Jon Secada will be preforming MARCH 11th at Anthology, San Diego

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 13:03
Posted in category In the News, Past Shows

“It kind of goes back to the beginning of my career, when you’re trying to figure out what to do and you hear, ‘Jon, you could be the next Johnny Mathis.’ I really love that arrangement.”

By GABRIELA HUSSONG | A-List International

When I heard two-time Grammy winner, Jon Secada, would be performing in San Diego this month, Secada’s “Angel” or even better, the image of Jon walking on the beach, waves crashing on his 20-something body as he sang “Just Another Day” immediately made me reminisce. And though I’m about to date myself (as well as our readers who will shake their heads in agreement), I know exactly where I was, what I was doing, and what was going on in my life when he repeatedly asked us to “give him a reason.” His music is undoubtedly part of the soundtrack of our lives. So the release of his new album “Expressions” that takes on new versions of these hits with an adult, jazzy, sultry feel is like welcoming back an old friend who’s all grown up.

As the anticipation of our interview builds, I can only wish I had him sitting across from me to offer him a thimble-sized ‘cortadito,’ otherwise known as a shot of eye-popping Cuban coffee. This, of course, is the first thing I say to him as he calls from Miami. He laughs and the conversation begins on a good note. I tell him about the lasting presence of his hits of the early 90s and how those songs are permanently attached to our memories. And he chokes a bit and says humbly, “You’re words are very, very sweet.” I think that when you’ve sung your hits for 18 years, you can forget the impact they still have on the listeners and the memories they bring back. So I remind him and he gets it.

To date, Secada maintains a very strong connection to Emilio and Gloria Estefan, and calls Gloria his “mentor”—Secada recently participated in the Estefan’s fundraising project for Haiti called “Somos El Mundo,” the Spanish version of “We Are The World.” Aside from his first break in the business from the Estefan’s—which ultimately drove him to have a successful pop career—being in the right place at the right time led him to be a part of the Latino successes which included Miami Sound Machine, Carlos Santana, and Julio Iglesias.

“In the early 90s I felt very blessed, very lucky to be a part of what ended up being a new wave of crossover artists. And at the end of the day, they represented what was going on with our Latin fluidity across the border, in the United States; how important we are, what we represent and this people that we’ve become in society, in this country. So, I always felt very Latino-proud about that, you know, that I was a part of that crossover success,” Secada says exclusively to A-LIST INTERNATIONAL. “That’s what everyone coming to the United States… that’s what it’s all about.”

After years of toying with the idea of a temporary genre change, Secada fulfills his dream of producing a true jazz album in “Expressions,” with songs he knew if he ever had a chance to record he would, original material, and remixes of his early hits. And I can’t help but wonder if this Cuban-American singer, songwriter and producer draws inspiration from his Caribbean roots. And his answer is, “Not for ‘Expressions.’” And though he might be entering into unfamiliar territory for his fans, jazz just happens to be home to him. You see, this pop sensation holds a bachelors and masters degree in Jazz Performance from the University of Miami.

Conversations with friends from college, discussions with producer and long-time friend, Joel Semeillan, perfect timing, and a memorable minute and a half on stage during a Dave Koz concert propelled Secada to finally produce his jazz CD. “I remember that concert as part of a wave of things that helped me make the decision,” says Secada about the public’s reaction to hearing him perform briefly in that genre and the origin of “Expressions.” It was the budge he needed to take the leap.

When asked about his preferred tracks and inspiration for that once unfulfilled dream, Secada shares that he enjoys listening to the arrangement for “Chances Are,” an old 1950’s song originally recorded by Johnny Mathis. “It kind of goes back to the beginning of my career, when you’re trying to figure out what to do and you hear, ‘Jon, you could be the next Johnny Mathis.’ I really love that arrangement.” Secada also includes original material, drawing inspiration from his personal life. “’Find Me in Your Dreams’ is a song I wrote for my children; a lullaby, jazz-type of a ballad. ‘Letter from a Friend’ is a very poignant, sad story; a true story of someone that I knew,” he shares. His recording of “Expressions” happened in a very intimate setting where piano, bass, drums and voice came together in a very organic way. Secada has described it as “music to make love to, to relax to, to chill with.” Can we have a glass of wine with that? Actually, we can.

On March 11th, Anthology will present Jon Secada in concert. It is impossible to ignore Secada is looking forward to returning to San Diego and playing at Anthology, where the audience will enjoy an “intimate performance, the way it was meant to be heard.” The acoustics and private setting of this 300-seat multi-level venue are ideal to enjoy the concert up-close and personal. “The music is perfect for a cabaret style club, and the show I’m bringing down has that type of feel. It’s very acoustic; very, very organic. Intimacy is important,” explains Secada.

Secada, known for pioneering simultaneous album releases in English and Spanish, says that the jazz CD did not lend itself for a Spanish version. “It is such a statement. It is so rooted in English that I don’t know if it would have translated well.” We bi-cultural types can understand that. He goes on to talk about the many planned concerts particularly through Eastern Europe in May, two new bi-lingual albums, “Classics” and “Clásicos” available in the spring, and the DVD release of a live concert filmed in Rio de Janeiro together with a new pop album towards the end of the year, that will be the conclusion to many projects he has undertaken as of lately. “’Classics’ and ‘Clásicos’ is a collection of fully orchestrated songs, old standards that I grew up with: ‘Spanish Eyes,’ ‘Vaya con Dios,’ ‘Qué será, será,’ ‘My Way’… and eventually I am coming out with a new pop Spanish CD. It will be a high-profile CD with songs that will be on the radio,” he concludes.

Hearing about his plans, I can’t help but to think back to his music and what it has meant for his fans, I included. I think it’s time to update the soundtracks of our adult lives and bring back the playfulness of yesteryear rekindled by new versions of beloved and new Jon Secada songs. I for one can’t wait to reconnect.

Via A-List International