It’s not every day that an artist gets to record at the iconic Abbey Road in London, which is why for Carlos Rivera it wasn’t enough to just include the 10 songs in his 2018 Guerra album. The Mexican singer-songwriter has now re-released the tracks and this time on his first-ever vinyl.
“We had been wanting to do something special with these songs since recording at Abbey Road was a dream come true for me,” Rivera tells Billboard. “It’s not like any other studio where you can pay to record. To get there, I had to tell them my personal story. I told them I was a from the smallest state in Mexico, Tlaxcala, and that I always dreamed of becoming a singer and record at Abbey Road. I think they were touched by my story.”
The vinyl includes the 10 songs he recorded back in March 2018 featuring collaborations with artists like Tommy Torres (“Me Muero) and Vanessa Martín (“Te Amo Hoy”) , and the London Symphony Orchestra.
“I wanted to go back to the origins of music so that when you listen to each song, you know exactly what instrument is being played. It’s music that is tangible,” Rivera says. “I feel like music has lost its value and I went to Abbey Road just like people who lose faith go to a church to reconnect. Abbey Road was my temple.”
Now, his home has become a temple where he’s been recording new music while hunkered down in Mexico City. Staying true to Rivera’s balladeer roots, the singer released his version of Rozalén’s “Vuelves (Si Fuera Mía)” and plans to release six more covers of songs that bring him peace.
“Many people have been reading or watching series, but I’ve spent my time listening to music I have in a playlist and I always find myself singing along. I said, ‘why don’t I just record my own versions and share them with my fans.’ These are songs I typically sing when I have a get together with friends or sing during karaoke.” His next single is Alacranes Musical’s “Por Tu Amor.”
Rivera’s Sessions Recorded at Abbey Road vinyl is out now and you can listen to “Vuelves” here.
Below, check out 20 questions with Carlos Rivera:
Where are you in the world right now, and what’s the setting like?
I’m in Mexico City where I live in a very tall building. From my window, I can see many trees and mountains. I have a beautiful view of the city.
What was it like to sing “La Luna Del Cielo,” dedicated to your grandma at Abbey Road?
I got very emotional and started crying but because it was the last song I was singing with the orchestra and they had to leave right after, I couldn’t stop and start all over. I just kept going with tears in my eyes. That song reminds me so much of grandma and she means so much to me.
What was Rozalén’s reaction like when she heard your version of “Vuelves”?
She sent me a message with crying emojis. She said it was beautiful and that it was a gift for her. We are very good friends and I recorded it with a lot of respect and admiration.
What’s the first piece of music that you bought for yourself?
It was a karaoke CD of The Lion King‘s soundtrack.
What was the first concert you saw?
It was probably I went to with my grandma to see Antonio Aguilar. I was like five years old.
Who made you realize you could be an artist full-time?
Ever since I was little, I knew I wanted to be a singer. I’d tell my family and they were surprised because no on else in the family sang. They’d tell me that I’d have to study something else but it was me who believed I could be an artist.
If you could see any artist in concert, dead or alive, who would it be?
What movie, or song, always makes you cry?
Coco, it gets me every time. I can watch it every day and it still makes me emotional.
If you were not a musician, what would you be?
There is no other option. I’ve always wanted to sing so even if I wasn’t famous, I’d be okay with singing at restaurants.
How did your hometown/city shape who you are?
I was born in what they call pueblo mágico (magical city). They are little towns that have a lot of culture and a particular architecture. I grew up with many traditions so when I started making music, I made sure to incorporate in my music videos the cultural side of where I come from. Even if it’s inviting a local artist to create art or mats to display, which is what I did for the video “Recuérdame.”
Favorite Karaoke song?
Mariachi song “Luz de Luna.”
What TV series have you watched all the way through multiple times?
I love House of Cards but I don’t repeat any series. If I see something, I saw it and that’s it.
What are you afraid of?
Heights. But my plan is to one day go sky diving to overcome that fear.
Who’s still on your bucket list to collaborate with?
My dream is to collaborate with Shakira. I’m a big fan. Oh and Jennifer Lopez, too.
What’s one song you wish you had sung?
Coco‘s “Recuérdame,” is such a special song … and I would’ve won an Oscar for it. (Song was written by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez.)
What’s the last song you listened to?
I was listening to Cuban music last night and the song was “Chan Chan” by Buena Vista Social Club.
What is one new thing you each learned during the pandemic?
To play the guitar. I don’t know how to play so I’ve been taking lessons.
What did you learn about yourself during the pandemic that you didn’t know before?
That necessity of being with my family. There’s nothing like waking up to your mom’s breakfast. Watch series with my siblings or visit my dad and play with my dogs. I hadn’t been able to spend time with them until now because I’m always so busy.
What do you miss most about being on stage?
The excitement and adrenaline you get just as you’re about to go out and sing in front of thousands of people. And that connection that there is between your fans and your music.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to your younger self?
To be patient and be prepared because sooner or later, many beautiful opportunities will come his way.