Photo: Warner Music Latina
Pablo Alborán Celebrates Joy & Freedom On 'La Cuarta Hoja': "I Didn't Have Any Shame In Daring To Do What I Wanted"
Spanish star Pablo Alborán released his most playful album yet with 'La Cuarta Hoja.' The singer/songwriter breaks down the genre-spanning collaborations on his LP, which resulted in the "most fun" he’s ever had in the studio.
Pablo Alborán is turning over a new leaf in his music career — or, rather, a clover. After a decade of releasing love songs, the Spanish singer/songwriter explores new sounds from regional Mexican music to Latin urban on his new album, La Cuarta Hoja. Translating loosely to "four-leaf clover," the title highlights the positivity, joy and newfound freedom behind Alborán's latest LP.
"This is an album that I had the most fun making," Alborán — a 24-time Latin GRAMMY nominee and three-time GRAMMY nominee — tells GRAMMY.com. "I feel like it won't only be the soundtrack for people's romantic moments, but their moments of celebration as well."
As he hints, Alborán turns up the tempo on La Cuarta Hoja — starting with the funky "Carretera y Manta," on which he blends dance beats with symphonic strings. He plays with several new genres across the 11 tracks, with half of those accompanied by his fellow Latin stars.
In the feel-good "Amigos," Alborán seamlessly blends a flamenco kick with the reggaeton flow of Argentine singer María Becerra; flamenco also collides with regional Mexican music in the kiss-off track "Viaje A Ningún Lado" featuring Carin León. Later, he embraces an alternative edge with Spanish artist Leo Rizzi in the rock-infused "4U."
But throughout his exploration, Alborán doesn't forget his roots. Since his debut in 2010 with the soulful "Solamente Tú," he has solidified his legacy in Latin music with his beloved love songs — and he continues that on La Cuarta Hoja, with heartfelt tracks like the cinematic "Castillos De Arena" and the empowering "Voraces."
Whether Alborán is trying something new or doing what he does best, La Cuarta Hoja makes it clear that he is happier than ever. His previous album, 2020's Vértigo, showed a more vulnerable side after the singer came out as gay, and now, he's simply having fun. "I didn't have any shame in daring to do what I wanted to do," he adds.
Before La Cuarta Hoja arrived, Alborán spoke with GRAMMY.com about the new direction of his latest album, his timeless love songs, and what to expect next.
What felt different about making La Cuarta Hoja than your last album, 2020's Vértigo?
My last album I made during the pandemic, working from a distance, far away from the producers. There was a strange feeling of making music when the world was in a bad moment. The difference is what's happening now at this moment. What's happening around you is very important when you're making an album.
[La Cuarta Hoja] is an album where I wanted to try new things. I didn't have a filter or obstacle in working with who I wanted to work with, in the collaborations I wanted to do. I had freedom with this album. I didn't have any shame in daring to do what I wanted to do.
La Cuarta Hoja feels lighter and more upbeat with songs like "Carretera y Manta" and "Voraces." How were you feeling when you were putting this album together?
It's an album that was written after the pandemic at the same time that I started touring again around the world. It was a theater tour where I was closer to my fans. That gave me the drive to write again. It motivated me. All the songs are from a happier place — from a more stable place, we'll say. It's an album that constantly celebrates love, friendship, life, to be alive, and to enjoy what we have.
You experimented with several new sounds and genres on this album, including regional Mexican music on "Viaje A Ningún Lado." How did you feel about trying out that genre, and what was it like working with Carin León?
It was a dream. For a long time, I wanted to work with Carin. I've been passionate about regional Mexican music for a long time. I always wanted to do something with the genre. When I wrote that song, I thought that style, rhythm, and instruments in regional Mexican fit perfectly with it.
I called Carin and asked him if he would like to produce the song with me. He was very generous and easy to work with. I admire Carin so much and I love Mexico. To be able to give this song to Mexico that was made with so much love is special to me.
You're also exploring the Latin urban genre for the first time with the song "Amigos," with Maria Becerra. How was your experience with her?
She's so much fun! It was marvelous. It was 15 hours of filming the music video and it was a very beautiful experience. We were in a historic barrio in Buenos Aires. We had a great time working together. It was very casual. I got to know Argentina and I took advantage of the fact that we were in Argentina filming the music video.
