Alejandro Sanz

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Sánchez and the second or maternal family name is Pizarro.
Alejandro Sanz
Alejandro Managua.jpg
Alejandro Sanz performing in Managua, Nicaragua on November 1, 2007.
Background information
Birth name Alejandro Sánchez Pizarro
Born (1968-12-18) December 18, 1968 (age 45)
Origin Madrid, Spain
Genres Latin pop
Occupations Singer, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano
Years active 1989–present
Labels Warner Music Benelux - Universal Music Group
Associated acts Juanes, Shakira, Alicia Keys, Calle 13, Ivete Sangalo
Website AlejandroSanz.com

Alejandro Sanz (Spanish pronunciation: [aleˈxandɾo ˈsanθ]; born Alejandro Sánchez Pizarro; December 18, 1968) is a Spanish singer-songwriter and musician. For his work, Sanz has won a total of fifteen Latin Grammy Awards and three Grammy Awards. He has won the Latin Grammy for Album of the Year three times, more than any other artist. Throughout his career, he has released a total of eight studio albums and six DVDs. The singer is noted for his flamenco-influenced ballads, but he has also experimented with rock, salsa, and hip hop. Born in Madrid, Sanz began playing guitar at age seven, taking influence from his family's flamenco roots.

Sanz released his debut album at age sixteen, although he did not gain commercial success in Spain until his second release, Viviendo Deprisa. His next two records, Si Tú Me Miras (1993) and 3 (1995) also fared well commercially, but it was his 1997 breakthrough album Más that garnered international success. El Alma al Aire followed in 2000, selling more than a million copies in its first week. In 2002, he became the first Spanish artist to record an MTV Unplugged album. His collaboration with Shakira on the 2005 single "La Tortura" reached number one on several charts worldwide. His albums No Es lo Mismo (2003) and El Tren de los Momentos (2006) showed Sanz experimenting with more diverse styles of music, while his most recent release, Paraíso Express (2009) served as a return to form for the musician. He signed to Universal Music Group in 2011 and released his ninth studio album, La Música No Se Toca, on September 25, 2012.

Early life[edit]

Sanz was born in Madrid, Spain, on December 18, 1968, the youngest son of María Pizarro and Jesús Sánchez.[1] He grew up in the neighborhood of Moratalaz in eastern Madrid.[2] Sanz recalled that "Back then, kids grew up on the street...I was a bit like the group troubadour; the one who played the guitar and sang. That kept me out of a lot of trouble."[2] Sanz's father, a door-to-door book salesman, played guitar professionally, which inspired seven-year-old Sanz to learn to play the instrument.[1][3] He pursued the instrument with an intensity that eventually frustrated his mother, who broke his guitar one morning after his playing kept the family from sleeping.[3]

He was exposed to traditional flamenco music as a child while vacationing each summer in his parents' native Andalucía in southern Spain.[3] Originally, Sanz intended to become a flamenco performer, but he found the music teachers to be overly strict. Commenting on his early experiences, Sanz explained, "Flamenco can be very hard on beginners. If you lose the rhythm, they toss you out with, 'You're no good, boy!' They're very strict and very cruel. But it's also a marvelous education, because you either learn to play or else."[3] He felt that he could not compete with his peers, and decided to focus on creating pop music with flamenco influences, viewing flamenco to be a "lifestyle" better suited to others.[4]

Recording career[edit]

1989–96: First four albums[edit]

As a teenager, Sanz performed in various venues in his hometown. He became acquainted with Miguel Ángel Arenas, a music industry executive who had signed several popular Spanish groups such as Mecano.[1] Arenas helped Sanz find work, eventually leading to a record deal with the Spanish label Hispavox.[1] In 1989 Sanz released his debut album, Los Chulos Son Pa' Cuidarlos under the name of Alejandro Magno (Spanish for "Alexander the Great").[4] The record, which fused techno and flamenco, was met with critical and commercial indifference, and today Sanz views the record to be "insignificant".[3] However, the album is now considered to be a collector's item.[1] In an attempt to promote Los Chulos Son Pa' Cuidarlos, he performed at strip clubs, playing short sets between acts.[3] This proved to be unsuccessful and Sanz took a break from music, choosing to study business administration.[3] He also took a job at a recording studio in which he wrote material for other artists. He persuaded Arenas to send demos of his songs to record companies, which led to being signed by Warner Music Latina.[3] At this time, he began performing under his current name.[1]

