Pablo Alboran: "I Want to Thrill People With My Music"
In just three years, Spain's Pablo Alborán has become a pop phenomenon.
It all started with a video recorded at his house and posted to YouTube in 2010. The clip reached one million views and he became a near-instant celebrity. Since then, the 24-year-old singer and songwriter has released three albums -- a 2011 self-titled debut, Pablo Alborán, a 2011 live record En Acústico, and his 2012 sophomore effort, Tanto -- which have all reached the number-one spot on the Spanish charts.
Now, following his 2013 tour across Spain, Alborán is bringing his band and his music to Miami and then Latin America. So yesterday, we here at Crossfade had the chance to chat with him about sudden success, his ambitions, and the possibility of an English album.
Crossfade: How do you feel about coming to Miami for the first time?
Pablo Alborán: I'm very happy. It was about time. I came to Miami before as part of the promotion of the album and now I'll be here with all of my team. I can't wait to play at the Fillmore.
Your tour across Spain was a huge success. What does it mean to you to have achieved so much in just three years?
It's been three years of craziness, a lot of work and a lot of energy invested in one dream. I have a great team that has trusted me. But most of all, there are my fans, who've believed in my music since the beginning. Thanks to them, I have reached my goals and exceeded my own expectations. This last tour has been a dream come true. The only thing I can do is to be thankful when I wake up and when I go to sleep.
How have you managed to stay grounded?
I am a very normal guy. Really, very normal. I keep my family and friends close. They know I'm there for them when they need me, just as they are there for me. This life is a little crazy, traveling from one place to the other. But knowing that I have them keeps me sane. Especially because they believe in my passion.
You started your career thanks to a video posted on YouTube. Now you have more than two million followers on Facebook and Twitter. How do you think social media has changed the music industry?
It has changed it tremendously. The music industry has been adapting and in a fabulous way. In my case, people got to know me thanks to YouTube. After that, they started going to my concerts and buying my albums. It's been a mix. You can be very successful in the social media, but you also need an authentic connection with your audience and a lot of work behind your music.
Talking about work, how are you involved in the process of recording the album and planning the tours?
I'm very picky. I want to be involved in everything and my team knows I'm very passionate. I'm also a very curious person, so I'm constantly learning about music production and the logistics of the tours. I am just one more member of the team.
What would you say to all the young artists who are trying to pursue their dreams and get to where you are now?
I've been very lucky. I have worked a lot and I have people around me that have believed in my dreams. When you do art, the only way to touch hearts is by being passionate. As long as you're true to your heart, there will be someone out there who will be moved by your art.
How did you start writing songs so young?
I'm just crazy! Just as there are kids who are into sports, I was into music. I would go to my room and play the piano while other kids were playing outside. My mom would think, What a weird boy. But later on, she suggested I study music. Everything came into place very naturally.
Even though your success has happened very quickly, have you had the chance to enjoy it?
Honestly, I am constantly reminding myself that I have to enjoy it. I know it sounds weird, but everything moves so fast and there are stressful times. When I'm in front of thousands of people in places like El Palacio de los Deportes in Madrid, I stop to think, I don't want it to be over, I want to enjoy every second of it until the end.
When you're performing, you look so natural. Do you get nervous?
Sure! All the time! I remember a funny story. When I was little, I had a piano concert. I was so nervous I forgot half of the song, but instead of freezing, I got a rush of adrenaline that made me keep going and I even came up with the rest of the song. People didn't even notice and they loved the way I played.
Do you have any plans for an English album?
Actually, my next album is full of surprises. One of them is that I'm working with a very important producer in L.A. It's completely different to sing in English, though. I need to make sure that people can still recognize me.
Do you think you already have an established style? Or are you still experimenting?
With the next album, I want people to really recognize me. Vocally, I think I'm getting there because of my Andalusian accent. I'm from Málaga, and that's obvious in my voice. My next project will let me experiment a little more while still keeping my style. It will be influenced by rhythms and instruments from all over the world. I'm really excited about it.
You have worked with international musicians and singers like Jesse & Joy and Diana Peñaloza. Will there be any projects like this coming soon?
Yes! I want to work with two different amazing singers. One in English and one in French. My mom is from France, so I have roots there too, and I would love to show it in my music.
What can we expect from your Latin American tour and the concert at the Fillmore Miami Beach?
My whole band is coming with me. We are going to perform songs from all three albums. It's going to be a concert full of emotions but also very dynamic. We will dance and also be romantic. I'm really looking forward to looking everybody in the eyes and just letting go. People go to concerts to be moved and I want to thrill people with my music.
-- Luz Elena Silva
Pablo Alborán. Saturday, March 15. Fillmore Miami Beach, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets cost $43.50 to $128.50 plus fees via livenation.com. All ages. Call 305-673-7300 or visit fillmoremb.com.