'I've been learning Spanish for about four or five years,' says the Motown legend.
Smokey Robinson will second that emocion on his next album. The Motown legend tells Billboard that he's working on a "Spanglish" album for his next release, his first since 2009's "Time Flies When You're Having Fun."
"I've been learning Spanish for about four or five years," Robinson reports. "I'm writing songs in Spanish now, so it will be a combination Spanish-English record. I'm going to do some traditional Latino songs, but there's a bunch of original stuff, too."
But Robinson cautions that we shouldn't hold our breath for its release. "I'm just in the embryo stages now, gathering material," he says. "I haven't gone into the studio yet. I've been so busy this year, traveling and performing, I haven't had the time. So I don't know when it's going to happen yet."
Robinson has more shows lined up during the year, stretching into just before Thanksgiving at the moment. This year also marks the 40th anniversary of the onetime Motown vice-president's departure from the Miracles, initially as a retirement to focus on his family and corporate duties.
"I had no idea it was 40 years, because it happened overnight," Robinson notes. "Time just happens, and it's going by and I'm not really conscious of how quickly it's going by, because it doesn't seem like that long ago to me." The retirement would barely last a year, however; Robinson released his first solo album, "Smokey," in 1973, and since then he's released nearly two dozen albums and scored Top 10 solo hits with "Cruisin'," "Being With You" and "Just To See Her" and has released duets with Rick James ("Ebony Eyes"), Dolly Parton ("I Know You By Heart"), Kenny G ("We've Saved the Best for Last") and the Four Tops ("Indestructible").
"I'm blessed, man -- blessed, blessed, blessed," says Robinson, who's been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame and also received a Kennedy Center Honor. "I have been able to be around for all these years, still viable, and I feel like God has sustained me. People still come out to the concerts and they're packed out all over the world. So I'm just blessed, man, that that's what's happened to me."