While fans are enjoying her hits via the touring company of the hit stage musical On Your Feet!, Gloria Estefan has been busy doing the conga with some new material — and new versions of those old favorites.
Estefan has been going back and forth to Brazil, working in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paolo and other cities on reimagined versions of the hits — plus four new songs.
“I am so excited about this project,” Estefan tells Billboard. “We’ve taken our top hits and gone to Brazil and re-recorded them in completely Brazilian rhythms — some well-known, some not well-known. It is just a blast for me to be in that studio, re-singing all the songs so differently. ‘Conga’ is now a samba, and it is burnin’. ‘Here We Are’ is a sexier song now, with a Brazilian rhythm. We’ve been really meticulous in making sure we celebrate the music of Brazil in the right way.”
Not everything worked, she adds. “We tried to do ‘Coming Out Of The Dark’ and found it really didn’t work,” Estefan says. “It’s gospel, and we really didn’t find something that would take that song to another level, which is OK. We didn’t want to reimagine anything just for the sake of doing that.”
Estefan says the new songs, as well as the album, have yet to be titled, and it probably won’t be released until some time in 2019. “I think it’s more of a summer record, so I imagine we’ll probably release it early next year rather than the end of this year.” It will be Estefan’s first album since The Standards in 2013 and the first to feature some original material since Miss Little Havana in 2011. But don’t expect to see Estefan, who last toured during 2004, hitting the road to support it.
“I don’t think so,” she says of the possibility of touring. “I might do one-offs. I’d love to go to Brazil and do a big concert there with some amazing Brazilian musicians and tape it. But the road is a tough place. Most of my fans would love me on the stage, no matter what. But a big world tour is really tough — not that I can’t do it, because I can. I still have the energy level. But everything has it’s time and place, and (husband) Emilio and I have a lot of things we’re doing here in Miami, business and things like that.”
Among those, Estefan says, is a new multi-platform project she plans to announce soon that will encompass music, movies and television “all tied together with a very unique view and idea.”
Meanwhile, the Tony Award-nominated On Your Feet!, which tells Estefan’s story through 1991, continues to travel through the U.S., with international productions also in the works.
“Watching those audiences for me has really bolstered my thankfulness and love and support my fans have given me and continued to give me through the decades, and how connected we all are,” Estefan notes. “When you see your life up there on the stage, we just feel very thankful we’ve been in any way able to inspire people in different ways, and have them inspire us in return. It’s been a real joy, and a gift.”