Sanz's rise to fame began in 1991, when he released his first album from Warner, Viviendo Deprisa. The record and the songs "Pisando Fuerte" and "Se le Apagó la Luz" helped him gain a dedicated fan base in Spain.[5] In 1993, he released Si Tú Me Miras shortly followed by a live album, titled Básico. That same year, he recorded a song entitled "Mi Primera Canción" with flamenco pioneer Paco de Lucía, whom Sanz idolized as a child.[6] He released his third studio album since changing his stage name, 3, in 1995. In addition to Spanish, 3 was also released in Italian and Portuguese.[7] "La Fuerza del Corazón", the first single released from 3, was his first song to chart internationally.[1] All three albums proved to be successful, reaching multi-platinum status in Spain.[1]

1997–2002: Más, El Alma al Aire, and MTV Unplugged[edit]

The single "Corazón Partío", from Más, draws influence from flamenco music and has been described as a "powerhouse ballad".[8][9] It is considered to be Sanz' breakthrough song, and "changed the course" of the singer's career.[1][8]

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Sanz spent two years in Milan, Italy to work on a follow-up for 3.[10] For the album, he wished to create a "true fusion" of many different sounds, and began studying the saxophone and piano in addition to guitar.[10] In 1997, Sanz released his fifth studio album, Más, a record containing ballads strongly influenced by flamenco, pop, and tropical rhythms.[11] Driven by the singles "Corazón Partío", "Y, ¿Si Fuera Ella?", "Amiga Mía", "Aquello Que Me Diste", and "Siempre Es de Noche", Más sold more than two million copies in Spain and was certified 22× Platinum in the country, making it the best-selling album in Spanish history.[1][4][12][13] The album remained on the Billboard Latin Albums chart for 74 weeks, and one year after the record's release, Sanz was granted an Ondas Award for Best Song for "Corazón Partío".[14][15] According to David Cazares of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the album "made Sanz an international star on the strength of the pop-salsa hit 'Corazón Partío', a song on the lips of fans from Spain to Cuba and the United States."[5] Following the success of the album, Sanz began touring in United States for the first time.[4]

This record is important because it represents me choosing what I want to do...You're always learning things about music if you want to, and you can apply it to what you want to do. It has a rhythmic complexity and a proximity to flamenco, however it's less obvious.

– Sanz, speaking about El Alma al Aire in 2001.[16]

His fifth album, El Alma al Aire, released September 26, 2000, featured Sanz exploring a wider array of musical genres, including jazz, R&B, soul and tango.[5] In Spain, the album sold more than one million copies in the first week, breaking the record of one million copies sold in four months, also set by Sanz with his previous album, Más.[17][18] At the 2001 Latin Grammy Awards, Sanz walked away with four awards: Best Pop Male Vocal Album and Album of the Year for El Alma al Aire, and Record of the Year and Song of the Year for the title track from the album.[19] Later that year, El Alma al Aire was released in a special edition including Sanz's duets with Irish band The Corrs. In October 2001, Sanz collaborated with Michael Jackson and various other artists on the Spanish version of the charity single "What More Can I Give", which benefited the victims of the September 11 attacks.[17][20]

In 2002, Sanz recorded MTV Unplugged at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida.[4] He was the first Spanish artist to record and release an MTV Unplugged album.[21] For Sanz, the recording of the album "changed the way I do my music. It was a rediscovery of how to perform, and also how to record, music with live musicians. That was the spirit of the music in its pure form, though [it is ironic] that the more people who are playing, the more simple it is."[4] With the MTV Unplugged, he garnered three Latin Grammy Awards (Album of the Year, Recording of the Year and Song of the Year for "Y Sólo Se Me Ocurre Amarte").[22]

2003–07: No Es lo Mismo and El Tren de los Momentos[edit]

On September 2, 2003, Sanz released his sixth studio album, No Es lo Mismo. On this record, Sanz took a more political approach than he had on previous releases. The song "Sandy a Orilla do Mundo" discusses oil spills on the Spanish coast, while "Labana" tells the story of people fleeing from Cuba on makeshift rafts.[23] The album won four awards at the 2004 Latin Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year and Record of the Year.[24] Sanz was unable to attend the event and his awards were accepted by presenters and colleagues.[24] Also in 2004, he became the first Spanish musician to give a lecture at Harvard University, speaking about Hispanic culture at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies.[25]

Alejandro Sanz performing in Managua, Nicaragua on November 1, 2007.

