Since making her international breakthrough by reinterpreting the Agustin Lara classic “Piensa En Mí” (Think About Me) in Pedro Almodóvar’s 1991 movie “Tacones Lejanos” (High Heels), Casal has continued to gain the attention of audiences around the world with her unique voice and beautiful songs.
On her newest album Casal worked with French producer Renaud Letang, who previously made remixes for Björk and worked with such stars as Jane Birkin and Manu Chao.
After Casal released her latest album, she was admitted into the Order of Arts and Letters in France.
In an interview with Today’s Zaman, Casal speaks about her career, her ongoing world tour and her latest album, “La Pasion.” Casal says she plans to visit Turkey with Pasion Turca, the artist management company who represents her in Turkey, and she has already started her world tour accompanied by a live band.
In 1995, your album “Como La Flor Prometida” (Like the Promised Flower) became the most successful album of your career to date, selling more than 800,000 copies. What was the magic of this album?
In general, I think successful record sales are due to the success of one song or more; in addition, other aspects like image, fashion, etc., are also important in sales. Actually, it is a mystery to me, the fact that one of my records is more recognized than the others.
Can we say that you were more into pop music at the beginning of your career?
I was more into pop during the beginning of my career because the pop-rock Anglo-Saxon influence was very strong. Step by step, I tried to open my ears to other kinds of music and other songs in different languages.
Your latest album, “La Pasion,” has more of a Latin American flavor. How would you describe the music in your latest album?
This record is a tribute to one style only -- bolero -- from very strong popular roots that belong to Hispanic American culture. It has been a great challenge for me.
You worked with French producer Renaud Letang. How did he influence your style?
Renaud and music arranger Eumir Deodato have encouraged me a lot. This record needed professionals known for this kind of music who were able to reflect the spirit and the environment that these songs needed. I have enjoyed working with everyone who took part in recording “La Pasion,” a very different and exceptional album.
I saw the name Jean-Baptiste Mondino, the legendary fashion photographer, on the cover of your latest album. How did you get together with Mondino?
For the record it is important to have links between images, typography, colors, etc. Choosing Mondino was a clear decision since his photography is brilliant. After listening to the record in the recording studio, he immediately decided to be involved in the project.
You have won many awards with your songs “Mi Confianza” and “Soy.” Do you feel as though some of your other songs are as special although they didn’t receive any awards?
When I write lyrics or compose a song, what I am doing is sharing intimate aspects of my life. … It is necessary for me to express myself. So, it is nice to be successful, and it’s nice to receive awards. But what I care about is expressing myself.
In November 2009, you were named officer of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture. Why do you think you have received this recognition, particularly in France?
It is still a mystery all of the things that have been happening to me in France since 1992. Each time I perform a concert or perform on a radio or TV show, I feel great empathy.
You are also planning to visit Turkey. What do you know about İstanbul?
Its architecture, its cultural importance for many centuries and many things about its literature.
Famous jazz label Blue Note is going to release your album “La Pasion” in the US. Do you have any plans for America?
The first thing I will do in March is an acoustic concert in New York City to launch the album.
You performed with Spanish flamenco and jazz singer Buika on one of her songs. Do you have any plans to collaborate on upcoming albums or tours?
No, but I may collaborate with a famous French quartet called Quatuor Ebene on an upcoming album. Also in the next couple of months the Spanish rock band Leno is going to launch their new album, and I collaborated with them on one of their songs.