Music

Exclusive: Pablo Alborán Talks His Decade in Music, Collabs With Maná, Camilo, And More

On Feb. 1, Spanish singer-songwriter Pablo Alborán celebrated 10 years of his debut album. In that decade, he’s charmed a global audience with his emotive voice. Alborán has also collaborated with artists from all over the world, including Colombian singer Camilo, American pop star Ava Max, and Mexican band Maná. His latest album, Vértigo, dropped in December, so he’s not slowing down. In an exclusive interview with Latido Music, Alborán reflected on the decade and talked about his biggest collaborations and what to expect next.

Pablo is celebrating 10 years in the music industry.

“I think in these past 10 years, I’ve learned to be more patient,” Alborán tells mitú. “I’m still chasing that same thrill. I still get excited with the love from my fans, the social media messages, and with the support from the people who’ve been with me since day one. All that continues to surprise me and bring me joy.”

Pablo’s debut single had Kelly Rowland raving back in the day.

Alborán actually launched his career 11 years ago when he uploaded a home performance of his breakthrough single “Solamente Tú” to YouTube. A few days later Destiny’s Child’s Kelly Rowland proclaimed on Twitter, “I’m in love with Pablo Alborán!” His self-titled debut album was released in February 2011 and later that year, he received the first three of his nineteen career nominations at the Latin Grammy Awards. Demi Lovato performed “Solamente” with him there.

“I’m trying to take things more head-on,” Alborán says. “Before, I was maybe a little more thrown off by things. I was giving so much importance to everything and whatever problems. I believe I’ve learned to take things on more calmly.”

During last year’s COVID-19 quarantine, Pablo comforted his fans with “Cuando Estés Aquí.”

In those 10 years, Alborán also received two Grammy Award nominations. He’s known for his flamenco-inspired pop and his soaring ballads. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, he wrote the heartfelt “Cuando Estés Aquí” that became a quarantine anthem. All proceeds from the song benefit UNICEF in the fight against COVID-19.

“It’s a song that saved me during the quarantine,” Alborán says. “It helped me connect with my fans. I’m talking about everything that we lived together. The lyrics reflect the generous and supportive side of what was happening that wasn’t really shown in the news. There was a positive side to see people helping each other and singing and dancing from their balconies in Madrid. I think this pandemic not only brought out the worst, but it also brought out the best version of ourselves. That’s what I hope.”

In quarantine, Pablo also supported his fans in the LGBTQ+ community when he came out.

While in quarantine, Alborán released a powerful personal video during Pride month. He came out as a proud gay man. Alborán saw the message as a way of expressing his truth and also as something that could empower his fans in the LGBTQ+ community.

“Today, I want my voice to be louder and for it to have more value and weight,” Alborán said in the video. “I’m here to tell you that I am homosexual and it’s okay. Life goes on, and everything will remain the same. There are so many people that did not have the same experience I did. That’s why today, without fear, I hope I can make somebody’s journey easier with this message. But, above all, I do this for me.”

At last November’s Latin Grammy Awards, with Alborán out, there was major LGBTQ+ representation in the top categories. “Cuando Estés Aquí” was nominated for Record of the Year. That category and Album and Song of the Year also included entries from other artists in the queer community like Kany García, Ricky Martin, and Jesse y Joy’s Joy Huerta.

Pablo is spreading the love in his latest album Vértigo.

Last year Alborán also kicked off his Vértigo album era. He released the lead single “Si Hubiera Querido,” a hot-and-heavy heartbreak bop. In the music video, a shirtless Alborán emerges from his internal struggle in the swimming pool. On the other side of the spectrum, there’s the magical love song “Hablemos de Amor,” where he paints an out-of-this-world romance with his words.

“It’s an album that speaks from a place of vulnerability,” Alborán says. “From a personal place. A place of intimacy. I speak about love from a very concrete place. I speak about pain, spite, jealousy, and how to love each other well. I talk about all the contrasts there is in love.”

Pablo hopes to tour the world soon when it’s possible to do so.

As more people are receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, live concerts are becoming more of a reality. Alborán hopes to tour again soon “si Dios quiere.” He adds, “Hopefully we can travel to every part of the world.” Alborán promises that there are more collaborations and new songs on the way this year. Meanwhile, his fans can enjoy his music at home.

“The only thing I want to achieve with my music is that people can identify with it,” Alborán says. “That they feel a hug when they hear my songs. That they feel they have a companion here who feels and lives things like them when they’re listening to me. All I want to do is give a voice to their feelings.”

Since Alborán is celebrating 10 years of his debut album, we had him break down some of the biggest collaborations of his career.

“Rayando El Sol” with Maná

In April 2019, the legendary Mexican group recorded a new version of their 1990 hit “Rayando Al Sol” with Alborán. His powerful vocals paired well with lead singer Fher Olvera’s impassioned performance. The new music video was shot in Madrid.

“Wow!” Alborán exclaims. “That was a dream come true. Maná is a group that I’ve admired since I was a kid. Their songs have been with me my whole life. To be able to be part of a song so important like ‘Rayando El Sol’ that’s like an anthem for a lot of people. It’s a very big responsibility but an honor as well. I love them so much.”

“Tabú” with Ava Max

In November 2019, Alborán teamed up with American pop star Ava Max for “Tabú.” She’s known for her hits like “Sweet But Psycho” and “Kings & Queens.” That song was a crossover moment for her into the Spanish music world. In the music video, a shirtless Alborán goes to battle with a sword.

“That was a unique experience because that was the first time I made a song that was in Spanish and English,” Alborán says. “For me, that was a dream come true. For many years, I wanted to do this. Ava Max is an artist that makes another type of music that’s more electronic with elements of disco and dance. That was a very fun incursion.”

Alborán adds with a laugh, “That was an experiment that came out great. The response was very positive. It’s a song that you can’t stop dancing to and can’t stop listening to. I’m so excited to perform it at my concerts.”

“El Mismo Aire” with Camilo

Colombian singer Camilo dropped his breakthrough album Por Primera Vez last year. He re-released the heartbreaking ballad “El Mismo Aire” as a duet with Alborán. They recorded the music video that was shot from their corners of the world during the pandemic.

“Camilo is like my brother,” Alborán says. “He’s a friend who I always carry in my heart. Collaborating with him was very natural and it was also very casual because it started from an Instagram story I uploaded [singing the song] and he liked it. He called me.”

Doing his best Camilo voice, Alborán adds, “He told me, ‘Record this for God’s sake! We’ll make a video!’ We made the video from a social distance. I record my part at home during this pandemic, which was crazy. He recorded his part in Miami. That was one of the most surprising invitations because we have different styles. However, his way and my way of understanding the music are very similar. I appreciate him so much. I believe he’s a fighter. I went crazy for the song.”

“Y Duele” with Sofi de la Torre

This month, Alborán teamed up with fellow Spanish singer-songwriter Sofi de La Torre for her new single “Y Duele.” In the music video, they go on a wild road trip together.

“That was through my label,” Alborán says. “I listened to this artist that I loved, Sofi de la Torre. She showed me her song. I went crazy for the song. She told me, ‘Hey, would you like to be on this song? You liked it a lot.’ I jumped. I made a demo at home. She liked it a lot. It was very natural. She’s a marvelous girl. I appreciate her so much. I believe it’s a song that touches the soul.”

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