Flamenco is one of the roots of Latin music. The foundation is an Afro-Cuban blend which back in the day was Afro-Spanish. It was a blend of Spanish guitar and African drum. It was natural because flamenco culture already had African influences in Spain.
The early Spanish colonizers came from the southern region of Spain out of the port Cadiz. That is Andalucia, the flamenco heartland. So contemporary Latin music blends naturally with its flamenco root. This is where Sanz works.
Alejandro Sanz #LaGira
Andalucia via Madrid
Sanz is from Madrid, but his family is from Andalusia, the flamenco heartland. Flamenco is already a blend of influences. Sanz writes ballads that blend pop and tropical rhythms into flamenco.
He came up in the 1990s. His first record was the techno flamenco Los Chulos Son Pa’ Cuidarlos in 1989. He recorded it as Alejandro Magno, or Alexander the Great. It didn’t go so well.
His next three albums, Viviendo Deprisa, Si Tú Me Miras and 3 built a fan base in Spain.
El Alma al Aire
His fifth album earned Sanz four Latin Grammys in 2001 including Album of the Year and Record of the Year for the title track.
Sanz was the first Spanish artist to record one of these hallmark albums. Not only did it win Latin Grammy awards for Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Song of the Year (Y Sólo Se Me Ocurre Amarte), the recording brought him back to a simpler style of record making.
No Es lo Mismo
Singing about global politics won Sanz four more Latin Grammys in 2004 including Album of the Year and Record of the Year.
This was Sanz’ breakthrough. The pop salsa single Corazón Partío from the 1997 album made him an international star. The album was the best selling album in Spain up to that time.
La Tortura with Shakira
Shakira’s La Tortura featuring Sanz was a reggaeton single that won Latin Grammys in 2006 for Song of the Year and Record of the Year.
The recognition also queued up his first Billboard Hot 100 son A la Primera Persona from El Tren de los Momentos. It featured Shakira, Juanes, Alex González and Residente (Calle 13).
The single Looking for Paradise with Alicia Keys reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart. The album was nominated for 2010 Latin Grammy Awards for Album of the Year.