MADRID – For Alejandro Sanz, life is “all or nothing,” so when he began to paint and painting became a passion, guitars and sound equipment disappeared from his home until one day he had to make a difficult decision: the paintbrush or music.
“I had to choose between painting and music. I do not like doing things halfheartedly. I hung on ropes in front of a canvas such as a wall and crashed into it with my paints,” the musician said when asked during an interview with Efe when he felt like a “Zombie a la Intemperie” (Zombie Out in the Open), the title of his latest single.
In 2002, he presented his first collection of paintings, all of which he managed to sell. Portuguese soccer player Luis Figo took one of his favorite pieces.
In the end, he opted for music, published “No Es lo Mismo” (2003), and a new round of albums were made, each more successful than the other including “Sirope,” his 11th, which was presented on Monday in an emblematic art institution, the National Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid.
As in the aforementioned “No Es lo Mismo,” the album took his feet and hands across the Atlantic (not his voice, though, which remains with a flamenco influence), in a markedly North American tone but not Caribbean, hovering between jazz (with a horn section from Philadelphia), R&B, bluegrass and funk.
In fact, he explains that “‘Sirope’ is a rallying cry dedicated to James Brown,” which gets so much from the musician from South Carolina in songs like “La Guarida del Calor,” which refers to a warehouse where he takes part in jam sessions with friends like Juanes and Lenny Kravitz.
“I wanted to get that sound on stage, but more sophisticated,” he said about the sound of his new album produced by Sebastian Krys, in which he has collaborated with trumpeter Arturo Sandoval and with Juan Luis Guerra on a song that gets the Dominican out of his comfort zone.
In fact, the whole album has also been planned to get himself out of his comfort zone, working on the bass lines and the design of the drums as a starting point, which has led to a different album from the previous “Paraíso Express” (2009) and “La Música No Se Toca” (2012).