In Julio Iglesias' recipe for success, talent is only a tiny ingredient. And although the Spanish crooner says singing was not an innate gift for him, he says he's gotten better — and he wants to show that to fans with his latest album.
"Good timing is the first thing you need in order to achieve success," says one of the 10 best selling Latin artist in history. "Then you need good luck and then a little talent ... and a lot of passion, a lot of drive, and discipline."
In a recent interview with The Associated Press at his luxurious house on the island of Indian Creek, Iglesias spoke about the reasons he recorded "1 - Greatest Hits", a double CD with songs he made popular in English, Spanish, French and Italian, like "Begin the Beguine (Volver a Empezar)," ''Crazy," ''Hey," ''Me Olvide de Vivir," and "Me Va, Me Va."
"I wanted to be practical and sing better the songs that deserved to be better sung," he said.
He also said he didn't care much about critics anymore and spoke about his fear of sleep, his next birthday and why he wouldn't sing with his famous son, Enrique.
AP: What would you like to say with this album?
Iglesias: Nothing. I want to make things better. I want people to know that I sing better, that sound today is a lot better. I don't want anyone to hide my voice in 20 years and put the orchestra they want in. I don't want anyone to do dirty tricks with my music. I want to do it myself.
AP: Throughout all these years, your profession surely has given you many things and also taken things away from you.
Iglesias: It has taken nothing... How unfair it would be for a guy like me to say...
AP: Hasn't it taken time from you with your family?
Iglesias: Not at all. My family has all the time in the world. My family lives the way it lives because I have this time marginalized for them, not in a sense of reproach but happiness. All my children and all my direct family must be really happy that I spent less time (with them).
AP: What did your career give you?
Iglesias: The gaze of the people. The applause, the recognition. When I go to a restaurant and they give me the freshest food (laughs). No, what this career has given me is the chance to know people inside and out; the looks with just the eyes, the cultures. If I ride with you in an elevator and there are six different cultures, I get five right for sure. That's wonderful.
AP: What makes you happy?
Iglesias: (Silence) No, no, happiness for me is not a special motivation. There are things way more important than happiness. Emotion is much more important ... Excitement and passion is 100 times better than happiness.
AP: And what excites you?
Iglesias: Many things. Waking up, that excites me a lot because I don't like to sleep.
AP: Are you afraid of not waking up?
Iglesias: I am afraid precisely of ... the time I lose, the fear that I don't like to go to sleep, I don't feel like it, I don't want to.
AP: How many hours do you sleep at night?
Iglesias: Oooh, I must sleep four. Very little.
AP: What makes you go on?
Iglesias: Discipline. Success.
AP: Are you afraid to lose it?
Iglesias: Not anymore. The only thing I'm going to lose at this point is life. It's not a very modest answer, but is a fair one. After three generations, there will always be a place where I can sing for 10 people at any club in Stockholm or any little corner of your country in Syria. There will always be a moment, there will always be people for me. Less, much less probably, but even if there are 100 I communicate.
AP: You turn 70 this year. Is this something special or just one more number for you?
Iglesias: It is crap. 70 years. (He pauses). Not an easy number, 70. Nor was easy 60, or even 50. I think I haven't had an easy number because I've had to learn how to live continuously. I wasn't born knowing. There are people who are born with everything in place but I was born with all the pieces separated and I have been putting them together. And now that I'm 70 I am approaching that crossword where many things get completed. And I don't want to get things completed, because the day I do I will get screwed.
AP: How do you view your son Enrique's career?
Iglesias: Enrique is magical. Enrique is like that miracle to a parent... We want our children to be successful and stand out, but as much as we can imagine it we can never think that our own children will have such an outstanding success.
AP: When are you going to sing together?
Iglesias: My son and I singing together is something that may seem very commercial, (but) I think that neither he nor me are going to do it, ever. ... I don't believe in a commercial duet between myself and my children.
Follow Gisela Salomon on Twitter at www.twitter.com/giselasalomon