In addition to your singing career, you’ve also had a side profession writing songs for the likes of Ricky Martin, J-Lo, and even Mandy Moore. What have those experiences added to your career?
I’ll always consider myself a songwriter and musician first. For years, that’s what I did primarily; and it opened doors for me to be an artist, and so many other things I’ve done since — theatre, television. It all started with the studio work.
When you first came out, you were marketed as an adult-contemporary artist. As your career has evolved, you’ve been noted for a more upbeat, danceable sound. I personally started noticing that with your Better Part of Me album in 2000. Have you made a conscious approach to shift your musical direction?
For me, it begins with wanting to connect with pop radio. That’s my main thing, and that’s what I wanted to do with this particular record. Doing it in Spanish helped me to produce a record that sounded very young which I feel my fans can identify with. I grew up listening to pop singer-songwriters on the radio. That’s been my focus as an artist: material that I know, God willing, can be on the radio for a long time.
Let’s talk about some of the songs on Otra Vez, starting with “Un Sueno Nada Mas.”
I wrote that with Drago, whom I hadn’t worked with before, along with one of my longtime producers, Randy Barlow. Randy has a hand in just about every song on the CD. “Sueno” is a pop song that came up through conversations hangin’ out, tryin’ to put what we thought was a good idea melodically with a good lyric and expand on it. The storyline of the song is the connection that you have with somebody when, at the same time, there’s a missing element in the relationship. You can’t live without this person, and you want them in your life; but there’s an element that’s still just a dream before the relationship is completely there.
How about “Para Olvidar”?
Jose Gavidia is the writer of that one. I love that ballad. I fell in love with it when he first played it for me three years ago. It’s basically asking, “How do you live with somebody when she’s not really there?” You’ve just gotta forget about her completely.