“I come from rap and have always liked avant-garde music mixed with street music, people who complicate their lives a bit doing urban music,” C. Tangana tells Billboard. “I had a feeling that what I was doing was not enough. I always have a feeling that when things go well I’m not pushing my artistic side enough.”
El Madrileño starts with 1,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending March 4, according to MRC Data. The bulk of the set’s opening sum derives from streaming activity: 1.6 million on-demand streams generated by the songs on the album.
“I composed ‘Un Veneno’ with Niño de Elche, and from there began a quest to claim my most artistic side,” Tangana, who goes by the nickname “Pucho,” adds. “I didn’t really know when I was going to release this album at first. I thought it was going to take around two more years.”
El Madrileño was released Feb. 26 via Sony Music Latin. Tangana’s third studio album was written by him and co-produced with Alizzz. “I wanted to represent my artistry, a unique perspective that I could offer, so I dived into Spanish music,” Tangana continues. “I allowed my childhood influences to enter the studio. That, mixed with my trips throughout Latin America, is how I came across the songs for El Madrileño.”
The 14-track set journeys across different genres and includes collaborations with Latin titans Eliades Ochoa, Jose Feliciano, Andres Calamaro, Gipsy Kings, Jorge Drexler and Brazilian Toquinho. It also includes the flamenco coloring of the late Pepe Blanco, Niño de Elche, La Húngara, Kiko Veneno, up-and-coming artists Ed Maverick and Omar Apollo and the regional Mexican flavors of Carin León and Adriel Favela.
“There was a very special moment in Cuba when we met Eliades Ochoa; we played and composed with him,” Tangana remembers. “That space became a turning point in which I thought that perhaps everything I was exploring, more rooted music, could include these types of artists in an album that vindicates popular music to become a more collaborative effort.”
Tangana scored his first entry on a Billboard Latin chart a year ago as “Nada,” with Tainy and Lauren Jauregui, bowed at No. 23 on the Latin Digital Song Sales tally (dated March 7, 2020). His first entry on an albums chart arrives with El Madrileño, which yielded one entry on the Global 200 chart and on the Global Excl. U.S. chart: “Tú Me Dejaste De Querer,” the album’s second single featuring Niño de Elche and La Húngara, debuted and peaked at No. 83 on the former and at No. 38 on the latter.
“The biggest challenge was the general vision, the final track list, because there are many collaborations that remained halfway done, many demos left,” Tangana continues. “What I really wanted to represent with El Madrileño was a kind of cover letter. It’s not that I’m a new artist, but it could practically be called that with what the rest of my repertoire looks like.”
About El Madrileño’s recording process, Tangana adds: “It’s been interesting because it was a different experience with each artist. With Jorge, for example, we got together to write. With Eliades, we got together to compose everything from scratch. I provided things from Spain, but he wanted to play with his people and the musicians from Buena Vista Social Club. We sent Toquinho bare vocals and asked him also to collaborate on guitar. There is also a kind of cover that is the remix version of ‘Un Veneno,’ with Feliciano.”
As El Madrileño launches at No. 8 on Latin Pop Albums, Tangana becomes the first Spaniard to debut in the list’s top 10 with an original album since Rosalía’s El Mal Querer (No. 1, November 2018). “I come from rapping, no more,” Tangana adds. “It’s a compliment and a recognition to reach that point in one’s career. I’m crazy happy, really. I am going to celebrate by opening a bottle of wine, baking fish and toasting to this entry.”