María was in Argentina as well, so it was like all the stars aligned. She's very hard-working. She's very spontaneous. I love how she sings and the way she moves.
Leo Rizzo was another collaborator on this album on "4U" — what was it like venturing into alternative?
It was a very great experience! I learned a lot. I learned a lot from the collaborations in general. Above all, I had a lot of fun. This is an album that I had the most fun making. I feel like it won't only be the soundtrack for people's romantic moments, but their moments of celebration as well.
"4U" is a song where we went to the studio together. We wrote music only to a beat and an acoustic guitar. When you go into a studio and the song surprises you, and the collaboration has spontaneous results that no one expected, and it comes out different than how you planned, I love that. It's a song that will have everyone dancing.
Where did the idea come from to create these interesting fusions on your album?
They came from me. I'm a little bit crazy. [Laughs] I like to try new things. I like to mix flamenco with Latin urban sounds. I like to mix ethnic music with flamenco and ethnic music with pop music. I like to feel what I'm doing and make sure it's something I can identify with. I want the music to be genuine.
The collaborations helped a lot with that, because you always find a bit of yourself in other artists no matter how different they are. When you find those collaborations that you're bringing together, you learn more about yourself and you have so much fun. Just having fun and learning something from the other artist is what every artist is looking for when they create collaborations.
You have written many love songs in your career, including "Castillos De Arena" on this album. Where does the inspiration come from when you're writing those songs?
They come from things that happened to me and people who are close to me, or from movies, or books. They're situations that happen every day. Everything that I write about is what any person can identify with and relate to. I write about things that really happen every day in life. It's not anything that can't be lived by another person.
How do you feel to have some of the most beloved love songs in Latin music?
I'm very thankful and happy. I'm very happy because it's beautiful. I performed in Los Angeles [recently], and to see that the people were singing the songs with me, to see people singing songs that are important to them as much as they are important to me, it's very beautiful.
It's very special that people have these songs as the soundtracks of their lives. It's amazing. It's something that I value so much and that I'm grateful for. It's a dream.
It's been two years since you came out as gay. How do you feel to have inspired your fans in the LGBTQIA+ community to embrace who they are?
I feel very good and I'm very happy — with the hope that the world can continue to become a better place for everyone. Long live love in all its forms.
It's been 12 years since you released your debut single "Solamente Tú." What have you learned about yourself in those 12 years?
I've learned to be more patient. To try to enjoy everything because time goes by so fast. I'm trying to enjoy every moment. To enjoy the present.
I also want to value all the effort that my team and I have put into this, and to enjoy things as they happen. Sometimes you can be constantly thinking about the future — the next song, the next goal — and you don't get to enjoy what you have achieved. Life goes by fast. That's what I'm still trying to learn. Every day it's an exercise for me.
What do you want to accomplish next in your career?
I would like to keep working. To keep making music with the rest of the world. I would love to do something in English. I would love to do something in French. I would love to keep making collaborations that inspire me. I would love to act in movies. I would love to make music for the movies. I would love to keep having concerts in places that I've never been to before.
One of my dreams is to be able to win a GRAMMY. I have never won. To be nominated each time, I'm always grateful to the Recording Academy. I always have love for both the Recording Academy and the Latin Recording Academy. To see that they always have my music in consideration after 12 years is beautiful.
There's still so much I want to do. Above all, I don't want to stop enjoying what I'm doing.
What can we expect from you next?
In the coming year, I'm going to tour again in Spain, Latin America, and the U.S. We're preparing for that tour. We're not going to stop. The idea is not to stop — and take this album to every corner of the world.
Listen: All Of The Latin Music 2023 GRAMMY Nominees In One Playlist
Photo: David Becker/Getty Images for The Latin Recording Academy
2022 Latin GRAMMYs: Jorge Drexler & C. Tangana Collect The Latin GRAMMY For Record Of The Year For "Tocarte"
At the 2022 Latin GRAMMYs, Jorge Drexler & C. Tangana have won the Latin GRAMMY for Record Of The Year For "Tocarte."
Jorge Drexler & C. Tangana won the Latin GRAMMY for Record Of The Year for "Tocarte” at the 2022 Latin GRAMMYs.
