Carlos Vives’ ‘Corazón Profundo’ receives five Latin Grammy nominations
Carlos Vives is walking into the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Grammy night as the favorite to take home an armful of awards.
His five nominations are only matched by Illya Kuryaki and the Valderramas and producer Javier Garza, but Vives is the most likely candidate to be crowned the new King of Latin pop.
His album, "Corazón Profundo," is in the running for five statuettes, including the big three categories of Record, Album and Song of the Year.
What's surprising is that Vives is not competing in the Best Cumbia/Vallenato Album category, considering he's the artist who made vallenato a popular genre outside of Colombia.
"Corazón Profundo" is, to a certain extent, his least vallenato-infused album.
"That's true," says Vives about being left out of that category.
"But the essence of what I do is still 'cumbiera.' And by that I mean more than a specific rhythm. I mean a concept - a cell that lies in the music, even if what we do now is considered 'tropipop' or 'Colombian pop' or something else."
Vives' five nominations are an emotional triumph after a "difficult comeback." He had not released an album on a major label in the nine years since his recording contract ran its course after the release of "El Rock de Mi Pueblo" in 2004.
"I felt I had been born again," he says about the moment he learned about the nominations, a pun on the title of his hit song "Volví a Nacer."
Vives didn't exactly waste time during those years. He kept writing songs for himself and for actors associated with the Bogota theater he co-owns with his brother.
He also released a locally distributed follow-up to his versions of vallenato classics "Clásicos de la Provincia," and he was behind a project of musical versions of the children's stories of Colombian poet Rafael Pombo."
"You never stop working in what you like, no?" says Vives, whose genre-crossing career is, to a great extent, a natural consequence of growing up in Colombia.
"The fact that our country is, in a way, a geographical midpoint, a crossroads, has led us to appreciate all types of music - and to learn to sing them," he says.
"So if I see a Cuban musician, I can connect with him in his own terms, but also with a musician from the Andes in the same way.
"If you think about it, with a Colombian musician you always get a very good deal - wherever you put him, he'll be able to jump in and play."