On a recent Tuesday afternoon, with the strains of his new single, "Gritar" (Shout), playing in the background, Luis Fonsi - the Puerto Rican heartthrob with the plaintive voice and earnest, boy-next-door good looks - stood in front of a video camera in a park in downtown Miami and said in Spanish: "Congratulations to all moms. Let's all shout in happiness!"
"And shout, shout, shout!" played his song in the background, as Fonsi displayed his very white, open smile.
Fonsi's endearing. He's entreating. He sings and writes mainly in Spanish, but thinks in Spanish and English-a result of having been raised in Orlando, Fla., most of his life. And the duality spills into his music, which is Latin pop with hues of R&B in the vocals and rock in the arrangements. Fonsi has the sort of wide appeal that both labels and sponsors find increasingly valuable-a fact AT&T first seized upon in 2008, when the company used him and his single "No Me Doy Por Vencido" (I Won't Give Up) for a major campaign tied to the Summer Olympics. At the time, sales of Latin music in the United States were already on a downward spiral, but Fonsi bucked the trend. "Palabras del Silencio" (Universal Music Latino)-the album linked to the AT&T campaign single-sold close to 250,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, more than any of Fonsi's previous albums.