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Arizona Daily Star

Chayanne A Detail-Oriented Pop Star

BY Gerald M. Gay

April 16, 2004
Copyright © 2004 Bell & Howell Information and Learning Company. All rights reserved.

Despite Latin pop star Chayanne's 25 years in the music industry, performing in venues around the world, the singer still admits he gets butterflies when it comes time to take the stage.

"When I'm going to start the show, I'm very nervous," said Chayanne, 35, in a phone interview last month from Buenos Aires, Argentina. "I think and I hope nothing wrong happens. When you are out there, you don't have anything to think about except those songs and your fans."

But Puerto Rico-born Chayanne - whose real name is Elmer Figueroa - doesn't let his showtime jitters hinder his performance or alter his career path.

On stage, he says he uses the audience as a beacon, guiding him through the show like a lighthouse guiding a ship to port.

"I see the audience like a mirror," Chayanne said. "Depending on their reaction is how I continue. When they sing and dance and participate and enjoy the show is when I feel like, 'OK! I'm doing good!' "

The performer also makes sure every last detail of his elaborate performances - like the one coming to Casino del Sol's AVA Thursday - is in good shape and ready to go.

"It's crazy and a lot of work," he said with a laugh. "I have a team working, but I'm always on top of everything. You have the dancers and the band; when you change your clothes and when you change your mic.

"People enjoy it and it looks like it takes no effort, but it's a lot of coordination."

Off the stage, Chayanne puts almost as much effort into producing the music. His 2003 album, "Sincero" on Sony Discos, required countless hours of the singer's time, both behind the mic and behind the scenes. Aside from "Sincero" being a track on the album, Chayanne said he chose the title because of the work that he and his production crew put into the release.

"The way we were working in the studio and how we put the album together was very fresh and very good," he said. "I said everything is sincere and beautiful. That is why we called the album 'Sincero.' We all felt it."

For his years of hard work, the singer has certainly experienced the spoils. All 11 of his releases have received either international gold or platinum status. He has received Grammy nominations for his albums "Atado A Tu Amor" (1998) and "Chayanne" (1989). In 1993, Chayanne was among People magazine's 50 most beautiful people.

Chayanne has even dabbled in acting in movies and on television. He played a Cuban immigrant born to dance opposite Vanessa Williams in the 1998 film "Dance With Me." On the TV dramedy "Ally McBeal," he cameoed as a (you guessed it) dance instructor-turned-defendant in a few episodes.

The musician has no plans to give up his day job, however. He believes his first love has been and always will be his music.

"Music always puts my acting world in the shadows," Chayanne said. "I can't develop a career because doing both is so intensive. It would be hard to focus on both.

"I have so much respect for my fans and my music. I want to put as much time into it as possible."

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