It’s day who knows what in quarantine for Ricky Martin, but today (May 28) takes on a different meaning for the Puerto Rican singer-songwriter.
Surprising his fans with a new EP titled Pausa, the first collective set since his 2015 A Quien Quiera Escuchar, features collaborations with Sting, Carla Morrison, Pedro Capó, Diego El Cigala, among others.
Packed with introspective, poignant and melancholic lyrics, the six-track set is born from a state of vulnerability and the need to heal through music. “[Through this music] I share my fears, my insecurities, my moments of panic that I’ve felt throughout this quarantine,” the chart-topping artist tells Billboard.
In times of turmoil, Martin offers Pausa (Pause) in lieu of a different album slated to be released called Movimiento (Movement). “I like to party but it’s not the moment for that. We had to change the concept and I’ve created two separate albums. Pausa is more chill and relaxed and hopefully in September we can release the second one called Play with more upbeat music,” he says.
All songs on the EP, except for previously released “Tiburones,” are collaborations with artists Martin had never collaborated with before including Mexican singer-songwriter Morrison. “I’m obsessed with Carlita’s voice and I’m obsessed with the way she tells a story. So, I called her. Initially, she thought I was asking her to write a song for my album and I said, ‘No, I want to sing with you,'” Martin recalls.
From Martin and Morrison’s “Recuerdo” to the Sting-assisted “Simple,” Billboard breaks down all the collaborations featured on Pausa below.
“Simple” with Sting
Opening the EP with this stunning collaboration with Sting, who sings in Spanish, Martin sets the tone for the rest of the album: simple yet forceful and grand. “The big things are always simple, like the love there is in a sigh and reminds me why I’m alive,” Martin sings. About how the song and the melody were created, Martin says. “I called Sting and told him, ‘Something beautiful has to come out of this moment and that has to be music.’ I called him stepping out of my comfort zone because I don’t really like asking people and he said yes, to send him whatever I had and he liked what I sent him. And, he didn’t mind singing in Spanish. It’s a dream come true.”
“Recuerdo” with Carla Morrison
Perhaps one of the most beautiful ballads released this year (so far), the heart-wrenching lyrics in this emotional track call for an introspection of the mind and soul. “This is a special song and it’s born out of the sadness I was feeling. Carla was also going through a rough moment and we had this urge to write again. We wanted to make sure that we each didn’t lose our essence when creating this fusion and it was born very organically.”
“Cae de Una” with Pedro Capó
As a true testament to Martin and Capó’s ability to turn heartbreak song into a bright melodic tune, “Cae de Una” becomes an instant hit with its infectious beat and the two Puerto Rican powerhouses trading cheeky verses. “You’re probably in a bar dancing without me. Don’t know whose skin you’re touching to forget the love you have for me,” they sing.
“Quiéreme” with Diego El Cigala
Martin and Spanish singer Diego El Cigala join forces for this flamenco-tinged pop song that is a standout duet in the EP. “We sent this song to producer Raul Refree in Barcelona because I wanted to see what he could do with this song. I didn’t say anything to him because I didn’t want to have any sort of influence on him and I’m now presenting you the end result,” Martin says. The result is an explosion of sounds and an exchange of dramatic and powerful vocals.
The previously released “Cántalo,” featuring fellow Puerto Rican hitmakers Residente and Bad Bunny, is a hybrid of sounds and genres including tambora, trumpet, salsa and trap. The thought-provoking track born post the #RickyRenuncia movement, calling for the removal of the now former Puerto Rican governor Ricardo Rosselló, some of the lyrics include: “Hoy no nos paran ni con tranquilizante de elefante/ El dinero, aunque sea abundante, no vale” (Nobody stops us today/ Not even with elephant soothing/ Money, although abundant, it is not worth).
Stream Martin’s Pausa below: