“A star is something magical, a dream…”
That’s Alejandro Sanz — Spain’s most decorated singer-composer, with 22 Latin Grammys and four Grammy Awards to his name — rhapsodizing about his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, set to be unveiled in a ceremony on the boulevard today.
“I feel like children who dream of becoming astronauts and wish to see stars up close, to touch them. I’ve been pinching myself; I am going to have a Hollywood Walk of Fame star. I am going to touch it, see it, feel it, but above all, share it. It is real; more than an award, it is a thank you.”
Since 1991’s “Viviendo Deprisa” and its blend of infectious up-tempo pop and satiny ballads – with inflections of the flamenco crucial to his familial roots – Sanz has made his mark with his distinctively fluid-but-raspy vocals, and his signature gentle romanticism.
“Without me seeing, talking or being conscious of the outside world, I was already breathing music,” says Sanz, going back to his youth in Madrid. “My father lived for music. My mother was art made woman. Ever since I’ve memories, there is a guitar next to me. I was less about studying and more about singing. When you have something in your blood, it is impossible to refuse.”
Thinking about the importance of “Viviendo Deprisa,” Sanz believes it was the devil-may-care attitude of youth that provoked him to sing and compose with such abandon. “That’s why every song I composed for that album is charged with pure feelings and such stories,” he says. “Thirty years have passed, but they remain current. Timeless. That is what stands out in any album; its essence is eternal.”
What of that 22-year-old singer-composer remains part of the now 52-year-old Sanz?
“Back then I was somewhat thinner,” he laughs. “But as a musician I am still the same in an evolved way. Every musician has his base, and from there he can generate different paths and fuse music. But if you listen closely, a good musician doesn’t leave his path.”
As for the importance of flamenco’s traditions, then and now, Sanz says, “I honestly think that my heart beats at the rhythm of a 12/8 beat for bulerias. It is my roots in the way I feel and the way I live. And it will be like that from the beginning to the end.”
Moving forward, Sanz’s sounds and visions broadened to include salsa (1997’s “MÁS”, the best-selling album in Spanish history with over 2 million copies sold), rock (2003’s “No Es lo Mismo”), hip-hop (2005’s “La Tortura” collaboration with Shakira), jazz (2006’s “El Tren de los Momentos”) and reggae (2015’s “Sirope”). But his deeply felt romantic éclat always remained his calling card.
Ask Sanz what his most challenging and rewarding recording has been, and he doesn’t hesitate: “The most challenging was undoubtedly ‘MÁS,’” he says, before pointing to its biggest breakout hit, “Corazon Partio.”
“That song aroused many doubts from above, since it did not go much with the style that was used back then. I feel that a musician is like a warrior. The sword and shield are each of his compositions. At all times, he has to attack and defend it without fear. Blindly believing in what you do defines you as a musician and, at the same time, makes you grow when you confront a no.”
In his continued need to challenge, at a time when inventive Latin hip-hop and reggaeton rule the charts, Sanz dropped his most recent record in 2019, “#ElDisco,” a traditional pop album with gorgeous melodies and lovely string sections. “Music is music,” he declares. “I have never felt the need to go against it. Trends are overvalued; every artist has their own style, their own way to make music. Just as the audience is diverse, so is the music.”
On working with young Latin artists such as Nicky Jam, Residente and Camila Cabello on “#ElDisco” – music makers he certainly inspired and helped evolve – Sanz is pragmatic. “The Latin music scene always beats at a different rhythm. … This sound has always existed and, with the passage of time, undergoes a metamorphosis.”
Sanz’s own metamorphosis has continued amid a pandemic “that put the world on pause, with uncertainty that still seems unreal.” He restarts his #LaGira tour in October (“We’re coming back with so much energy, every concert will be unforgettable”), the same month he’ll accept his long-awaited star with pride.
“Everything in life in due time… this too. It’s not every day that one can say that a Walk of Fame star is waiting for him. This is the perfect moment.”
WHAT: Alejandro Sanz receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
WHEN: 11:30 a.m. Oct. 1
WHERE: 1750 N. Vine St.