After nearly a year of touring, the first thing Franco De Vita plans on doing this summer is . . . nothing. "I'm not doing anything," he says. "I'm going to throw myself on the beach, and I won't want to know anything about anybody."
It'll be a well-deserved break for the singer/songwriter, who has been penning and performing hit singles for nearly 30 years. De Vita's memorable songs, including his iconic pop ballad "Te Amo" (I Love You) and the catchy cabbie number "Louis," continue to serve him well and have made him one of the most beloved performers in Latin music.
The balladeer, who now calls Spain his home, has created a respectable catalog that appeals to a wide demographic, ranging from teenagers to their parents and grandparents. Currently at the end of a worldwide tour in support of his live album series featuring new songs and rerecorded hits, "En Primera Fila" (In the Front Row), the musician took time during a recent Los Angeles stop to reflect on his career. Released in June 2011, the third live album has sold 49,000 units (according to Nielsen SoundScan), debuting and peaking at No. 3 on Billboard's Top Latin Albums chart.
The Venezuelan artist, whose parents are Italian immigrants, has known since he was a teenager that he wanted to be in the music business. Learning how to play keyboards, he composed his own melodies and wrote lyrics, but primarily focused on becoming a singer. Starting in rock bands before going solo in the early '80s, De Vita has continued to mentor new acts and collaborate with other artists, including Mexican "Queen of Rock" Alejandra Guzman, Sin Bandera guitarist/vocalist Leonel Garcia and Costa Rican singer/songwriter Debi Nova, all of whom were guests at his L.A. show.
"Supporting other artists is the only way we can save music," De Vita says. "The industry is not what it used to be. Record companies are not really developing or investing in new artists the way they did in the past."
They have invested quite heavily in De Vita, however, calling him "one of Latin music's greatest treasures," Sony Music Entertainment U.S. Latin GM Nir Seroussi says. "The international success of his greatest-hits project is proof that his music stands the test of time. Franco has so many hits you still couldn't cover them all in a second and third volume."
De Vita has kept current by recording such new songs as "Tan Solo Tu" (Only You) with younger stars like Guzman, and recently he released an entirely different version with Spanish songstress Natalia Jimenez that has generated buzz in Europe and Latin America.
Whether through composing new songs or collaborating with other artists, De Vita's career philosophy has always stressed hard work, remaining grounded and staying passionate about creating music that resonates with audiences.
"In this business, you've got to have patience and work a lot," De Vita says. "If you don't feel that, then don't do it. I started in 1984, and I'm still here."