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.
Photo: Courtesy of The Latin Recording Academy/Kevin Winter, Getty Images © 2023
Watch: Pablo Alborán And Maria Becerra Honor "Amigos" With An Astonishing Performance At The 2023 Latin GRAMMYs
The Spanish and Argentine stars brought their Song Of The Year-nominated hit to life with a roaring collaboration on the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs stage.
Pablo Alborán and Maria Becerra served up a big moment for LGBTQIA+ representation at the 2023 Latin GRAMMY Awards. The pair — who are openly gay and bisexual, respectively — came together for a vital performance of their hit "Amigos."
Alborán opened the performance of “Amigos” on an acoustic note by himself. His voice soared as he sang the opening lines of the feel-good song. Then Becerra joined him shortly after and the music kicked in. The duo put on a captivating performance of their collaboration. Becerra also got a chance to shine solo when she performed her song “Ojala.” She stripped away the reggaeton beats and added an orchestral arrangement. Becerra belted her heart out while singing the love song. Alborán and Becerra’s joint performance was a dreamy highlight of the night.
The sultry song earned the Spanish and Argentine stars a 2023 Latin GRAMMYs nomination for Song Of The Year, one of Alborán's five nominations and Becerra's four. Alborán also received nods for Album Of The Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for La Cuarta Hoja, Record Of The Year for "Carretera y Manta," and Best Pop Song for "Contigo." Becerra earned nominations for Best Reggaeton Performance and Best Urban Song for "Automático," as well as Best Urban Fusion/Performance for "Ojalá."
"She's so much fun!" Alborán told GRAMMY.com in December 2022 about working with Becerra. "She's very hard-working. She's very spontaneous. I love how she sings and the way she moves."
Judging by the vibrant energy in their performance of "Amigos," it's no doubt those feelings are mutual.
Photos Courtesy of Artists
2023 Latin GRAMMYs Performers: Peso Pluma and Eslabón Armado, Juanes, Ozuna, Camilo, Iza And More Artists Added
Additional newly announced performers for the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs include Pablo Alborán, Edgar Barrera, Manuel Carrasco, BORJA, Natascha Falcão, GALE, Paola Guanche, Joaquina, and León Leiden.
The Latin Recording Academy has announced additional performers for the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs. Current nominees Pablo Alborán, Edgar Barrera, Camilo, Manuel Carrasco, Iza, Juanes, and Ozuna along with Best New Artist nominees BORJA, Natascha Falcão, GALE, Paola Guanche, Joaquina, and León Leiden are confirmed to take the Latin GRAMMY stage. Additionally, Eslabón Armado and Peso Pluma will join forces to perform "Ella Baila Sola" for the first time together on television.
These artists join previously announced 2023 Latin GRAMMYs performers Maria Becerra, Bizarrap, Feid, Kany García, Carin León, Christian Nodal, Rauw Alejandro, and Alejandro Sanz, who are all current nominees, as well as the 2023 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year, Laura Pausini
Latin GRAMMY winner and GRAMMY nominee Sebastián Yatra; Latin GRAMMY nominees and actresses Roselyn Sánchez and Danna Paola; and internationally acclaimed actress Paz Vega will host the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs, officially known as the 24th Latin GRAMMY Awards.
Pablo Alborán has five nominations including Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album. Edgar Barrera is nominated in 13 categories including Producer of the Year and Songwriter of the Year. Camilo is nominated in seven categories this year, including Album of the Year and Song of the Year. Manuel Carrasco is nominated for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album, while Iza is nominated for Best Portuguese Language Urban Performance. Juanes is nominated in four categories including Album of the Year and Best Rock Song.
Taking place internationally for the first time ever, the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs will be broadcast from the Conference and Exhibition Centre (FIBES) in Sevilla (Seville) in Andalucía (Andalusia), Spain, on Thursday, Nov. 16. The show will air at 8 p.m. ET (7 p.m. CT) on Univision, UniMás and Galavisión in the U.S., and at 10:30 p.m. CET on Radiotelevisión Española (RTVE) in Spain. Additional international broadcasting partners and local airings will be available soon.
The 2023 Latin GRAMMYs will see the debut of several new Latin GRAMMY categories and a new Field, including Best Songwriter Of The Year, as part of the newly created Songwriting Field, Best Singer-Songwriter Song and Best Portuguese-Language Urban Performance. These new additions and amendments will make the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs an exciting, history-making night in Latin music.
