"Espectador" Magazine (Argentina-
Chayanne is the quintessential Latin heartthrob. He is successful in America, has sold four million records, become a star in Hollywood and he wants even more.
By Carlos Lauría (from New York)
By Carlos Lauría (from New York)
The explosion of Latin pop in USA has placed Elmer Figueroa Arce, known as Chayanne, among its main characters. The singer, who last March moved Argentina with a national tour that included a sold out concert at Boca, was born in Puerto Rico, on June 28th, 1968. The third son of five brothers and sisters began his musical career at the age of 10, with Los Chicos, a group similar to Ricky Martin´s Menudo , another Puerto Rican very popular in USA.
"Los Chicos" were very popluar, specially in Central America at the beginning of the 80´s . They recorded five albums, did the movie "Los Chicos, en conexión Caribe" and had a TV show; all these things gave Chayanne his first acting experience. By then, the future Latin star has already taken his artistic name because of his parents, who were fans of the TV Show: "Cheyenne", a western that aired on ABC.
At the age of 15, he left the group to be a soloist and, at that same time became a Puerto Rican soap operas´actor.
Although he started his career when he was very young, Chayanne says that he did not imagine an artistic career that would lead him to the show business world. "First I thought that everything was a game. My parents never thought that my facet as an artist would be my profession; but when I began as a soloist, I changed my mind. I realized that this profession needs effort and organization", Chayanne says to "El Espectador", during the promotion of his latest album "Atado a tu amor" at the Virgin Record Megastore, in Times Square, New York - where 3,000 fans were there to see him and police had to stop Brodway Avenue´s traffic for an hour.
But that was not all, the night before that day, Chayanne had been performing at the Madison Square Garden before 6,000 people.
Fifteen years of show
During 15 years of career, Chayanne has recorded eight albums, and sold four million records worldwide and in 1998 he was nominated as Best Latin Pop Performance for the Grammy Awards.
After a long career in the Latin-American market, having done the first Pepsi commercial in Spanish for the American TV in 1989 and having been chosen as one of the most beautiful men by People Magazine in 1993, Chayanne was really noticed with the movie "Dance with Me"- along with Vanessa Williams. That was the beginning of his success.
"To be the leading man of a movie in the "capital of films" was something absolutely important in my career", says the Puerto Rican artist. "It is a big challenge, a new experience full of movement and responsibilities".
He is away from sacandals and affair promotions, Chayanne always managed to have a low profile in what concerns to his private life. He is married to Marilisa Maronesse, has a son of 2 years old, Lorenzo Valentino, and lives in Key Biscayne, Miami.
He has always managed to keep that world private in a such a way, that during a long time nobody knew if he was single or not; many people thought that it was part of a marketing plan to not lose teen fans. "Absolutely not. I just try to protect my family", he replies.
Between music and movies
Question: How do movies relate to your musical career?
Answer: Music has been the light in my career and what gave me the biggest satisfactions in my life. I have been devoted to it all the time and I hope to join it with English acting. Both artistic careers are parallel. I have to recognize that my life is singing; however, I cannot deny that I can do both things in a near future. Movies have been something special- although performing live is not the same, the energy between the artist and audience produces a special feeling, that you cannot compare to anything. In what concerns to that, movies are colder.
Q: Is English an obstacle for you?
R:It is a new language for me, a different culture. For acting in DWM I had to work with a coach to practice the Cuban accent, but I had to practice English too and I keep on doing it because I realized that it is necessary if you want to be popular in USA.
Q: How was your first appearance in Hollywood?
A: I thought people would be cold and distant, but when I entered the DWM set, I changed my mind. Randa Haines, the director, is an excellent person and made me feel very good; she was always helping me and answered every question. The same happened with Vanessa Williams and Kris Kristofferson, who helped me with his experience. It was a nice group and I felt very good working with them. There was a nice atmosphere and good "chemistry". Obviously, I had a wrong preconcept.
Q: How important do you think you will be?
A: You never know that, but I want to be famous all around the world. I´m not going to stop until I get it. That implies devotion, time and work; I´m in that process right now. Movies have been a very important step and I´m satisfied. The more and better things I do, more opportunities I will have. I consider myself a very demanding person. I think it is good to be demanding with your team of work, because I give the best of me. It is good to be demanding, it is a great way of growing. My purpose is to be better every day.
Q: Why Hollywood has opened its doors to the Latin artists?
A: Latin artists have been noticed before by means of stars such as Raul Julia, Rita Moreno and Desi Arnaz, but the truth is that now there has been a real explosion. Antonio Banderas is the first Latin actor who played the role of "El Zorro" for example; Jennifer Lopez is doing great and Cameron Diaz is a star. When you think how many of us are here is remarkable.
Q: I insist why do you think it happens?
A: It has to do with the increasing number of Latin people in USA during the last decade. People adopt our habits and art demonstrations. Now, Spanish is spoken in every American big city. Latin music is being noticed and the same happens with movies. It is a cultural phenomenon.
To pay the price
Q: Do you feel that you have left something to be where you are?
A:Of course, for this career you have to pay a price, for me it was very difficult to leave my family in Puerto Rico. I remember that at 10 I said goodbye to my father telling him that I was going to Central America. Travelling is hard, very hard when you are a kid, but it happened naturally, it was not planned, it just happened; it was something that life gave me. At 15 I moved to Mexico because I had decided to do music. It was difficult for me to get used to the idea of being away from my family, although thinking about that I was doing what I wanted helped me. My parents always support me and that is essential. They just ask me something that now is a rule: to be together for Christmas. They have forbidden me to work from December 15th to January. I always come back to Puerto Rico for that time and to be able to spend holidays with my family.
Q: During a long time it was not known if you were single or married. Is that a way of protecting you private life?
A:I did it for protecting my privacy. There was no other reason, although some people talked about marketing and related it to the fact that being single would bring more fans. It has nothing to do with that; my wife and my son are essential in my life, I want to keep them out of my artistic life and I want to keep it that way·
Thanks to Analía for this article!
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