Fonseca: The Love Whisperer
By: Ellen Flores
When it pertains to the subject of love, in any of its phases, Hispanic men seem to have a sixth sense that gives them a unique insight into the matter (and an innate ability to win our hearts!) Have you ever noticed that some of the best ballads are composed and interpreted by men? Think of a song that gets you directly in the heart and knocks your senses, odds are, it is a Latino singing the words. From Camilo Sesto to Luis Miguel, Mijares to Franco De Vita, music being the lifeline that it is for so many Latinos, its only natural that our favorite songs are those that connect directly to our heart.
Cuando de letras de amor y el corazón se trata (when it comes to love songs), Juan Fernando Fonseca-better known as Fonseca-is no stranger to the subject. Proudly Colombian, Fonseca has crafted a career that blends deeply inspired lyrics centered around life lessons and nuances that relate to love. His sound is spiced and seasoned with Caribbean-Colombian rhythms that go from fiesta dancing to serenata wooing from one track to the next.
As a child, Fonseca was always musically inclined; at the age of twelve he recorded his first song and made copies to distribute to family and friends. The desire to continue in music never went away and he continued to pursue his passion by attending the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. At Berklee, he honed in on his sound and received the knowledge and tools that would later on help him navigate his way through what would turn into a Grammy Award winning music career. After graduating from college, Fonseca recorded a solo album in 1997 which he titled “Bomba”. Only 500 copies were made and Fonseca himself sold most of them by going house to house, door to door and distributing them at dive bar shows. At these shows he would promote the CD and use his networking skills to gather contacts and get his music heard. The determination and persistence paid off in 2002 when he signed a record deal and released his first self-titled album. “Fonseca” made a mark in the Colombian tropical market marketed as “tropipop”, a style embraced by Colombian music master, Carlos Vives. Fellow Colombian artists like Shakira and Juanes recognized Fonseca’s talent and gave him opportunities for collaborations that would expose him to a greater audience.
Using the momentum from his first album, Fonseca went back to the studio to record and produce what would become his first chart topping and mass success album “Corazón” (2006). This album topped the charts with “Como Me Mira”, “Hace Tiempo” and “Te Mando Flores”, which is his most successful single to date and the one that earned him his first Latin Grammy Award for Mejor Canción Tropical. Having received accolades from both fans and critics, Fonseca managed to establish himself as a force in the Tropical genre and went on to record his next album “Gratitud” (2008). He then embarked on Gigantour, an international tour that went across 25 countries (and 16 cities in the U.S.) including his first visit to Europe and China. “Gratitud” marked the release of staple tracks like “Arroyito”, and “Estar Cerca De Ti” in which he collaborated with singer, producer, trombonist and legendary La Fania collaborator, Willie Colón. For Fonseca, having the opportunity to collaborate with Willie (one of the founding members of the tropical music movement throughout Latin America and the United States), was a huge milestone in his career.
When Fonseca isn’t writing, performing or producing music, he works closely with philanthropic entities. Canta Conmigo was a project created by the Colombian Presidential Council of Reintegration that focused on helping ex-guerilla and paramilitary members be reinserted into society. The purpose of the project was gather men and women with musical talent to record and release an album and show that music could be used as a therapeutic and useful tool to promote peaceful change. Fonseca also worked closely with the United Nations in their project “Ya No Más Violencia Contra Las Mujeres” where he performed at the concert in the Plaza de la Consitutción in Guatemala. Recently, he joined forces with Juanes to form part of the campaign “Soñar Es Un Derecho” which advocates against the recruitment of minors by illegal groups.
Returning to what he does best Fonseca released “Ilusión” (2011), which has become a five-time platinum selling album in less than four months, a new achievement in his career. “Ilusión” solidifies Fonseca’s calling to be the love whisperer with thirteen tracks that go from falling in love, lust, moving on, keeping the magic alive and ultimately, celebrating the power of love. With melodies that range from cumbia to more rock heavy sounds, this album is a refreshing take on his signature combinations of heart driven lyrics and Latin rooted beats. “Eres Mi Sueño” is a standout example of this blend and its exactly why it was chosen as the opening performance of the 2012 Latin Grammys, marking Fonseca’s return to the stage. On Wednesday, April 17, Fonseca will return to D.C. to perform at The Howard Theatre as part of his Ilusión World Tour. To see Fonseca live is to see him shine at his best. This will be a night full of dancing, passion and above all, love! Tickets are available now at Ticketmaster.com.