EXCLUSIVE: Carlos Vives shares the secret behind his nearly 40-year career, advice for new artists

ABC7 spoke with Grammy-winning Colombian singer on his four-decade career entertaining fans around the world with his Latin music

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ByLuz Pena via KGO logo
Sunday, October 16, 2022
EXCLUSIVE: Carlos Vives shares secret behind his 40-year music career
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ABC7 spoke with Grammy-winning Colombian singer Carlos Vives on his four-decade career entertaining fans around the world with his Latin music.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Colombian singer Carlos Vives has changed the sound of Latin music creating his own lane by merging Colombian vallenato with pop and rock & roll. We caught up with Carlos after his show in the Bay Area.

Luz Pena: "So many sold out shows in the U.S."

Carlos Vives: Yes, the tour is "Después de todo". Como se dice en ingles? (How do you translate that?)

Luz Pena: "After all"

Carlos Vives: "After all, Vives"

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Throughout his nearly 40 year career, Vives has taken his music to Latin America, Europe and the U.S winning the hearts of an international audience.

Carlos Vives: "My English is not very good looking."

Vives has won 12 Latin Grammys and 2 Grammy awards and sold more than 20 million albums worldwide with songs like "Volvi a nacer," "Fruta fresca and "La Bicicleta" with Shakira. If you watched Disney's Encanto then you've heard his music.

Carlos shared about his early days when he was trying to find his way and made.

Luz Pena: "La trayectoria de tu Carrera te ha llevado a tantos lugares del mundo," Tu que le dirias a ese Carlos que cantaba con los shorts rotos? (What would you say to that Carlos who used to sing with the signature ripped shorts?)

Carlos Vives: "Yo le digo. Carlos no dejes que te quiten los shorts cuando seas viejo" (Carlos, don't let them take your shorts when you get old. Don't let them.)

Que bueno que no eras tan soñador. Que bueno que miraste para tu tierra. Que bueno que no miraste para afuera. Para hacer lo que hiciste no miraste para afuera sino que miraste para adentro. Y eso fue lo que nos saca pa' fuera. Yo le diria a el. Que Bueno que eras un demente desprevenido. Que hacias las cosas porque te gustaban pero nunca previste que podias tener exito.

(It was good that you were not too much of a dreamer. It was good that you looked at your country. It was good that you didn't focused on what was out there. To do what you did, you didn't look outside but inside. That was what helped you succeed. I would tell him it was good that you were crazy and unaware. You did what you did because you liked it, and you didn't foresee that you could be successful.)

Luz Pena: "Tu sientes que le haz abierto las puertas a otros latinos para poder llegar a este lado de la industria?" (Do you feel like you have opened doors for other Latinos to be able to break through the industry?)

Carlos Vives: "Si yo creo que si. Lo que paso con nosotros. La epoca abrio muchas puertas a nuestra musica y a los artistas. Hicimos como un pop tropical. Cuando yo empienzo a cantar "Dejame entrar" y todas esas canciones y empiensan a aparacer nuevos artistas de la colombionidad como Fonseca. Empesaron a entender un poco ese pop tropical y ya hubo como todo un movimiento. A uno al final lo que le decia la industria en ese momento era que no lo veian."

(Yes, I think so. That era opened many doors for our music and artists. We did tropical-pop music. When I started singing "Dejame entrar" and all those type of songs then new artists appeared from Colombia like Fonseca. People began to understand tropical-pop music and there was a movement. Initially, the industry didn't see it.")

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Luz Pena: "Cual es tu mensaje a esos artistas nuevos que estan tratando de cambiar la manera que la musica suena. La manera que la musica se siente. "What is your message to those young artist that are trying to break through with new music like you did.")

Carlos Vives: "Tu lo dijiste ahorita. Que busquen originales. Creo que es lo que les va a dar mas felicidad. Tener algo de ellos y la razon por la que lo hagan." ( You said it earlier. I think they have to be original. I think that is going to bring the most happiness to them. To have something that they came up with and also the reason they do this.)

As a Colombian myself, I grew up dancing and singing to Carlos Vives' songs. If anything, he was the only artist played at home. So interviewing the world's greatest ambassador of Colombian folklore was "demaciado bacano" which translates to "extremely cool."

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