In 2005, Sanz collaborated with Shakira on her song "La Tortura". Co-written by Sanz, the song became an international hit, breaking the record for the most weeks at the number one spot on the Hot Latin Songs chart.[26] The song exposed Sanz to a more diverse audience, and helped build anticipation for his next release.[1] The first single from the album El Tren de los Momentos, "A la Primera Persona", became his first song to enter the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 100 on the chart.[1][27] The record was also noted for its guest appearances, which featured Shakira, Juanes, Alex González of Maná, and Residente of Calle 13.[1]

In the spring of 2007, Sanz suffered a mental breakdown and took two months off in the middle of a world tour at the request of his doctor. The breakdown was caused by several events in his personal life, including the death of his father in 2005, his separation with Mexican model and actress Jaydy Mitchel, and his announcement that he had a three-year-old son outside of his marriage with Mitchel.[28] He commented on the situation, saying "You have to put things in perspective. It was stress, something that had never affected me, but this time, yes, it did. So I had to pay. A doctor told me to stop for a couple of months to recuperate completely."[28] Sanz spent time in therapy, a time which "helped [him] a lot" and gave him "more power" to perform.[28]

In a press conference in late 2007, he criticized Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, calling him "undemocratic" in the wake of a petition made by Venezuelan citizens to prevent Chávez from running for re-election.[5][29] Sanz further stated "If they gave me 3 million signatures to stop singing, I would stop singing immediately."[29] Supporters of Chávez subsequently gathered 230,000 signatures in response to Sanz' comments.[29]

2008–present: Paraíso Express and La Música no se Toca[edit]

Sanz performing on May 28, 2008.

To promote his new record, Paraíso Express, Sanz started a campaign in which fans could create a video about their definition of paradise and upload it to his YouTube channel.[30] Artists such as Shakira, Laura Pausini and Paulina Rubio also participated.[30] On November 10, 2009, Sanz released Paraíso Express. This record was described as a return to form for Sanz, focusing more on melody as opposed to the experimentation he pursued on his previous two albums.[31] He commented that "On this album, I first composed the melody and then the lyrics. It is more of a rock album than my past releases, with more elegant and positive lyrics and a happier and more rhythmic spirit."[32] The bilingual single "Looking for Paradise" featuring Alicia Keys reached number one on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart.[33] At the 2010 Latin Grammy Awards, the album was nominated Album of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal Album, while the single "Desde Cuándo" received both Record and Song of the Year nominations.[34]

On February 15, 2011, Sanz announced that he would be signing with Universal Music Group after twenty years with Warner.[35] On September 2, the singer unveiled the official artwork of his upcoming ninth studio album, La Música No Se Toca on his official site.[36] Sanz released La Música No Se Toca, featuring the single "No Me Compares", on September 25, 2012.[37] On August 21, 2012,[38] Sanz released his new single Irrepetível (Me Sumerjo), a duet with Brazilian singer-songwriter Ana Carolina. The song is a Portuguese-Spanish song and it's only available in Brazil's iTunes. On September 17, he released the album's second single, "Se Vende".

Musical style[edit]

Early in his career, Sanz' music generally consisted of romantic ballads. However, in the late 1990s, his collaborations with other artists greatly expanded his musical style.[1] On No Es lo Mismo, he experimented with rock, salsa, and hip hop.[4] While recording the album, Sanz noted that he often entered the studio with a rough idea for a song and the guest artists would "contaminate it with their rhythms...in a good way."[23] El Tren de los Momentos continued this pattern of musical experimentation, featuring diverse genres such as funk, jazz, and country.[39] Despite this, Jason Birchmeier of Allmusic described his musical evolution by saying "Even as Sanz broadened his style over the years, he never ventured far from his strength: romantic songs, generally ballads, tinged with flamenco and sung wholeheartedly with his distinct voice."[1]

