Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.
For the past two years, Ednita Nazario has sported a tattoo of a heart with an overlapping flame on her left shoulder.
Looking hip and trim in her Miami hotel room, she explains that it is her symbol, something that will be placed on everything she does from now on.
That heart and flame are emblazoned on the cover of "Apasionada," her June 21 release on Sony BMG.
Beyond the album's "passionate" content, the symbol also underscores the renowned emotional quality of Nazario's voice, which she applies to songs with unconventional lyrics. Like a torch singer in reverse, Nazario does not sing about unrequited love, but about women who have the upper hand.
"I like songs that tell stories, that go straight to the point," says Nazario, who sees herself more as an interpreter than a composer (although she always pens at least one song per album) and who commissions her music from many writers. "I don't like songs where the woman is a victim of circumstance. I like assertive points of view. I like the position of a woman in the 21st century, in control of her decisions, her circumstances and her emotions."
Take the first single, "Vengada." It is the tale of a man who returns to the woman he left, but she no longer wants him.
"It's the sweet revenge of finding a new love," Nazario says.
The song, penned by Claudia Brandt and Daniel Freiberg, is No. 20 on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart. Brandt also wrote for Nazario's 2003 studio album, "Por Tí," which debuted at No. 1 on the Top Latin Albums chart, thanks largely to heavy sales in Nazario's native Puerto Rico.
With more than 20 studio albums under her belt, Nazario is one of the undisputed queens of Latin pop. For the past several years, she has teamed with Tommy Torres, a young Puerto Rican producer/songwriter/artist who has revamped her sound. That pairing, compounded with a roster of newer songwriters featured on her album (including singer/writer Luis Fonsi, Noel Schajiris of Sin Bandera and Spaniard Antonio Orozco), has kept her music current.
"I always look ahead, and I always start from scratch," Nazario says, analyzing her long career.
As was the case with "Por Tí," the release of "Apasionada" will be timed with a live TV special that will initially air in Puerto Rico the week of release.
In July, Sony BMG plans to release "Apasionada" in Mexico, a market where Nazario once sold strongly, but which she has left largely untapped for the past several years.