Christina Aguilera, Becky G, Nicki Nicole featuring Nathy Peluso; Pablo Alborán; Anitta; Marc Anthony; Bad Bunny & Bomba Estereo; Camilo; Karol G; Juan Luis Guerra; Rosalía featuring The Weeknd; Shakira & Rauw Alejandro; and Carlos Vives & Camilo were the other nominees in the prestigious category.
Drexler and Tangana’s “Tocarte” also took home the Latin GRAMMY for Song Of The Year.
Drexler was one of the most nominated artists of the night, alongside Rosalía and Rauw Alejandro, with a total of eight nominations. He was nominated in three of the Big Four categories: Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year, and Record Of The Year.
Check out the complete list of winners and nominees at the 2022 Latin GRAMMYs.
Poll: Who Do You Think Voters Will Choose For Best Latin Pop Album?
With Pablo Alboran, Claudia Brant, Natalia Lafourcade, Raquel Sofia, and Carlos Vives nominated in this category, there is no doubt this will be a tough choice for voters
The 61st GRAMMY Awards' Best Latin Pop Album category reflects not only a diversity of artists from all over Latin America and from Spain, but also a range of experiences, backgrounds and voices that make up the Latin pop genre today.
From Spain's Pablo Alboran incorporating Latin urban rhythms in songs about love on his album Prometo to first-time nominee Argentine singer/songwriter Claudia Brant's passionate, personally fulfilling Sincera, there’s no doubt this will be a tough choice for voters.
Mexican singer/songwriter Natalia Lafourcade is also in the running. Lafourcade pays homage to popular Latin American music composers by giving well-known and cherished classics her own touch in Musas (Un Homenaje Al Folclore Latinoamericano En Manos De Los Macorinos), Vol. 2.
Or it could go to Puerto Rico's Raquel Sofia, who dived deep into personal themes, including heartbreak, bringing together soul, jazz, pop and more.
And we can’t forget Colombian singer/songwriter Carlos Vives, who on Vives gave us his lively, upbeat sounds, but also brought light to social issues in countries like Mexico.
While you'll have to tune in to the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards on Feb.10 to find out who voters chose, you can make your voice heard by voting above. So, which Latin Pop Album would you vote for?
Urban Latin Music Dominated 2018, According To Streaming Services
Photo: John Parra/Getty Images for LARAS
Maná Honored By An Array Of Latin American Talent At Latin GRAMMY Person Of The Year Celebration
Mexico's GRAMMY-winning band was honored with performances from Gilberto Santa Rosa, Pepe Aguilar, La Marisoul and more
Musical stars from all over Latin America came together on the night before the 19th Latin GRAMMY Awards to honor superstar Mexican pop/rock group Maná, as this year's Latin GRAMMY Person Of The Year.
Lights resembling the night sky lit up around an image of Fher Olvera, Alex González, Sergio Vallín and Juan Calleros—the members of Maná—on stage as actor Jaime Camil and Argentine singer Soledad Pastorutti hosted the spectacular night filled with talent that included tributes of the group's biggest hits and most touching songs by some of Latin music' biggest rising and established stars. The celebration began with an interpretation of "Adicto A Tu Amor," one of the group's most seductive songs, by Draco Rosa and violinist Ara Malikian.
The night continued as Colombia's Sebastian Yatra took the stage to honor the group with his version of "No Ha Parado De Llover," a sad song about losing a lover without knowing why. Group Monsieur Periné—also from Colombia—lightened the mood with their take of the upbeat, energetic rock tune "Oye Mi Amor," one of the band's most iconic songs from earlier in their career, from 1992's ¿Dónde Jugarán los Niños?
.@gilbertoSR y @arthurhanlon cantan Bendita Tu Luz Persona del Año 2018 en honor a @manaoficial #LatinGRAMMY pic.twitter.com/C7Np7BZNXt— Latin GRAMMYs (@LatinGRAMMYs) November 15, 2018
Puerto Rican salsa singer Gilberto Santa Rosa, alongside pianist Arthur Hanlon, performed a salsa version of Manás hit, "Bendita Tu Luz." Mariachi music superstar Pepe Aguilar performed a special rendition of "Mariposa Traicionera" with renowned group Mariachi Sol de México de José Hernández. Spanish rock star Enrique Bunbury covered "Vivir Sin Aire."
