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Marc Anthony: Don't call it 'Latin music'

October 26, 1999
Web posted at: 1:01 p.m. EDT (1701 GMT)

WorldBeat's Brooke Alexander talks with salsa sensation Marc Anthony
Windows Media 28K 80K

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Where does salsa sensation Marc Anthony find his musical inspiration? Maybe from a lifelong habit of dancing to a different drummer.

He was born and grew up in New York's Spanish Harlem, but says he thought he was elsewhere. "There was no one to tell me that I wasn't raised in Puerto Rico," he tells CNN.

His musician-father named him Marco Antonio Muniz after a famous Mexican singer. (He changed his name to avoid confusion.) He says that in his boyhood, his father's friends filled his house with depressing songs until late in the evening. But, he says, "They would leave crying, saying that they'd had a wonderful time."

Now all grown up -- Anthony is 31 -- he's got his own set of projects. "Marc Anthony" is his first English-language release after several Spanish-language albums. He also starred in Paul Simon's "The Capeman" on Broadway and has a supporting role in the just-released Martin Scorsese film "Bringing Out the Dead."


"Y Hubo Alguien"
[190k MPEG-3] or [260k WAV]

"I Need To Know"
[130k MPEG-3] or [175k WAV]

"No me Ames"
[85k MPEG-3] or [115k WAV]

(Courtesy Sony Discos/Columbia Records)


Musical collaborations come easily

Anthony has formed his own set of musical friends. Among them is another Latin sensation, Jennifer Lopez, who followed up a leading-lady role in one of his videos by asking if he'd work on her next album. He agreed, suggesting they record one of his favorite Italian songs together. "No Me Ames" became a hit.

But he stresses that he doesn't think of the song as "Latin music" -- in fact, he likes to say such a thing doesn't exist.

"It's not Latin music, you know?" Anthony says. "I need you to know it's not Latin music. 'Livin' la Vida Loca' is not Latin music. It does not represent Latin music. What Jennifer Lopez puts out, it's not Latin music. What Enrique Iglesias (records), it's not Latin music.

It's Latin artists. There's a Latin artist movement, you could say.

"It's so unfair to just lump everybody in, because we have Latin last names. We're all Latino -- Mexicans, Ecuadorians, Panamanians, Puerto Ricans, Cubans. We're all Latino, but we all have our little idiosyncrasies, our own food, our own music. So there's little tribes, in a way. It's really interesting."

Pulling from diverse sources

Q: Where did the decision come from to record in English?

Anthony: Because I was raised in New York City in the '70s and '80s and have many musical influences. And I've been tapping into the Latin influences over the past eight years.


Read the mini-review of 'Marc Anthony'

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But these other influences still live in me, and it's something that I've always wanted to do. I always to go back to (these sounds). But it's such a part of me that I don't see it as going back to anything, or going to something, or going away from something -- none of that. It's all born in the same place, and I am both.

Q: So how would you say that it differs to compose in Spanish vs. English, and what would you say is the main difference between performing in English and in Spanish?

Anthony: Wow. I think in general I've never dared compose in Spanish. First of all, it is such an intricate language. There are probably 20 ways to say any one thing and there are so many people who do it so much better than I do and I don't want to do everything.

Q: How do you think your hard-core Latino fans are going to respond to this?

Anthony: You know what's amazing is that 98 percent of them are bilingual. So they've been asking for it for a while now. I get thousands, literally thousands and thousands of letters from my core audience, saying that they're learning Spanish because of my music -- sources that say that their first language is English, the majority of them.

Ricky Martin leading the Latin (music) revolution
May 17, 1999
Fresh Cuts Mini-review of 'Marc Anthony'
September 17, 1999

Official Marc Anthony site
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