Jon Secada's New Dream
By John Hobbs
In the early '90s, long before we were livin' la vida loca or shaking our bon-bons, Jon Secada seduced us with his silky Latin grooves. With such hits as 'Just Another Day' and 'Angel,' Secada's tunes were all over the radio, earning him two Grammys and a loyal gay fan base. After a 10-year hiatus from English-language music, Secada returns with a new disc, Same Dream. He talks about his long-awaited return to English music airwaves, sharpening his musical skills on Broadway, and giving Celine a run for her money in Las Vegas.
Fans of your English-language music haven't seen a new album from you in several years. What can they expect from your new disc, Same Dream?
The CD reminds me a lot of my first disc. It's got the same flavor in relation to what I've done in my career and the way I got started, which is to maintain a fusion of, basically, pop, R&B, and the Latin element.
What's your favorite track?
That's always a tough question to answer. You know, I've cowritten 80 percent of this record, and in terms of what I did write, I've been living with it for a long time. Every song has a special place in my heart.
Spanish language music has exploded in the U.S. in the past decade. Were you able to imagine the trend picking up here to that extent?
I've always felt fortunate to be able to start the way I did in the early '90s as a crossover artist. I'm friends with everybody'Enrique [Iglesias], Ricky [Martin], and Marc [Anthony]. I am proud of all of my buddies because we all sort of started together in the same way.
Some of your fans will know that you have performed on Broadway in Grease and Cabaret, and that you had the starring role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. How do you compare studio recording and performing your own music to performing on Broadway?
There's really no comparison. Broadway is a lot of work'you have eight shows in a week. I loved it, though. I really grew so much, as an artist, especially during Cabaret. I could definitely see myself doing it again' If the right show came along, I would love to go back.
Charity work seems to be of great importance to you. Tell me about your charity work with music in schools and AIDS charities.
I feel a responsibility, as a Latino in the public eye, to be a good role model. At the beginning of my career, I was involved with charities with AIDS research. That was a huge part of the beginning of my career. Recently, I have been more attached to education. I've been a huge spokesperson for education, especially for the Latin community, and what education represents, and the arts especially. I am a spokesperson for NARAS [National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences], the Grammy foundation, for music in the schools. It's so important. I'm a product of the public school system, so I know what that means and represents.
You must realize that you have a gay following. When did you first become aware of your gay fans and how do you feel knowing you are adored by so many gays?
Absolutely, and I have embraced it. It's been a big part of my career since the beginning. I appreciate it a million percent.
I've read that there's a permanent Vegas gig in store for you in the future. Do you see yourself doing a Celine-type of show?
I definitely see myself in the years to come having more of a permanent show in Vegas. I love performing there and the kind of performing I do, it lends itself to that environment very much so I definitely see myself more and more attached to the Vegas environment.
What else would you like to be doing in the future?
You know, at this point, I am so committed to the CD. I am committed to promoting the CD. I'm very excited about it and we're going to keep working it. I am going to tour next summer. That's my next thing: to put a tour together.