Freelance Spain
Spaniards for the 21st Century

Alejandro Sanz
Spain's best-selling pop singer

After three years of silence, Alejandro Sanz published in 2003 his sixth album "No es lo mismo". After the enormous success that was obtained with his album "Más" (1997) and his consolidation with "El alma al aire" (2004), the performer that sells the most albums in Spain returns with a light change of look and of style, out-on-the-street and with slight touches of rap. After taking some time off to marry Mexican model Jaydy Mitchell, in Bali in December 1998, Sanz spent one year encloistered on a cattle ranch in Extremadura (western Spain) owned by his friend, singer Miguel Bosé, to write the material for the new record. That was followed by months of recording sessions in Miami, Florida. The resulting work shows mixed influences of Spanish light flamenco and Italian-style romantic ballads, and lyrics with a certain intimist, poetic depth.

Alejandro Sanz was born in Madrid in 1968, although his parents are Andalusians. His father was a professional guitarrist who played accompaniment for stars including Manolo Escobar and Lola Flores, and Alejandro's earliest influence was flamenco. A mediocre trade-school student, he carried his guitar practically everywhere he went from age 15 on, and played at local parish functions in the working-class Madrid neighborhood where he lived, later graduating to performances at bars and clubs.

The turning point came when he met musical manager Miguel Angel Arenas (known in the trade al Capi) in 1987. Arenas, who had previously helped launch the career of the Spanish super-group Mecano, got Sanz jobs as a recording artist. Sanz made his first solo record in 1989, a odd techno-flamenco work entitled "Los Chulos Son Pa Cuidarlos" (it is now a collector's item, with copies reportedly selling for up to $,1500).

At the beginning of his singing career, Sanz was categorized as a mere teeny boppers' idol. Concert tours to promote his albums "Viviendo Deprisa" (1991), "Si Tu Me Miras" (1993) and "3" (1995) were characterized by hysterically screaming pubescent girls and multiple faintings. But Sanz, whose songwriting was showing increasing maturity, wisely broadened his audience base to appeal to adult listeners. That change was signalled by the watershed album "Más" - including the hit song, Corazón Partío (Broken Heart) - which sold two million copies in Spain and three million worldwide, making it the most successful Spanish pop record ever.

Although Sanz is eager to enter the American market, on the back of the fashion for Latino music, he prefers not to sing in English, unlike his contemporary Enrique Iglesias. That is not the only difference between Sanz and the son of Spanish crooner Julio Iglesias. Where Iglesias Jr. is arrogant and standoffish, Sanz is outgoing, amenable, witty, and has a way with the media. Besides, he's a better musician.


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