More details about the Latin GRAMMY Premiere, where the majority of the Latin GRAMMY categories will be awarded, will be announced soon.
Graphic Courtesy of the Latin Recording Academy
Latin GRAMMYs 2023: Hear The Album Of The Year Nominees
Here are the nominees for Album Of The Year at the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs, which will air Thursday, Nov. 16 from Sevilla, Spain.
The Latin GRAMMYs Album Of The Year category honors the work of both the established leaders and hottest rising stars in Latin music. The 2023 Latin GRAMMYs nominees for Album Of The Year include recordings by reggaeton and pop artists who are breaking down barriers in the music industry, alongside some of the most well-known and beloved singer/songwriters in Spanish.
These 10 albums were chosen to represent the most significant voices in Latin music for 2023: La Cu4rta Hoja (Pablo Alborán), A Ciegas (Paula Arenas), De Adentro Pa Afuera (Camilo), Décimo Cuarto (Andrés Cepeda), Vida Cotidiana (Juanes), Mañana Será Bonito (Karol G), De Todas Las Flores (Natalia Lafourcade), Play (Ricky Martín), Eadda9223 (Fito Páez), and Escalona Nunca Se Había Grabado Así (Carlos Vives).
Ahead of the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs, officially known as the 24th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards — which will be held on Thursday, Nov. 16, in Sevilla, Spain — learn about the nominees for this prestigious category. Don’t miss the broadcast on Univision at 8 p.m. ET/PT (7 p.m. CT).
La Cu4rta Hoja – Pablo Alborán
Pop singer/songwriter Pablo Alborán closed out 2022 with an explosion of optimism and carefree experimentation titled La Cu4rta Hoja.
Throwing off the isolation of the pandemic, the Spanish chart-topper found himself ready to collaborate. The album features bold duets with música Mexicana star Carín León and Argentinian singer María Becerra, providing Alborán with the opportunity to branch out into genres, such as flamenco, that he’d never flirted with before.
Evidently, he also felt like dancing as the normally ballad oriented artist stacked his album with breezy, playa-ready dance beats. Alborán has already been nominated for 24 Latin GRAMMYs, including a nomination for Best New Artist. He was nominated for Album Of The Year in 2013 for his sophomore album Tanto, making this his second Album Of The Year nomination.
A Ciegas – Paula Arenas
Colombian singer/songwriter Paula Arenas’ career has been defined by an independent spirit since its beginning. The unconventional pop artist sang covers in nightclubs until she scored a hit single with "Lo Que El Tiempo Dejó" (featuring alt-pop legend Esteman) from her self-released debut EP, and except for a brief period with Sony Music Colombia, when she released her debut album Visceral, all her other releases have been with smaller labels.
The indie darling’s roots are still showing on the clever, intimate A Ciegas, which finds her exploring a more stripped down version of her piano driven sound. Lead single "Puro Sentimiento," featuring fellow Colombian Manuel Medrano, shines with quirky-cool, ’80s inspired glamor. Being just a little different doesn’t seem to be holding her back: The video for "Puro Sentimiento" has more than 1 million streams on YouTube and counting.
De Adentro Pa Afuera – Camilo
Iconic, stylish, unforgettable — and we’re not just talking about Camilo's mustache. The mononymous pop singer with the disarming soprano already has a few Latin GRAMMYs to his name, notably album of the year for 2021’s Mis Manos. He’s written hits for Becky G and Bad Bunny, but solo work is where Camilo really lets his creativity off the leash.
The songs on his third studio album, De Adentro Pa Afuera, range from scruffy, loosely slung takes on reggaeton to bouncy folk pop jams that showcase his romantic side. It also hosts such diverse musical guests as Camila Cabello, Myke Towers and Grupo Firme. In the hands of a lesser artist it might be disjointed, but with Camilo at the controls it’s a masterclass in joyful chaos.
Décimo Cuarto – Andrés Cepeda
A master of the devastating love song made an exuberant return this year with help from a few equally formidable friends. Colombia’s Andrés Cepeda corralled the talents of such artists as Ximena Sariñana and Gusi for a delicately tropical, massively emotional album titled simply Décimo Cuarto.
Gentle danzón and milonga rhythms ("Le Viene Bien") and lyrics about love that defies time, space and reality ("En Otra Vida") are just a couple of the elements that make up the album's restrained, yet robust mix. Décimo Cuarto also includes sweeping power ballads with Reik and Joss Favela ("Tu Despertador" and "Si Todo Se Acaba," respectively). Cepeda previously won a Latin GRAMMY in 2013 for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for Lo Mejor Que Hay En Mi Vida.
