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'Marc Anthony For Babies' Earns Surprise Latin Grammy Nomination

Marc Anthony
Rodrigo Varela/Getty Images for Univision

Marc Anthony performs on stage during Univision's "Premios Juventud" 2017 Celebrates The Hottest Musical Artists And Young Latinos Change-Makers at Watsco Center on July 6, 2017 in Coral Gables, Fla. 

The singer wasn't sure about the idea for the instrumental album at first.

When Marc Anthony was first approached about the idea of an album featuring versions of his hits for infants, “he was like ‘you want me to sing songs for babies?,’” recalls Carlos Escalona Cruz, who produced the Latin Grammy-nominated Marc Anthony For Babies with tropical star Nacho (of Chino & Nacho fame) and Anthony himself. “Then we played a demo for him, and he said, ‘wait a minute, is that ‘La Gozadera?’ He loved the idea.”

“La Gozadera,” the salsa and pop superstar’s collaboration with Cuban duo Gente de Zona, is one of ten tracks included on the instrumental album (no, Anthony does not actually sing on it). In this version, the boisterous reggaeton hit is bouncy and repetitive, with a circusy vibe, meaning it has all the elements for success with infants and toddlers.

Escalona, a Venezuelan songwriter who lives in New York -- he most recently produced Danny Ocean’s “Me Rehuso” -- previously teamed up with Nacho for 2015’s Chino & Nacho for Babies. Escalona says that even though there are lullaby versions out there of music by English-language artists from The Beatles to Beyoncé, the trend had not fully delivered for parents looking for infantile takes on recent Latin hits.

“The first issue was about lyrics, because reggaeton lyrics are usually talking about sex,” says Escalona, who was approached by Nacho, a father himself, to work on a Chino & Nacho album for children. “So I said, ‘let’s do instrumental album; not for kids, but for babies.” Chino & Nacho For Babies, which included the duo’s signature song, “Mi Niña Bonita,” was also nominated for a Latin Grammy.

For Marc Anthony For Babies, released under Anthony's Magnus Music, Escalona enlisted musicians who could introduce diverse Latin sounds to little ears. Venezuelan cuatro player Jorge Glem brings a folk sound to “Tu Amor Me Hace Bien,” and Colombian accordion player Gregorio Uribe gives “You Sang to Me” a vallenato flair, accompanied by bird sounds and shakers. The production features child-friendly sound effects like rubber duck squeaks, bells, whistles and “boings.”

“The music has to sound like a lullaby, but at the same time people have to recognize the songs,” Escalona says, adding that producing and arranging the music for the baby albums has been surprisingly rewarding for him. “With this kind of project you have the freedom to express your artistry. We definitely will be doing more.” This year's Latin Grammys will air live on the Univision Network on Nov. 16.

Joining Marc Anthony For Babies in the Latin Grammys’ Best Latin Children’s Album are:

¡Churo!, Mariana Baraj

¡Viva Mi Planeta 2! by Cantajuego

Gracias, Cepellín

Queridos (En Vivo), Luis Pescetti

Aprendendo Ritmos da América, Sophia

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