The album Versiones by Peruvian singer-songwriter Gian Marco, who's won the Latin GRAMMY Award to the Best Singer-Songwriter Album three times, is up for the Latin GRAMMY in the category of Best Album of the Year.
Gian Marco has written songs for Marc Anthony, Pandora, Jon Secada, Emmanuel, Alejandro Fernández and Gloria Estefan, among several others. He’s a legitimate composer, but a singer as well. And although he has the gift of being both, the humble Gian Marco simply classifies himself as a musician.
Recently, the Peruvian’s most recent album production, Versiones, was nominated for Album of the Year in next month’s Latin GRAMMY Awards in Las Vegas. Surprisingly, in Versiones (which was recorded in Los Angeles), for the first time in his role as a singer, Gian Marco presents unique and renewed versions of songs that have marked both his own life and the history of music throughout time.
Versiones sports 14 tracks, which are sung in 3 languages: English, Spanish and Portuguese.
In an interview for Living Out Loud, the 43-year-old Gian Marco discussed several subjects: Versiones, how his songs are composed, and whom he would like to write a song for, among other things.
Living Out Loud: What are you involved in at this time, and what are you promoting?
Gian Marco: I am currently promoting my latest album, called Versiones. It was nominated for a Latin Grammy this year for Album of the Year. It gives me great pleasure to continue to participate in these type of events that give me the opportunity to continue to share my work. As a composer, I’ve just finished writing for Pandora’s new album, as well as OV7’s new album. Versiones is an album that I love very much and has brought me much happiness. It’s produced by Arturo Sandoval, and contains 14 songs with a very interesting Hispanic-American repertoire. It also contains an English version of Agustin Lara’s “Amor De Mis Amores,” as well as a Portuguese version of “Corcovado.” I’m just so happy to continue doing music as always.
LOL: While on this promotional tour, when will you be performing in California?
GM: Well, I hope to be able to perform there with the band soon. It’s not the show I normally present. As you know, I perform with a big band, so at the first opportunity we have to perform in California, we’ll be there, and we’ll present Versiones. We’ve already been to California in the past and performed at several venues.
LOL: What country or countries do you feel your career has developed the most?
GM: Well, definitely in Peru. I’m Peruvian, and I’m based in Lima. However, I feel that in the past 6 years, Mexico has given me a tremendous opportunity not only as a singer, but as a composer. The Mexican public has loved my work, and Mexican artists sing my songs. Also, Colombia, which I carry close to my heart, and in which God has also given me the opportunity to reach many people. Also, I lived here in the U.S. for a while, from 2000-2005. I lived in Florida and had the opportunity to have a career here.
LOL: It’s known you’re the son of great artists. Were they influential in your decision to become an artist yourself?
GM: Honestly, yes and although they didn’t make me or pressure me to become an artist, I was exposed to it in my day-to-day life while growing up. Once I got older, I decided to pursue it seriously and study. Now, I have the opportunity to pursue something I love dearly. But yes, my parents were a great influence.
LOL: You were discovered at the now defunct OTI Festival, which served as a platform to launch great talents who could really sing and had a deep love for the music. What’s your take on how artists are discovered nowadays and how their careers are launched?
GM: You’re talking about a festival I won many years ago, in 1993. What can I say? Nowadays, all the festivals are aired on TV, reality shows have surged, and I think it’s great that new voices can be discovered this way. Personally, I always try to participate in events that yield that opportunity, like the Latin GRAMMYs, where I can showcase my work. God willing, we’ll be able to make it this November and participate with all my colleagues at that gathering of the music industry. I’m nominated for an important category in Album of the Year, so we want to take advantage of these opportunities that this career gives us so we can take the music around the world.
LOL: How would you define yourself? Would you consider yourself more of a singer or a composer?
GM: I’m a singer-songwriter. I love my songs, but I don’t like to label what I do in my career or give it an adjective. I’m simply a musician, a person who enjoys what he does greatly, whether it is writing songs for others or singing them myself.
LOL: What’s your formula for composing songs? Are you they type of person who just jots down ideas whenever and wherever they come, or do you like to take time and focus on it at a specific place?
GM: It depends. I don’t think there’s a formula, per se. A song can come to you at any given time, and you need to have the ability to retain it and write it at a different time. I’m not one to need time alone or need to seclude myself to compose. Thanks to God I have that gift, and the songs I have done are generally from an earlier idea and I compose them at the studio in a very tranquil environment. A song can come to you at any given moment.
LOL: What’s the process like when an artist writes songs? Do you search for it or do the songs come to you?
GM: It’s a process. For me, it’s easier to write for others than it is it to write for myself. When you write for someone else, it’s as if you already have a map drawn out for you. Some request songs about a specific theme, others just wait for my suggestions. In other words, there’s no specific formula for that. Generally, when they call me, I send them songs that I think will suit that particular artist who’s making the request. I’m not the only one who follows this process. There are many composers who do the same thing I do and when an artist chooses one off your songs, it makes you feel well-praised that you are considered amongst all these other great composers.
LOL: Which artist will be recording your songs in the upcoming future?
GM: Well, I have two of my songs in Pandora’s upcoming album, and two new songs in OV7’s new album as well. Manuel Mijares is coming out with a new album, and it’s my good fortune that most of the songs in the album are mine. I’ve also just finished participating in Franco de Vita’s new DVD titled Primera Fila in a song titled “A Medio Vivir,” which he wrote. I’ve just received a call from Spain to participate in Rossana’s new album and I still participate in events, performing at concerts, and taking my music wherever possible.
LOL: Is there an artist who hasn’t sampled your work whom you wish would work with you?
GM: Well for me, one of the voices I would love to sing my music is Luis Miguel’s. It would be an absolute honor.