Vida Cotidiana – Juanes
Loyal fans of Juanes’ rock side were rewarded for their patience when the Colombian superstar released Vida Cotidiana, an epic return to form complete with psychedelic flourishes and a healthy dose of funk and varied Caribbean influences.
Early pandemic quarantine found the artist with a lot of time at home with his family, which provided some of the inspiration for the album. He used the unanticipated pause to study poetry, take voice and guitar lessons, and record the numerous demos that would, in time, become Vida Cotidiana. Juanes said he considers it his best album, and the time and passion he put into it is obvious.
The legendary singer and songwriter has brought home 26 Latin GRAMMYs over the years and, with his 10th solo album he’s made a strong case for a 27th.
Mañana Será Bonito – Karol G
Musical powerhouse, reggaetonera and general bichota, Karol G is one major reason why all eyes are on Colombia. After establishing herself as a hit-making star in the adjoining worlds of reggaeton and Latin trap, she is clearly enjoying her success and savoring the moment.
As you might be able to guess from the sunshine and rainbows doodled on the album cover, Mañana Será Bonito was one of 2023' most fun albums, bubbling over with sass and unapologetic sexuality. Everyone is invited to the party: Mañana Será Bonito has features with Romeo Santos, Shakira, Carla Morrison and Sean Paul. It debuted at the top of the Billboard Hot 200 making it the first all-Spanish language album by a female artist with that distinction.
De Todas Las Flores – Natalia Lafourcade
De Todas Las Flores is the first collection of completely original material from Mexican singer/songwriter Natalia Lafourcade since 2015’s critically acclaimed Hasta La Raiz (for which she received two Latin GRAMMYs).
Both Lafourcade and producer Adán Jodorowsky took a less-is-more approach on this new offering, which allowed for a subtle play of emotion on songs such as the aching title track. Famously a fan of Mexico’s rich musical heritage, De Todas Las Flores finds Lafourcade experimenting with stripped down cumbia and son, while also branching out into other regions of Latin America with bossa nova, samba and bolero. The understated arrangements perfectly complement the profound and profoundly personal tracks, which Lafourcade has described as "a musical diary."
Play – Ricky Martín
After winning a Latin GRAMMY for his 2020 EP Pausa, Ricky Martín returned in 2022 with the logical bookend: a second EP titled Play. The Puerto Rican icon made the first recording in response to the cumulative challenges in his home island, ranging from Hurricane Maria to the pandemic. It also tackled heavy issues and served as a kind of therapy for Martín, who had started suffering from panic attacks.
If Pausa was a held breath, Play is the satisfying exhale. More upbeat and even decidedly danceable in the case of the songs "Ácido Sabor" and "Paris in Love," it represents a return to life, if not a return to normal, and a focus on the romance and sensuality for which Martín has long been world famous.
Eadda9223 – Fito Páez
The Argentinian rocker’s latest full-length is a revisiting of his epochal El Amor Después del Amor, this time letting a few more folks in on the caper. Besides the aforementioned co-conspirators, Páez is joined by Ca7riel and many other Argentinian iconoclasts who no doubt owe something to the trailblazing rock en español singer/songwriter. Each track on Eadda9223 is reimagined: The new version of "Sasha, Sissí Y El Círculo De Baba" with Mon Laferte crackles with Tex-Mex electricity that bears no connection to the original, but is a perfect vehicle for Laferte’s vocal range and flair for drama.
Escalona Nunca Se Había Grabado Así – Carlos Vives
What happens when a legend offers a tribute to a legend? Escalona Nunca Se Había Grabado Así, the Carlos Vives album celebrating the music of vallenato composer Rafael Escalona answers that question with moving clarity.
Vives has brought the tropical sounds of Colombian vallenato to the world mixing them with pop and rock music, becoming a major star in the process. His deepest debt is to Escalona, who is remembered in Colombia as a storyteller and legendary personality.
Escalona Nunca Se Había Grabado Así updates the Escalona’s famous compositions while striving to preserve their inherent spirit. The album is also a celebration of Vives’ own career, which now spans three decades. In addition to his innovation and longevity, Vives is an extremely prolific artist whose many releases have brought him two GRAMMYs and 15 Latin GRAMMYs.
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."
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.