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South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Fonsi's Latest CD All Sugary Pop, A Little Salsa

by David Cazares

March 15, 2002
Copyright © 2002
South Florida Sun-Sentinel. All Rights Reserved.

After a few years as a budding talent, Latin pop singer Luis Fonsi appears poised to become a star.

The bilingual Fonsi has just released a new Spanish-language album, Amor Secreto (Secret Love) on Universal Music Latino and in June will follow with an English-language CD on MCA.

For the 23-year-old Fonsi, who was born in Puerto Rico but moved to Orlando at age 10, the double take comes naturally, since he grew up listening to the music of Stevie Wonder and Luis Miguel.

"I don't feel like I'm really crossing anything," the singer said in a recent interview. "I'm just doing what I've always done."

The singer has won recognition for the duet Si No Te Hubiera Conocido (If I Hadn't Met You) with Christina Aguilera on her Spanish-language CD, Mi Reflejo (My Reflection), and also recorded a duet in Spanish with Jaci Velasquez.

Though Fonsi's first two albums, Comenzaré (I Will Begin) in 1998 and Eterno (Eternal) in 2000, were well-received, his latest efforts likely will establish him in the pop world, where his ability to deliver the sugary formulas of boy bands will capture audiences hungry for such sounds.

Amor Secreto was recorded in Miami, Los Angeles, New York and Stockholm, largely under the direction of acclaimed producer Rudy Perez, who helped make Aguilera a household name. The recording shows Fonsi's talent for delivering pop ballads and up-tempo numbers with touches of r&b and a hint of salsa.

Anyone looking for the sound of a band, however, will be disappointed, as Fonsi and his handlers stick to the unfortunately prevalent pop formula of recording vocals to a skeleton synthesized track before adding other elements. Though the tracks sometimes lean a little toward salsa or rock, there is little or no experimentation with acoustic or folkloric sounds.

Nevertheless, Fonsi's sound is interesting enough, and fresh enough, to attract fans, which is what he cares about.

"It's a very light [Latin] flavor that only Luis Fonsi can do," the singer said. "It's just regular music that comes from the heart and makes you feel good."

Up next is the English-language album, which will feature English versions of six of the songs on Amor Secreto and some new tracks.

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