qvMagazine Featured Artist: Chayanne

Simplemente Chayanne!
Latin superstar singer Chayanne talks exclusively with qvMagazine.
Photos and Interview by Luther Orrick-Guzman

Chayanne is known as the good guy who did everything right to earn is his status as a top singer, dancer, and actor. Currently, Chayanne has it all: a new hit album, a recent appearance on an episode of the FOX television series, "Ally McBeal," a lifetime achievement award from the 2001 Premio Lo Nuestro Awards, and to top it all off, a newborn baby girl named Isadora Sofía, who was born on December 10, 2000. And while his wildly successful 1997 album "Atado a tu Amor" still hangs on to the Latin charts, Chayanne has also release a successful follow-up album entitled "Simplemente."

So how did this Latin superstar/sex symbol get his start? Chayanne explains, "The way I got into the music business was kind of a natural thing. Growing up in my house, everybody played instruments. My father, my grandfather played the "Cuatro" a typical instrument from Puerto Rico. My mother sang. My sister sang and played the guitar. My brother played the cuatro, accordion, and guitar. I've played the drums a little since I was 4 years old. When I was 5, we were part of the choir in the Catholic Church. I did theater in school-in first and second grade. Then when I was 10, some people wanted to put a group together. They came to my house for my sister, and I was there to sort of keep her company during the rehearsals." Chayanne smiles and says, "Then, they changed the concept and it became an all guy group called Los Chicos-and I got in! So when I was 10, I did my first album. And I did my first movie when I was 12. It's been like that ever since-parallel with music, acting, soap operas, videos, and movies."

At the age of 14, Chayanne decided to move on to a solo career as a singer on a more serious level. He explains, "When I separated myself from the group (Los Chicos), I remember feeling I wanted to continue in this career. I just continued taking singing classes, dancing, and going to the gym. I started working out and preparing myself. It was when I moved to Mexico at the age of 15 that I seriously started my career. I recorded my first album. Then we started promoting it in Mexico, Central America, and South America. Everything evolved that way."

Chayanne has always had a unique blend of full throttle dance pop tunes and a balance of ballads. "My first pop ballad was 'Tiempo De Vals' (Time of Waltz) and to this day that song is still used for quinceañeras (a traditional kind of 'Sweet 16' party in Latin America and the U.S.). But my internationalization was through a song called 'Fiesta en America' in 1987. Then with 'Este Ritmo Se Baila Así,' I won my first MTV Video award." Since then, Chayanne's career has been rising and rising.

Chayanne soon began to develop a desire to star in American films, so he started auditioning for movies such as "The Mask of Zorro." He explains, "I had been doing movies and soaps for the Latin market, but I wanted to do something in the States. I did a screen test for 'Zorro,' but then the studio changed producers and directors, and I didn't get the part. However, I soon got a phone call to do the movie 'Dance With Me.'"

Chayanne continues, "At the time they were casting 'Dance With Me,' I was releasing an album. I did the screen test in New York and that's where I meet Vanessa Williams for the first time." He smiles boyishly, "It was like seeing the sun walk by you. She is beautiful! And sweet! And she was so nice all the time. We worked together very well. We were partners in crime. Then I did a short six-month, 13-country tour for my album. Afterwards, I did 'Atado A tu Amor' as a follow up and with that, I visited 22 countries. That album broke new markets for me."

After the success of "Atado A Tu Amor," Chayanne contemplated doing an English-language crossover album.
"At first, I wanted to do 'Simplemente' in English," he says, "But I started doing the pre-production in Spanish, and before I knew it, six months passed and I didn't have an English album ready. So with the marketing of my record label, Sony, we decided to just released the Spanish album and then release two or three English songs.

Perhaps doing the entire album in Spanish has paid off for Chayanne's mind. And how does he feel about the album? He tells us, "Without a doubt, I believe that it is my best album to date."

"Simplemente" is definitely off to a great start as the first radio single, "Yo Te Amo," has gone straight to number one on Billboard's Hot Latin Tracks chart. In addition, the dance track "Boom Boom" has become a sensation throughout Europe.

Chayanne is appreciative of the album's success and has nothing but praise for the people who helped him on this project. He specifically mentions the names Estefano, Donatto, Victo Manuel, among others.

If there's one thing that Chayanne tries to do in his life, it's to put himself in an atmosphere where he is surrounded by family-or even friends who can be considered family. Chayanne explains, "Family is very important to me-it always has been. Even since I was a young kid, I was always surrounded by family. I never lost the family ground ambiance, that's why now, as an adult when I work on album projects, I work with people who make me feel as if I am with family. I need that chemistry."

He, furthermore, continues, "I'm a work-a-holic, but I try to divide my work with my family very well. My family is my ground and my center. My spiritual area is strong because of my family, and that allows me to do so much work. I love what I do, that's why I can work that hard. I don't know if it's really hard work, but I do it and enjoy it at the same time. You need to travel, sacrifice a lot of things, but it's worth it."

Chayanne-the family man, singer, actor, and gentleman-is a firm believer of the idea "persistence beats resistance." When asked what kind of a message he'd like to leave to his qvFans, he said, "I'd share something that I feel has been very good for me and that would also apply to your readers-which is to always believe in yourself. When you have something in your mind, just work for it. People will try to bring you down, but you need to believe in yourself and then not worry about it! The rest will come. Everything is hard in life, but when you have something in your mind, just work for it. Work hard. All you need is that little percent of luck. It's inside of you to find your dreams."

Visit a cool Chayanne fan site at www.cafechayanne.org
Thanks to Sony Discos.

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Recent Albums Available From Chayanne

Simplemente (2000)

Atado A Tu Amor (1998)

Volver A Nacer (1996)

Influencias (1994)

Provocame (1992)

Tiempo de Vals (1990)

Chayanne (1989)

Chayanne (1988)

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