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New York Daily News

No Fooling Around, Elvis Crespo's Back


April 29, 2004
Copyright © 2004 Bell & Howell Information and Learning Company. All rights reserved.

Not counting a recent court appearance, Latin music fans haven't had many Elvis sightings lately.

Merengue singer Elvis Crespo has been pretty much out of the public eye while working on his first album in two years.

But that's about to change.

Crespo, who'll be at Rincon Musical in the Bronx on Wednesday signing his new CD, "Saboralo ("Savor It"), is in the spotlight with a new No. 1 hit, a new sound - and what he says is a newfound maturity after a paternity scandal almost ruined his 12-year marriage.

Actually, make that three paternity scandals.

Maybe Crespo has yet to match Marc Anthony's crossover success, but Crespo's sure got his colleague beat when it come to extramarital entertainment.

In the past three years, Crespo has fathered a trio of kids with three women, including his former personal assistant. The messy, highly publicized affairs brought Crespo to the brink of a divorce, although he and his wife, Ana Cuerto, who have a son, have since reconciled.

Crespo's serial seminating activity almost brought his career to a halt, says the 33-year-old singer, who won a Grammy for Best Merengue Performance in 1999 for "Pintame."

"My problems took away my energy and my focus, and I think my music suffered a little with this crisis," he says. "People think artists don't have the same problems, or that we aren't vulnerable. But we are human, and we are vulnerable to making mistakes."

The Bronx-born, Puerto Rico-reared singer was in a San Juan court just this week battling one of the mothers over child-support payments. But Crespo - who got a vasectomy after the scandals broke - insists he has no regrets.

"I look at what happened as part of my growth as an individual," says Crespo.

"I learned from it. Now I am focused again, and I am in love with my career and my family, and I am with my wife only."

Crespo, who blames his indiscretions as "part of youth," says he did plenty of soul-searching, including a period last year when he moved into the basement of his father's home in Brooklyn.

"I spent the time reading, playing the guitar and composing," says Crespo. "It was a very beneficial time for me."

The time away also helped him work on his music. "I experimented with a new sound," says Crespo of "Saboralo," which will be in stores Tuesday.

"It's a new concept for merengue, in that I added trombones and guitar and other instruments to give it more of a 'pop' sound."

With the CD's first single, "Hora Enamorada," at No. 1 on Billboard's Latin chart, Crespo says his personal and professional problems are far behind him.

"I'm very happy with this new phase of my life," he says. "The things that have happened have made me very thankful for the moment I am living in now."

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