Sanz is known for his distinctive raspy vocals, which he attributes to his flamenco roots, crediting singer Camarón de la Isla as a major influence.[40][41] His song "Sí, He Cantado Mal" (Yes, I Have Sung Badly) from No Es lo Mismo references this, with Sanz saying "I'm laughing a little at myself so that I can laugh at other things. Sometimes, I'm harder on myself than any music critic can be. I'm laughing at that."[40] Throughout his youth, Sanz was heavily influenced by English-language heavy metal groups such as Iron Maiden and Dio, referring to himself as a "heavy metal radical".[40] He also feels that living in the city of Cadiz had a major impact on his musical style, where "Any 7-year-old kid you find knows how to play guitar, play the cajón, knows how to sing. When the family comes together we start to sing. In a way it's not just music, it's culture."[41]

Personal life[edit]

Sanz with Shakira and Juan Carlos I, The King of Spain during the IberoAmerican Summit of El Salvador.

Sanz married Mexican fashion model and actress Jaydy Michel in Bali on December 30, 1999, but this marriage was never legally recognized in either of their home countries. Sanz felt that having a legally recognized marriage was unnecessary: "My wife is my wife and I am her husband. For me, that has enough validity...I am married with the heart."[42] The couple separated in 2005.[28] Their daughter, Manuela Sánchez Michel, was born on July 28, 2001. Sanz later had a son named Alexander with Valeria Rivera, a Puerto Rican fashion designer.[43]

Sanz welcomed his third child in New York, a boy named Dylan (b. July 2011), the first child from his relationship with girlfriend and former assistant, Raquel Perera.[44] Sanz chose flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucía to be the godfather to his son. Sanz and Perera are godparents to David Bisbal's daughter, Ella.[45] On May 23, 2012, Sanz married Raquel Perera in a private ceremony in Sabadell (Barcelona).[46]

In addition to music, Sanz enjoys painting, which he often does while trying to create ideas for new songs.[47] He explains that painting "teaches you that taking risks rarely leads to failure. In fact, from the moment you assume a risk, you have succeeded."[3]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Tours[edit]

Dubbing[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
2014 Ra.Uno Shekhar (speak role) Spanish European version

