Andres Cepeda Talks Latin Grammy Nominations, Tour With Fonseca & More

AP Photo/Marco Ugarte
Andrés Cepeda during an interview in Mexico City on Oct. 5, 2016.

For his 10th studio album and his first as a non-independent artist, Colombian singer, songwriter and producer Andrés Cepeda put together a team of A-listers like Ricardo Montaner and Kany García and award-winning producer Julio Reyes Copello to create Mil Ciudades under Sony Music.

The result was a collection of love- and heartbreak-infused ballads and melancholic melodies, which scored two Latin Grammy nominations, for album of the year and best traditional pop vocal album.

In an interview with Billboard, Cepeda, who won a Latin Grammy in 2013 for his album Lo Mejor Que Hay En Mi Vida, talks about his two nominations, his new book Mil Canciones Que Cantarte: Historias de Amor and the upcoming tour with his compadre Fonseca.

Congrats on your Latin Grammy nominations! To be nominated with an album like Mil Ciudades, which has become a fundamental record in your career, must be pretty special, right?

Totally. I'm very happy to be nominated in such important categories where they recognize a project in its entirety. That's important to me because then everyone on the team gets recognized -- from producers and collaborators to songwriters, etc. Those types of nominations have a lot of weight. We're all very happy, very nervous and hopeful.

The team includes artists like Ricardo Montaner, Kany García and producers like Julio Reyes Copello and Tommy Torres. How did that A-list team come together?

Mil Ciudades is the first album I did as a non-independent artist. So when I partnered up with Sony Music for this album we started thinking of producers who knew my repertoire well and after we had a vision for the album, producers like Julio and Tommy came onboard to help me develop the rest of the album. As far as collaborators, I've been friends with both Kany and Ricardo for a very long time and we had been wanting to do music together for a while. I co-wrote with them the songs they're featured on in the album.

How were those initial production conversations for Mil Ciudades?

When you're working with a maestro like Julio, the conversations are very easy. He knows how to listen to music so well that when you're trying to explain to him what you want to accomplish with your songs, he can easily make it happen. When I sent him the demos to my songs, they were in the very early stages accompanied by only a piano or guitar, but they already had a structure or a certain arrangement in place that he quickly identified and that facilitated the development of the rest of the song because he understands and respects what you're trying to get across with your music.

Mil Ciudades is an album that has given you much satisfaction, and now there is also a book to go along with the record and a collective of your musical trajectory. How did that idea come about?

A while back I had this idea of creating a textbook that included some of my songs and explaining the meaning behind the lyrics, how and/or where I wrote the song, etc. The idea was to create a map of songs.

The first part of the book is called Mil Canciones Que Cantarte: Historias de Amor (A Thousand Songs to Sing to You: Stories of Love) and the second part is titled Mil Canciones Que Cantarte: Historias de Desamor (A Thousand Songs to Sing to You: Stories of Heartbreak). It's a way to share your music on another level. It's important that the audience knows the story behind your songs because they can better understand your music. Not only do I love to perform my songs, I love to talk about them too.

What's next for you?

Well, I'll be embarking on the Compadres Tour with Fonseca in December. At the beginning of this year, we were part of this television show in Colombia called A Otro Nivel where we performed a fusion of two of our songs. People reacted so well to that performance that the video became viral and we realized that we had to do something more. We've been friends for a while now and it was crazy that we still hadn't done any sort of collaboration. So we wrote a song together, which will debut soon, that will be kind of the official song of this tour, which kicks off in December. The original plan was to visit five cities in Colombia, but in February of next year we'll take the tour to neighboring countries and possibly the U.S. as well.

If you win at the Latin Grammys, how will you celebrate?

Well, being in Vegas, you can just imagine. ... But first, I would want to give my whole team a big hug to thank them and congratulate them as well. The possibility of celebrating it with everyone is what makes winning an award special.