Gloria Estefan is one of the biggest artists in history. With multiple top-selling hits and albums under her belt, as well as roles in television and film including 'Glee', and writing credits for children's books and a cook book, it seems she's the woman who can do no wrong.
the studio's my happy place
We got the chance to speak to Gloria about her latest album 'The Standards', how she feels about music after so long in the industry and what we can expect from her in coming months.
Can you tell us a little bit about your latest album 'The Standards'?
But of course. It's a labour of love that I've been planning to do for decades but obviously you have to focus on your career first before you can cover someone elses. (laughs) So, I was waiting for the right musical idea and that came along with Shelly Berg one night at a trustee dinner for the University of Miami - I'm a trustee and an alumni - and he's the Dean of the School of Music. I sat at the piano with him to do 'Good Morning Heartache' - he asked me to sit in - and what he was playing really just gave me the entire idea for this album - it unfolded as I was singing the song with him - and I asked him if he was interested in doing it, he loved the idea and I poured over like 1,000 of 'The Standards'. The ones that jumped out at me - the list was 50 - so then I met with him and we actually played the songs and saw what fit the best, and I picked songs that were very personal to me so that I could bring something of myself, and he did an amazing job on all the arrangements and conducted the orchestra as well. We tried to do it musically economical - I wanted it to be a very intimate feeling and have a mood throughout. Something that you could put on either maybe cooking a meal or sharing some wine with a loved one - really to set a romantic mood and hopefully we achieved that. I love strings and we have a lot of very lush violin arrangements. We only used bigger sound when we thought it warranted it in the song, so we really tried to stay true to each thing.
How did you find that process of putting together the record?
You know what? That's my favourite process of all. I had to get used being on stage because I don't have the personality that likes being the centre of attention - believe it or not (laughs) - but when I joined the band it was such fun and I enjoyed more the rehearsals and the arranging of the things and then, when we got into the studios - the writing and the recording - the studio's my happy place so anytime that I'm preparing something creatively it's just so rich for me having that experience, and I truly enjoy it, it's probably my favourite part of everything.
You've had such a massive career to-date, do you still feel the same sense of excitement today releasing music after this long in the business?
Very much so. I would not do it if it were not the case because your fans can see through that a mile away. They can feel when your heart and soul is in something but honestly, for the amount of work that it takes, it would not be worthwhile to me just to do it as a job. It never has been, I've sang since I talked and I have a deep respect for music - the way it communicates and joins people throughout the world - so I would never do anything unless I felt that excitement.
Do you have any further plans to tour with the album?
We just did Royal Albert Hall last night - it was amazing, it was incredible, really really lovely and I'm gonna be doing a show in Basel, Switzerland. My last tour was in 2004 - I'm gonna do some Night of the Proms, which is four different artists and I headline 12 I think - or 14 of those shows - so that kind of thing I love. I did my last world tour in 2004 and that's probably the way it'll stay because, I toured for many, many years and we were out for a long time and life changes. We've got a lot more responsibilities on our plate, aside from the music we have seven restaurants and two hotels and we're very hands-on running all this. But I do love getting out there and being with the fans again and so I'll always do that here and there.
Well aside from music you're also an actress - is acting something you're going to continue to pursue?
I am. In fact I got a really, really great offer that I said yes to from Eva Longoria - I can't really talk about it right now - but it's gonna be such fun and again, acting is quite a craft. I really love doing it and imagine - my very first scene ever shot for film was one-on-one with Meryl Streep! (laughs) Which was a bit daunting! She was the nicest, most incredible person and a masterclass in acting just watching her do what she did, and I really love it. They've sent me many scripts but unless it's something that's gonna either forward my acting chops or is worthwhile, I'm not just gonna do anything because it also takes a lot of time and preperation. I loved being on 'Glee' because I'm a big 'Gleek' - love the show - it was a lot of fun to be Naya's mother. I would have hoped that we could do more - you never know - Ryan Murphy keeps things under wraps until the bitter end but I quite enjoyed that too.
You've also written two children's books and co-written a cook book - can we expect anymore books from you?
I actually want to complete that Noelle the bulldog series. I lost her this year, she was an amazing pet and really like a human that dog, and she left me a lot of inspiration. I was actually already working on the third book which is 'Noelle and Lulu', because Lulu my tiny chihuahua came in after, and she gave me this whole idea of a sibling rivalry, because I try to focus each book on some kind of moral or lesson and I try to make them very educational even though it's being told through entertainment which kids don't notice then. But even the 'Treasure Tale' book - all the details on those sea turtles and those galleons really did - everything really happened - I just take it to more fantasy. So I would love to do more in that series in her honour. They use it in schools in the United States in first and second grade - my mom was a teacher - so it was really a dream that it would happen that way and I get letters from school children all over the nation - they send fan letters to Noelle and it's really cute. I really love that and I did - I wrote every word of that book, both languages.
Do you have anything else you can share with us about what to expect from you in the next few months?
Well, I'm going to be in Europe for the Night of the Proms in Antwerp and Rotterdam, and I'm working on - as a matter of fact last night, the writer that wrote 'The Bodyguard' that's now in London on Broadway, is working on our life story, autobiographical and that's hopefully - we've been working on it for almost a year - we hope to have the book by January and I'm very excited about that. That creative process is so incredible that I'm enjoying every second, and we've been working on it over a decade just honing what story to tell and how to synthesise it, and use the music as part of the storyline and not like jukebox musicals. We're really trying to weave a story. He was here watching the performance of our age last night because he'd never seen me live. I'm very excited about that project.
'The Standards' is out now.
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