Luis Fonsi

Luis Fonsi photographed by Austin Hargrave on April 22 at the 2014 Billboard Latin Music Conference and Awards.

Austin Hargrave

With the release of Luis Fonsi's new album "8," the Latin Pop singer gets candid in a video interview with Billboard behind the scenes at the 2014 Billboard Latin Music Conference.

In 1998, when Luis Fonsi was releasing his first album, he was being pitched as Universal’s newest, coolest signing; a Puerto Rican kid from Orlando who sang romantic pop songs in Spanish but with an R&B sensibility.

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Back then, Fonsi’s voice lived up to the hype, even though the material was rather run-of-the-mill Latin pop. Fast forward 15 years and seven albums to Fonsi’s newest, "8" (no title explanation necessary), and we encounter and artist whose two worlds have come together in a cohesive package of truly great pop songs, all written or co-written by Fonsi.  

The cool factor is courtesy of producer Martín Terefe (Jason Mraz, Mary J Blige, James Blunt), who’s lent organic, lush, rhythmic arrangements to Fonsi’s roster of songs ranging from unabashedly romantic to infectious uptempo.

"I heard about him through songwriting and also because I’m a fan of Train," says Fonsi (Terefe produced several Train tracks, including "Hey, Soul Sister") . "And then I found out the guy speaks Spanish perfectly. So making Spanish language songs wasn’t completely out of his field."

"I’m going through a beautiful stage in my life." -Luis Fonsi
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Fonsi says his new set is not a major departure from his romantic and rock/pop sound, grounded in very melodic songs. But soundwise, he says, "It’s a little different. Everything sounds more alive and very cool."

"I was a kid when I started," laughs Fonsi. "I was fresh out of college. Now, I’m still a kid, just younger. I have a daughter!" The daughter ― whose mother is Spanish model and TV host Agueda Lopez ― is two year old Mikaela, a major influence on this album.

"8" tracks include the "Llegaste Tú" (You Arrived), a bachata duet with Juan Luis Guerra that Fonsi co-wrote with Guerra for Mikaela. And in "Corazón Multicolor" (Multicolor Hear), you can actually hear Mikaela’s voice.

"I’m going through a beautiful stage in my life. I’ve learned about love, about life, about everything," says Fonsi.