Carlos Vives' Como Le Gusta a Mi Pueblo Tour in Miami July 13
For having earned multiple platinum records, becoming the first Colombian artist to snag a Grammy for Best Traditional Tropical Album, holding the record for Latin Grammy nominations, and being married to a former Miss Colombia, Carlos Vives is a pretty humble guy. "It's an amazing feeling," he says, "when we face the public and realize how much people enjoy our music."
Maybe Vives' humility is what has forged such a special bond between him and his amiradores, who (prior to his recent return from an eight-year hiatus) still devotedly jammed to the singer-songwriter's last album of original material, 2004's El Rock de Mi Pueblo.
Finally, though, almost a decade after the debut of that Latin Grammy-winning Best Contemporary Tropical Album, the Colombian superstar did some soul searching, experienced a musical rebirth, and released a new collection, this year's Corazón Profundo.
Now, el vallenato is touring the Americas on his Como Le Gusta a Mi Pueblo tour, which will make a Miami stop at the American Airlines Arena this weekend.
Although Vives' music has evolved from the days of his career-making hit, "Fruta Fresca," to the mature pop of "Como Tu" and Corazón Profundo's "Como Le Gusta a Tu Cuerpo," featuring Michel Teló, his youthful enthusiasm has remained untouched.
"I think the change has been a natural progression. I think I know how to make things better today and I'm more developed. It's stronger, more concrete, but my spirit and motivation don't change."
Vives officially broke his eight-year silence with the 2012 release of the single "Volví a Nacer," which he says was written for his wife.
"As artists, our inspiration is the love we have for our spouses, our kids. All of my songs are inspired by the different kinds of love. ["Volví a Nacer"] was the first song we released, and [it] has brought us good things.
"I wrote it for my wife," he explains, "because she worked very hard to connect me to the industry after seven years."
"Volví a Nacer" may be the song that Vives credits for his successful return to music biz, but his musical themes and ability to fuse traditional Colombian folk with contemporary Latin pop and other genres might be the greater reason.
"I've never wanted to exclude anyone from my audience," he says. "It's always been my style. The themes don't exclude kids. It's very organic, rhythmic, and joyful.
"I think that the nature of what I do attracts all audiences. It's not something I do on purpose; it just happens naturally. This makes my very happy because I know I'll have work in the future!"
In fact, prior to the release of Corazón Profundo, Vives popularized the prose of Colombian poet Rafael Pombo with the production of Pombo Musical, which won the 2009 Latin Grammy for Best Children's Album.
But if Vives' music is a reflection of who the singer is as a person, his actions speak louder than his lyrics.
As a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, Vives performed in the 2008 Paz Sin Fronteras/Peace Without Borders concert in Cuba and was invited by the U.S. Navy to participate in the Continuing Promise 2012 humanitarian aid campaign.
"It's humbling and joyful," he beams. "Every time I can collaborate with other causes, especially with children, I go for it. We have worked with UNICEF and have had the chance to better the quality of life of children."
Through his music and humanitarian work, Vives hopes to spread the message of unity.
"Our music is born in a very lively country with very nice, caring people," he says. "Our music, I feel, is music for everyone. It unites us in spite of our differences, even with friends who don't speak Spanish. It has the power to unite."
By Laurie Charles Thursday, Jul 11 2013