Other performances included José María Cano and Dani Cano, Iza Real and Piso 21, Vetusta Morla, Beatriz Luengo, Beatriz Luengo, La Marisoul and Orianthi, and Pablo Alborán.
.@manaoficial emociona al público cantando Labios Compartidos y Clavado en un Bar Persona del Año 2018 #LatinGRAMMY pic.twitter.com/2ouNRGXuXH— Latin GRAMMYs (@LatinGRAMMYs) November 15, 2018
Maná have become some of Latin America's greatest songwriters and musicians with a musical career that began in the 1980s. Inspired by rock groups of the U.S. and Europe, the band was among a group of Mexican musicians to begin writing the history that is now known as Mexico's rock scene. Since then, the band has created music that fuses rock, pop and Latin rhythms, transcending Mexico and into the world.
"We are very happy to see so many people here and to hear these super amazing covers that we weren't expecting, at times we didn't know what song was going to be performed and where it would end," lead singer Olvera said at the celebration.
The GRAMMY-winning band closed off the night with a performance of two of their well-known songs "Labios Compartidos" and "Clavado En Un Bar." Tune in to the 19th Latin GRAMMY Awards to catch another performance of the legendary band.
The Complete Latin GRAMMY Awards Viewer's Guide
Fonseca celebrating his Latin GRAMMY wins
Photo: TOMMASO BODDI/AFP/Getty Images
The Complete Latin GRAMMY Awards Viewer's Guide
Take a look at the many ways to celebrate Latin music throughout this week leading up to the main event, Thursday's Latin GRAMMY Awards
Get ready! The Biggest Night In Latin Music is coming on Nov. 15, but there are so many ways to enjoy the festivities in Las Vegas including and leading up to the 19th Latin GRAMMY Awards from virtually anywhere in the world. Here's how!
The fun-filled day of the main event begins at 1:00 p.m. PT / 4:00 p.m. ET with exclusive behind-the-scenes coverage of the red carpet and the Latin GRAMMY Premiere ceremony via Facebook Live, where the first Latin GRAMMY Awards of the night will be presented before the broadcast. Additional coverage in Spanish will also be available at Univision.com. The 19th Latin GRAMMY Awards show will follow, airing on Univision at 8:00 p.m. PT / 8:00 p.m. ET
But even earlier this week, this year's Special Awards presentation ceremony will be streamed on Tuesday, Nov. 13 via Facebook Live at 5:00 pm. PT / 8:00 p.m. ET. The program will honor Erasmo Carlos, Dyango, Andy Montañez, José María Napoleón, Chucho Valdés, Wilfrido Vargas and Yuri with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Horacio Malvicino and Tomás Muñoz will receive the Latin Academy's Trustees Award.
Performers on the broadcast include Marc Anthony, Will Smith and Bad Bunny performing their collaboration, "Está Rico," for the first time in public, as well as Ángela Aguilar, El David Aguilar, Pepe Aguilar, Pablo Alborán, Anitta, Steve Aoki, J Balvin, Calibre 50, Jorge Drexler, Karol G, Kany García, Halsey, Nicky Jam, Mon Laferte, Natalia Lafourcade, Victor Manuelle, Carla Morrison, Christian Nodal, Jenna Ortega, Ozuna, Laura Pausini, Monsieur Periné, Banda Los Recoditos, Rosalía, Miguel Ángel Silvestre, Carlos Vives and Sebastián Yatra. The 2018 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year Maná will perform as well.
Performers at the Premiere ceremony include Santiago Barrionuevo, Yamandu Costa, Jerry Demara, Rozalén, and José Alberto El Canario with El Septeto Santiaguero.
This week of celebration will honor artists across a wide array of Latin cultures, styles, genres, and countries. Awards will span many fields, including General, Pop, Urban, Rock, Alternative, Tropical, Singer-Songwriter, Regional-Mexican, Instrumental, Traditional, Jazz, Christian, Portuguese Language, Children's, Classical, Arranging, Recording Package, Production, and Music Video. While some of these have categories that bring works from different traditions together, others allow a more narrow focus within traditions, making for a rich, unique sampling of the power of Latin music.
No matter your language or musical background, this multi-screen experience will be filled with excitement. New discoveries await television and online viewers prepared to be enriched by the biggest night in Latin music.