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Birchmeier, Jason. "Alejandro Sanz – Biography". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved May 30, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "The place where Sanz's songs are born". El Pais (Prisacom). October 29, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Gurza, Augustin (October 19, 2003). "Not content to be stuck in success". Los Angeles Times (Eddy Hartenstein). Retrieved May 30, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Harrington, Richard (April 23, 2004). "Alejandro Sanz finds his voice". The Washington Post (The Washington Post Company). 
  5. ^ a b c d Cózares, David (April 18, 2004). "A Singer On A Soapbox". South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Tribune Company). Retrieved July 27, 2011. 
  6. ^ Brown Rodríguez, Alberto (April 30, 1998). "Alejandro Sanz exhibe Más calidad". Mundo Hispanico (in Spanish). 
  7. ^ Carrillo, Miguel (April 29, 2010). "Paquita la del Barrio, Alejandro Sanz to perform at San Manuel". El Chicano Weekly. 
  8. ^ a b Cobo, Leila (February 17, 2001). "Spaniard Sanz a Unique Grammy Pick". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved December 8, 2009. 
  9. ^ Lannert, John (January 31, 1998). "Latin Notas". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved December 8, 2009. 
  10. ^ a b Rubio Rosell, Carlos (July 12, 1997). "Hay mas de Alejandro Sanz". El Norte (in Spanish). 
  11. ^ Holston, Mark (September 14, 1998). "Music". Hispanic Magazine. 
  12. ^ "Top 100 Albumes" (in Spanish). Productores de Música de España. Retrieved January 26, 2012. 
  13. ^ "International – Sanz Of Time". Billboard (Prometheus Global Media) 110 (25): 64. June 20, 1998. Retrieved February 27, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Alejandro Sanz – Más – Chart History". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved January 25, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Spain Set for Two Music Award Shows". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. November 14, 1998. Retrieved January 25, 2012. 
  16. ^ Burr, Ramiro (February 11, 2001). "Top European crooners aim for North America". San Antonio Express News (Hearst Corporation). 
  17. ^ a b Moss, Corey (October 30, 2001). "Latin Grammys Honor Christina's Spanish, Ricky's Moves". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved November 6, 2011. 
  18. ^ Llewellyn, Howell (November 25, 2000). "Sanz Sweeps Awards". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved January 22, 2012. 
  19. ^ Saraceno, Christina (October 30, 2001). "Christina Wins Latin Grammy". Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner. Retrieved January 25, 2012. 
  20. ^ vanHorn, Teri (October 22, 2001). "'NSYNC Join Jackson's Charity Single; Mariah, Celine Sing In Spanish". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved November 6, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Spanish star: Alejandro Sanz performs in Miami on Saturday". South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Tribune Company). July 30, 2010. Retrieved July 26, 2011. 
  22. ^ Klein, James (June 20, 2008). "The New CD and DVD of Julieta Venegas: "MTV Unplugged"". La Prensa San Diego. 
  23. ^ a b Clark, Michael D. (May 6, 2004). "Alejandro Sanz sings a political tune on new album". Houston Chronicle (Hearst Corporation). Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  24. ^ a b Piccoli, Sean (September 2, 2004). "No-show Takes The Award Show". South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Tribune Company). Retrieved July 26, 2011. 
  25. ^ Deitz, Roger (September 20, 2004). "Róndine Alcalá Publicist". The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education (Paramus). 
  26. ^ Aguila, Justino (September 27, 2011). "Shakira Is Latin Grammy Person of the Year". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  27. ^ "Alejandro Sanz – La Primera Persona Chart History". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  28. ^ a b c d Levin, Jordan (December 24, 2007). "Recovered from breakdown, Alejandro Sanz finds power". Chicago Tribune (Tribune Company). Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  29. ^ a b c Llewellyn, Howell (September 10, 2010). "Alejandro Sanz Appeals to Hugo Chavez". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  30. ^ a b Cobo, Leila (September 13, 2009). "Welcome to Paradise". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 7, 2011. 
  31. ^ Cobo, Leila (December 1, 2009). "Alejandro Sanz, "Paraiso Express"". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  32. ^ Herrera, Monica (September 22, 2009). "Alejandro Sanz Recruits Alicia Keys, Sets Date For 'Paradise'". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 5, 2011. 
  33. ^ Lynch, Emma (January 6, 2010). "Alejandro Sanz still has it after 20 years". La Voz Bilingüe. 
  34. ^ Junco, Maite (September 9, 2010). "Alejandro Sanz and Juan Luis Guerra tops in Latin Grammy nods". NY Daily News (Mortimer Zuckerman). Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  35. ^ Cobo, Leila (February 15, 2011). "Alejandro Sanz Signs With Universal". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 5, 2011. 
  36. ^ "Artwork: Alejandro Sanz "La Música No Se Toca"". josepvinaixa. September 2, 2012. Retrieved September 2, 2012. 
  37. ^ Leal, Samantha (June 26, 2012). "Listen: Alejandro Sanz' New Single "No Me Compares"". Latina. Retrieved July 16, 2012. 
  38. ^ http://w3.popmusic.com/charts-itunes-top-songs-brasil.php
  39. ^ Birchmeier, Jason. "El Tren de los Momentos – Review". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  40. ^ a b c Associated Press (July 25, 2004). "Alejandro Sanz shows attitude; Singer introduces flamenco-inspired pop sound to U.S.". Telegraph Herald (Woodward Communications, Inc.). 
  41. ^ a b Morales, Ed (January 19, 2008). "SONIDOS LATINOS: Sanz still looking to expand his horizons". Newsday (Cablevision). Retrieved January 25, 2012. 
  42. ^ Garay, Adriana (March 23, 1999). "Se une con el corazón". El Norte (in Spanish). 
  43. ^ Castillo, Amaris (July 13, 2011). "Alejandro Sanz Welcomes New Son!". Latina. Latina Media Ventures, LLC. Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  44. ^ "Spanish pop star announces birth of third child". inewsone. July 14, 2011. Retrieved August 8, 2011. 
  45. ^ "Alejandro Sanz: 'Aunque haya nacido en Nueva York y se llame Dylan, mi hijo tendrá un padrino muy flamenco, Paco de Lucía'". Hola!. August 7, 2011. Retrieved August 16, 2011. 
  46. ^ "Comunicado Oficial: La foto oficial de la boda de Alejandro Sanz y Raquel Perera". May 29, 2012. Retrieved May 30, 2012. 
  47. ^ Elfman, Doug (May 14, 2004). "The Sounds of Sanz". Las Vegas Review-Journal (Stephens Media). Retrieved February 17, 2012.