- Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Cuando Hay Amor”?
My latest single “Cuando Hay Amor” wasn’t actually supposed to be the first single off the album ‘Brazil305, we were going to release one of the re-imagined tracks like “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You”. But as I started thinking about the music and the state of the world, I thought what needed to be put out there was music that emotes love and joy and hope. The title translates to ‘When there is love’ and speaks about how, in the spirit of love, the smallest things mean the most and how with everything is better and nothing could be more true right now with everything that our world is going through.
- Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
When we started working on this album and decided that we were going to include a few original tracks, Emilio, of course, got right to work. I was working in the studio and walked in on Emilio, Nicolas Tovar (a famous Colombian artist & writer) & our studio intern at the time, Andrea Lopez working on “Cuando Hay Amor”. The moment I heard the song it made me want to throw my hands up in the air and start moving. I told them right there, I want this song on the album. The rhythm and lyrics put a smile on my face and made me want to dance, I knew it would fit perfectly into the album.
- With our times being so hard, especially as the worst comes from many of us in these difficult times – did you see as necessary to release a love anthem?
It was absolutely necessary for me to carefully pick and be sure that whatever I was going to release at this time would give people a feeling of hope and love and togetherness. That’s why I felt so strongly about “Cuando Hay Amor” being the single, it’s a song I feel that can be a love anthem and will make people happy, even if only while they’re listening because it can bring them joy and escape.
- Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?
Yes of course, we actually released a music video with the single. We shot everything in Brazil last year, thankfully, because that wouldn’t have been possible now. I got to really immerse myself in the culture and learn how important music is to that beautiful country. Most of the video was shot in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil at Abaete Lake and the women you see dancing with me are Baianas. These women have become cultural and historical symbols in Bahia, they pass down this traditional from generation to generation and were the original Baianas were the first women to improvise what would become the samba as they would wash their clothes at the lake. It was incredible to be there with them, and we even got to see some wild horses roaming around while we were shooting.
- The single comes off your new album Brazil305 – why taking so long on releasing this material?
‘Brazil305’, was actually set to be released in 2017, all the musicians were recorded in Brazil and it was my turn to get in the studio and start singing… at that moment my mother got ill and 33 days later passed away. It took me a while to recover from her passing and thankfully Sony Music told me to take my time. I knew I had to be in the right mindset to record because somehow whatever is going on in the studio or in your mind makes it on to the music. I needed to work through it before going in to sing. It took me about a year to come through and I really felt my mom near me while I recorded in late 2018, she was very excited about the album, she had heard a lot of the music before she became ill, so I took that feeling with me into the studio. We travelled to Brazil in early 2019 to shoot a documentary to accompany the album which we were planning to release later that year. With the advent of Covid and later the tragedy that George Floyd experienced, I asked that we respectfully wait. Then I felt it became imperative to put some joy into the world and finally release this album.
- What’s the story behind the title?
I wanted the title to easily reflect that this album would be honoring Brazilian music. But I also wanted to have it exemplify the bridge between Miami, my hometown and Brazil. So, I chose to use the area code of Miami (305) in the title and subsequently found out that there are exactly 305 indigenous ethnicities, which was proof to me that I choose the right title.
- How was the recording and writing process?
Being in the studio for me is always a privilege and a joy. I’ve loved Brazilian music since I was a small child listening to my mother’s record collection which included, Jobim and Stan Getz. So being able to honour these rhythms with my own original songs that I’ve been lucky enough to have be hits all over the world was especially enjoyable.
When I wrote the English and Spanish versions of a Brazilian anthem, O Homem Falou, I felt fortunate to bring such a special and unifying message to my native languages. And being able to write a Spanish version of one of my biggest hits, Here We Are, decades after I wrote the original was exciting.
- Your past record was a celebration of many cultures as you sing in different languages – was this recorded intended to be a back into your roots?
This record went further back then my Cuban roots because it celebrates the musical African roots that are at the base of Brazilian and Cuban music. I wanted to highlight how through music we are all more alike than different.
- Cuba as we know plays a major role in your music, and you’ve paid tribute to your roots in so many records – was it easy to go and pay respect to other culture?
Anytime I have celebrated other cultures through my music, I try to be as respectful as possible and it always comes from a place of truth. Since I grew up in the United States and my early gig days were spent covering the music of some of these great countries in Central and South America it is something that comes naturally to me. When I joined Miami Latin Boys in 1975 and before we changed our name to Miami Sound Machine, I asked the band to learn several of my favorite Brazilian songs so that I could perform them with the band. It’s a dream to come full circle and now do my own songs in these lush and syncopated rhythms of Brazil.
- Did you intend to go full into the music of the country or you actually get to experiment with other sounds?
It was our mission to stay true to, not only the well-known rhythms of Brazil such as Samba and Bosa Nova, but to also explore lesser known rhythms of this beautiful country. But on the original tune, “Cuando Hay Amor”, since it was written by Emilio and two Colombians, we experimented with more of a fusion of what would be considered Colombian rhythms together with Samba de Roda, a traditional rhythm coming from the Brazilian religious ceremony of Candomblé.
- Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
My songs and my lyrics are usually inspired by deep feelings, life experiences, other people’s life experiences, and generally anything that is true to the human condition.
- What else is happening next in Gloria Estefan’s life?
I will soon begin to film Red Table Talk: The Estefans, where me, my niece Lili and my daughter Emily will be bringing our generational and individual thoughts and feelings about things that effect all of us in the world in the tradition that was begun by Jada Pinket-Smith in her original and timely Red Table Talks. I also continue, alongside my husband Emilio to run the multiple businesses we have with our restaurant and hotels, while trying to win a prize for Grandmother of the year!
Gloria Estefan’s new album ‘Brazil305’ is out on now on Sony Music.