It “is one of the songs with more weight in this album”, he said. “It’s one of those songs that may not have the commercial value of others, but it does have the musical and emotional value.”
He also highlighted his latest single, “Sola,” a ballad that you may not hear in a club but that will make you nod to its beat.
“It’s neither the typical depressing ballad nor a rhythmic pop song and much less a reggaeton, but it’s a hybrid of the new sound of pop and that is something that I’ve always liked to do — to innovate, to suggest new things to my audience and always to follow my own path.”
In regards to the title “Vida,” he said he chose it because the album is kind of an X-ray of his life.
“These songs come from very honest, real places. Many have to do with me, many don’t. But I felt that my life is there, in each song,” said Fonsi, remembering himself running between the studio to his house to other professional commitments while his wife was pregnant, Rocco was born and starting to grow. “That life, that excitement, that love that you feel as a father for a child, the most pure and intense form of love — it’s impossible not to reflect that in my music, in the way I communicate. ‘Vida’ is all that. It’s my life.”