Spain's Pablo Alborán 'Will Always Try to Generate Emotions': Interview

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Courtesy of Billboard Argentina
Pablo Alborán

Spain's Pablo Alborán swears that the labels and definitions placed on him are true. "People will inevitably put labels and tags on you," he reasoned. "It's happened to me, that I've done a lot of ballads. When you hear something, you'll inevitably put it somewhere in your head."

The romantic musician, singer and songwriter, now age 30, has revitalized Spanish and Latin pop. He reconfirmed these labels with his fourth album, Prometo, in 2017.

One of the most highly successful balladeers in Spain in the past decade, Alborán has been consistently among the best-selling records and highest concert ticket sales.Prometo was nominated for a 2019 American Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Album.

Other recent pleasures motivate him as well. In March, he debuted at the legendary Royal Albert Hall in London, and later that month, he recorded a piano and voice version of "Rayando el Sol" as a duet with Maná's Fher at Bayfront Park Amphitheater in Miami.

Alborán is not afraid to step outside his comfort zone with hits revolving around different facets of love, passion and introspection. "Many will say that I am a romantic singer, and others will like what I sing without thinking about whether I choose romantic, pop, fast or slow music. But I do what I was born to do, and I will always try to generate emotions. Hopefully that will be what typecasts me: the emotion. I don't care about the rest," he said.

Here, he talks to Billboard Argentina:

How do you make a difference when there is a trend in the industry?

Every time I talk about that issue with people older than me, they tell me that it always existed. Now it's with reggaeton or trap, but in other years, it was with pop, funk or whatever. There was always a phenomenon, and you cannot fight against it. Everything depends on what you want.

Music must be free from the start. And if you want to do reggaeton, why aren't you going to do it? Or make a ballad, why not? You have to start from that foundation: that you do it because you want to, not because they impose it on you. And let people say what they want. You should not cheat the public that has always followed you.

How do you manage your levels of obsession?

I was very obsessive at the beginning of my career. At 16 or 17, I wore a scarf even in summer. I did not drink anything cold, not a sip. I remember a family trip, with everyone in the car. It was impressively hot. And I forced them to cut the air conditioning!

Only when I got used to working on my instrument every day did I realize that obsession is not good: you have to accustom your body to living a normal life. I face air conditioners in hotels daily, and I can't live in a glass cage.

Does music cure you or is it an antidote?

Both. On the one hand, it is the antidote to routine. Thank God I have the music to escape for a while. For those who work in an office every day in front of a computer, and do not have an escape route, it must feel horrible. On the other hand, art can have many messages as an antidote. The world is increasingly homophobic, more sexist, more racist -- it is as if we were infected by a virus. People do not have the empathy that songs used to have. I do not feel that music is an antidote, but it certainly helps.

How do you manage to be a romantic artist of the 21st century, when many romantic lyrics are considered chauvinistic?

It's curious. It is something that we must think over, because many of the lyrics that are criticized and that are categorized as chauvinistic, like those of reggaeton, are in the end, the most requested ones. It is a paradox of the world in which we live: We consume the music that we criticize.

Why does this happen?

I wish I knew. Mind you, I don't think reggaeton is synonymous with male chauvinism. I'd like to emphasize that. Obviously, there are chauvinistic and offensive reggaeton lyrics. But if you see the lists of the best-selling songs, many are reggaeton songs with lyrics denounced as chauvinistic. That's when I say: How strange that what we consume is what we criticize.