Crooner returns to roots with new telenovela on Univision
Chayanne, known for singing teeny-bopper love songs in Spanish, has been
highly visible in the American media of late. He did a nearly-nude spread
in Playgirl last month, was linked to model Cindy Crawford on the cover
of the National Enquirer last year, appeared on ``Live with Regis and
Kathie Lee,'' and stared seductively from a soapy shower in People magazine's
The 50 Most Beautiful People in the World 1993 issue.
But Chayanne, 26, has returned to his roots with his fifth telenovela:
``Volver A Empezar'' (``Begin Again''), which began Sept. 19 in the United
States on Univision. The TV show is broadcast nightly from 7 to 8 p.m.
ET. Chayanne plays himself, as does his co-star, female pop vocalist
Yuri. Quite a stretch, huh?
``I'm not playing a veterinarian or anything like that,'' he says from
his Miami home. ``That wouldn't be very believable. It's a modern soap
opera that revolves around Yuri and myself and the friends and people
that surround us behind the artistic scenes. It's very much set in real
Taping began in July, with 40 episodes filmed in Miami, the Everglades,
Mexico, Jamaica and other locales. The soap has been broadcast in Mexico
``Volver A Empezar'' is old hat for Chayanne, whose first telenovela,
``Pobre Juventud,'' aired in 1986. The Playgirl pictorial was another
story, though not a surprising one, considering the People shot and the
success of 1992's ``Provocame'' (``Provoke Me''). That CD had Chayanne
staring suggestively from its cover and featured mature tunes like the
title cut and the steamy ``Exxtasis''.
Chayanne says Playgirl contacted him after the People issue hit the stands
in May 1993.
``They asked me if I would pose naked for them, and I said no,'' he says.
``I have never needed to do that and don't feel as though I should start
doing that now. Then they offered an interview and photo shoot in natural
settings like the beach and sports.''
Of course, not everyone was happy Chayanne kept his pants on.
``Women have asked me why didn't I take it all off, and I said, `It just
leaves more to the imagination.'''
Fans will be hearing plenty from Chayanne, though. Up next is another
Spanish-language album, the follow-up to ``Provocame'', and a much-talked-about
``I have to do things slowly,'' says Chayanne, who splits time between
Miami and his native Puerto Rico. ``I am learning to speak English; I've
been learning for a while now. It's difficult because I'm not in a city
where the main language is English. Everywhere I am, there is a Latin
community, and I end up speaking Spanish more frequently. But the English
album should be for next year. It will happen.''
That record could set the stage for Chayanne's next move: English-language
films. His second feature, ``Linda Sara'' (``Pretty Sara''), opens in
December in Puerto Rico. It's bound to be a step up from his first flick,
an early '80s teen adventure called ``Los Chicos En Conexion Caribe'',
in which he starred
as part of the Menudo-style group Los Chicos. He left that band in 1983
for a solo career, inaugurated with 1984's ``Chayanne Es Mi Nombre'' (``Chayanne
Is My Name'') album.
``All artists need to expand what they have if they want to survive in
this business,'' he says. ``The person who is a nonconformist, who fights
to get ahead, succeeds.''
Was that National Enquirer mug part of the plan? Chayanne says he met
Crawford at a benefit last year in New York. They posed for a few photos
together; one ended up on the cover of the Enquirer, hinting at a romantic
rendezvous. He denies it, of course, saying he would never get involved
with a married woman.
``You have to take the good with the bad, though. I guess you've arrived
when you're on the cover of the Enquirer.''
Contributed by Chayfan Melanie