Julio Iglesias has been part of the international consciousness since his 1969 hit album Yo Canto (I Sing) charmed Madrid and the world beyond. And he's been singing ever since, in almost ten languages.
Julio Iglesias stands for something greater than a mere sex symbol. He represents an era of glamour and jet-setting. There's a charming, devilish quality in his ever-present wide grin of immaculate pearlies. There's something carefree yet in control in the never-fading tan he sports. One can sense the wind racing to envelop him on a sunny beach in the South of France. An intriguing character with records in French, English, Spanish, Italian — the list goes on — he is almost the most interesting man in the world.
While Iglesias might evoke that sort of romance from prior generations, the crooner has managed to maintain a younger crew of admirers through the global success of his son Enrique. To us in South Florida, the son has been a stellar neighbor, residing mostly in Miami since his father's famous abduction by Basque separatists in 1981.
With that in mind, I recently had the chance to catch up with Iglesias. The experience bears some explaining. We were scheduled for a phone interview at 11 a.m., but the singer phoned about an hour earlier because, well, he could.
I'm normally a very cranky person on the phone, especially that early in the morning, but Iglesias' cheery voice put me at ease, and what followed can only be explained as a quick but sweet interview in which we basically shot the shit, laughed a lot, and talked about his kids and food. You know, like old friends.
We also chatted after the tape was turned off, and I got one lasting impression of the entertainer. He is a man still at the top of his game who manages to squeeze the important nits out of life, thus maintaining a healthy and positive outlook on things.
Oh, and he's one hell of an alarm clock.
New Times: Tell me about the latest Greatest Hits album.
Julio Iglesias: In reality, it is not a greatest hits. It's more of an album where I've rerecorded all those songs that I sang so poorly in the past, you know, 20 years. Because, you know, now I defend myself better, so I've rerecorded, and I'm happy with it, as it'll be more florid to Spanish speakers.
So how many more volumes will come out?
This will be in three volumes and with a DVD, in English and Spanish.
It's fairly evident that time and age have not slowed you down in any way, shape, or form...
Of course not, flaco, because my passion remains the same! I have a passion that is within my soul naturally, and everything that really matters in life when you have a little bit of art in you is the passion. Passion is life's motor.
I'm a 68-year-old man, and I sing and live like a 25-year-old, notwithstanding that onstage, I'm ageless. It's the only place on Earth where I have no age and I have no mirrors. I only have the marvelous audience in front of me, who has always been my life's greatest nutrient and that has always made me happy.
And you know, I'll be singing two concerts at the Hard Rock, which makes me very happy. Two big concerts, and I'll be able to sleep at home here in South Florida.
And after those two here at home, where will you be going?
Well, first to Colombia next month and then to Costa Rica before heading back to Europe and a couple of big concerts in Spain before Belgium, the Netherlands, and Serbia in the former Yugoslavia. Afterward, I'll be returning to South America and will do some nights there in big cities.
You keep a pretty full plate tourwise, but it also seems fairly open with plenty of downtime in between dates.
Yes, I like to put my schedule up for ticketing purposes in a broad manner, but I like to keep a handful of days between concerts as a way to maintain freshness for the stage and to have strength for the performance and to enjoy life. It's not that it's singing for money. I sing because it is my life.
Sure, it also helps that you're a family guy these days and that you like spending time with them. There's also a rumor about peculiar interests in international cuisine.
Yeah, I've certainly read that on the internet, but you know how the internet is a source of practical and highly impractical information... All I like about the kitchen is eating. Plain and simple.
A salad, that's about as good as it gets, if I'm preparing it.
So you can defend yourself in there, then.
Well, if there's nothing, I'm not that useless. I'll get something done.
Moving along, your children's success is a well-known and well-chronicled story; how has that made you feel first as a father and secondly as an entertainer?
As a father, I couldn't be prouder, seriously. And as an artist, you know, once you have a champion child, champion children at that, your eyes are always going to shine even brighter. All of my kids, nothing makes me prouder or happier than the fact that they've been successful. And in my eyes, they are all world champions at that.
Given everything you've managed personally and professionally throughout your career, what goals are left for you to achieve?
In reality, all I want is to continue impassioned with what life has given me and to learn. I have learned to learn, or at least I'm in the process of learning. It is the basic base for a human being. Learning is relatively easy. But to learn how to learn is more difficult, and it's part of my daily passion.