The Hall of Famer
6 Weeks on Top Latin Albums
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.
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.
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: 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’ Soundtrack | Tove Lo, Kiesza, & Nick Jonas | Taylor Swift | Barbra Streisand | Weird Al Yankovic | Ed Sheeran & Charli XCX | Nicki Minaj | ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Soundtrack | Enrique Iglesias | Kacey Musgraves | Santana | Sam Smith | Iggy Azalea | Jason Derulo | Meghan Trainor, Nico & Vinz
This article first appeared in the Dec. 20 issue of Billboard.