Friday, May 14, 2004
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal
The Sounds of Sanz
The songs of Alejandro Sanz are built around flamenco for its `savage' and `fantastic' qualities
By DOUG ELFMAN
Emotional Spanish singer Alejandro Sanz says he gets revenge by writing songs: "It doesn't bring any consequences. And plus, you have the entire song to explain your point of view."
Alejandro Sanz has toured the world, being a world-famous Spanish singer and all. But he claims that fans are wildest in the United States.
"Here, there are a lot of excited people. They even get on stage with me. That doesn't happen in other countries," he says.
Once, he got caught between fans on stage. He chuckles at the memory. "But I escaped!"
Sanz, speaking through an interpreter, says fans may be more or less emotional from city to city, but he doesn't alter his performance style.
"What I want to present is my music," he says by phone, while on vacation in Miami. "It doesn't matter what city we're in."
Sanz, 35, has built a reputation as a musician who learned guitar as a kid and who still writes his own songs, which are built around flamenco for its "savage" and "fantastic" qualities, he has said.
Even though he is one of the world's best-selling pop performers (but not Ricky Martin-styled Latin pop), and even though Sanz has won an armful of Grammys and other awards, he has faced criticism for being an emotional performer. Such criticism goes with the territory of being a musician, and it inspires him, Sanz says.
"I only write for revenge. For revenge and necessity," Sanz says. He laughs, but he's serious. "I think they're the two main reasons to write songs, because the song is the most effective thing to use for revenge. It doesn't bring any consequences. And plus, you have the entire song to explain your point of view.
"And the necessity," he says, is "when you really need to express your feelings; you use the song."
Sanz sometimes spends 16 hours a day writing music, and he sometimes writes for six months before recording. But he stresses that he is not spending every minute of every such day writing.
"Sometimes, there are a lot of work hours that I spend. But sometimes, nothing comes up. And then sometimes, it's just like looking at the sea five times, and only one line comes out."
That process can be frustratingly unproductive, he says.
"I have to invest too much in looking at the sea before something happens," he says.
But he gets over writer's block by turning his attention to another creative process.
"I combine painting with music. And the moment where I don't feel inspiration for the music, I try to translate that to the painting. And that's helped me a lot in the past," he says.
His dedication and amiable temperament have made it so that Sanz, who was compared to other singers when he started out years ago, has become a musician to whom younger singers are compared. He says he understands comparisons are just easy ways to describe people.
"They're limited," he says. "Sometimes, I take it as a compliment, and sometimes it really pisses me off," he says, laughing. "That's the time for a revenge song!"