Year In Music 2014

Billboard Year in Music 2014: The Story Behind Carlos Santana's No. 1 Spanish-Language Album, 'Corazon'

Eric Ryan Anderson

Fernando Cabral, Michael Vrionis, Clive Davis, Carlos Santana, Afo Verde, Alex Gallardo and Tom Corson photographed by Eric Ryan Anderson on October 16th at Sony Club in New York City.

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The idea for Carlos Santana's first Spanish-language album was hatched between the guitarist and his manager, Michael Vrionis, over dinner in 2012. "He asked me, 'Have you ever wanted to do a Latino Supernatural?'" recalls Santana, 67. Corazon, jointly released by RCA/Sony Latin Iberia, was conceived as a studio album plus a concert event filmed in Santana's native Mexico. In May, the CD, featuring duets with Juanes and Pitbull, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Latin Albums chart.

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Alex Gallardo, VP A&R, Sony Music Latin: We searched for two things: artists Carlos would feel comfortable with and songs. We put together a presentation, and when we played a track, he'd ask for his iPod X -- he has a bunch loaded with songs. For example, there's a Cesaria Evora song he loves. When we suggested Gloria Estefan, he said, "I have the song." Each song had its story.



Clive Davis, chief creative officer, Sony Music Entertainment: We considered a concert in Rio de Janeiro. And when the conversation turned to Mexico, returning to Carlos' roots, we determined that it would be a studio album in conjunction with a meaningful live date.

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Fernando Cabral, senior VP marketing for Latin America/Iberia, Sony: Right off the bat, we discussed the partners, and that's how we got support from Mexico's tourism board and HBO [which aired the special].

Tom Corson, president/COO, RCA: It was the first time we've done something so consciously [between the Latin and mainstream companies]. When I got the Juanes track, I thought, "This is going to be huge."

Santana Debuts At No. 1 On Top Latin Albums Chart

Santana: The guests recorded in the studio with me. We were cooking at the same stove at the same time, together.

2014's No. 1's: J Balvin & Farruko  | Idina Menzel & the 'Frozen' SoundtrackTove Lo, Kiesza, & Nick Jonas | Taylor Swift | Barbra Streisand | Weird Al Yankovic | Ed Sheeran & Charli XCX | Nicki Minaj | 'Guardians of the Galaxy' SoundtrackEnrique Iglesias | Kacey Musgraves | Santana | Sam SmithIggy Azalea | Jason Derulo | Meghan Trainor, Nico & Vinz

This article first appeared in the Dec. 20 issue of Billboard.