You have to cut the guy some slack: What should have been a one-day video shoot in the Dominican Republic for new single "Bailando" turned into one of those improvisatory, "guerrilla style" videos, says Iglesias, that evolved into two days, then three. That, in turn, made him late in flying to the Bahamas for a private concert. Post-show, he can finally relax in his hotel room and talk, late into the night, about Sex and Love, the bilingual album that will be released worldwide March 18 jointly by Republic and Universal Music Latin Entertainment.
The set features both dance-friendly and romantic tracks, ranging from pop and reggae to reggaeton. Its unifying element isn't style or genre, but, as the album's name suggests, matters of the heart and hormones.
"That was the first title that came to my head," explains Iglesias. "There were times I questioned myself: 'Is it too direct? Is it too simple? Should I try to be a little more clever?' But it's the two things that - no matter what language, religion, culture - join us all together. Sex and love are the two things that we can all relate to."
The album veers from the more blatant "I'm a Freak" (featuring Pitbull) to the loving "Beautiful" (with Kylie Minogue) and Spanish-language single "El Perdedor" (featuring Marco Antonio Solis) - the lattermost peaking at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Latin Songs chart in February.
"The style of music wasn't really my concern," says Iglesias. "My concern was the language. Sometimes language can create a barrier. I tried to find a title that people could understand in English and Spanish."
Iglesias long has proved himself a crossover star, thanks to several singles in both languages. His last album, 2010's Euphoria, featuring original tracks in English and Spanish, yielded "I Like It," which reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2010 and has sold 4.1 million downloads, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Michael Alexander, senior vp international marketing for Universal Music Group's East Coast labels, says Iglesias sells roughly 60% of his music outside the United States. In fact, Sex and Love will have him in seven countries during the next several weeks, with major campaigns being held in places as disparate as Germany and India. The album will feature at least three different lead singles being pushed simultaneously in different territories ("I'm a Freak" in the United Kingdom, "Loco" in the States and Latin America, "Beautiful" in Australia). The balancing act is always a challenge, says Iglesias, who was brought up bilingual in Miami, the son of icon Julio Iglesias.
"Some songs can break the language barrier - in the end, the fan wants to listen to music that they like, that they feel is honest," says Iglesias, who through the years has demonstrated particular flair in crafting No. 1 hits. (He holds the record for the most chart-toppers on the Hot Latin Songs chart, with 24.)
On Sex and Love Iglesias partners with big names like Solis, Romeo Santos and pal Pitbull. "We get along personally but also musically, which for me is very rare," he says of Pitbull. "We live in the same city, meet up constantly, go to dinner and always listen to music."
But Iglesias also links with relative unknowns like India Martinez (on a new version of "Loco") and Cubans Descemer Bueno and Gente De Zona on the flamenco-ish "Bailando." Both collaborations, says Iglesias, were fluke experiments, but they work.
"The whole point," he says, "is you never know where a hit is going to come from."