For Diego Garcia, recording his solo debut album, Laura, wasn't about moving fast for the sake of putting music out. Instead he spent five years perfecting a fresh and distinctive sound that also felt nostalgic. His lyrics, all in English, are thoughtful. The melodies, tones and acoustic deliveries provide deep compositions that are haunting at times and retro-inspired in a collection that hints at a '60s and '70s sensibility.
The son of Argentine-born parents, Garcia grew up in a family that straddled two cultures. The benefits of growing up in a bicultural home in the United States meant listening to the music that his father and mother loved. Their favorite music included the early works of Spain's Julio Iglesias, Mexico's Jose Jose and Argentina's Sandro: crooners possessing a very specific style of cool and hipness.
"They were these men, singers from the late '60s and '70s, who were bigger than life," says Garcia, 33. "They were superheroes who sang about love. It felt natural to look back at them when arranging my songs. That's why my sound may feel retro."
In recent months other artists have also been paying homage to music from decades past. Mexico's Zoe, currently on a 28-city U.S. tour, is delivering music with retro elements?but in Latin alternative rock and in Spanish. At times, the group's sound carries a '60s twist with a psychedelic vibe. Its MTV Unplugged/Musica de Fondo debuted and peaked at No. 7 on Billboard's Latin Pop Albums chart and No. 16 on Top Latin Albums.
Colombian singer Andrea Echeverri is about to release a new album, Dos, on Aug. 30. No stranger to the Latin alternative movement, the singer/songwriter embraces a '60s hippie vibe in her music, as does Venezuelan band Los Amigos Invisibles, who will perform at the Hollywood Bowl on Aug. 12 and 13.
Garcia sees the trend. But more important, he says, it's about each artist finding his own voice. "Music has to be an honest extension of someone's story," Garcia says. "I found myself using my music heroes as my muses. When it came time to style my songs, they were part of my conscience."