A Conversation with Jon Secada
HULICK: I was driving to work this morning and the temperature was 12 degrees.
SECADA: Oh boy!
HULICK: Then I started thinking, I get to talk to Jon Secada today, and suddenly my world was 80 degrees and sunny!
SECADA: (laughs) It’s actually cold in Miami today.
HULICK: You’ve had a strange winter in Florida, weather wise.
SECADA: Yes. Winter is lasting a little while, but it’s all good. When it gets into the 50s, it’s a cold wave that we can handle. I love South Florida in the winter; it’s usually very nice.
HULICK: How were your holidays?
SECADA: Good…good. I got back from South America in December from my fourth year as a judge on Latin American Idol. Now I’m getting ready for all these projects I have going on this year. I have a new CD, “Classics,” which has just been released, and a pop Spanish CD that’s coming out later on this year. I’m doing shows in Brazil, the U.S. and Europe. So it’s going to be another busy year.
HULICK: I love the new CD! Why did you choose to record “Classics”?
SECADA: I always wanted to do a CD like this, with songs I grew up listening to in both English and Spanish. Songs that are just timeless, iconic songs, that were very significant in both languages, songs I’ve known all my life. So I was glad the opportunity came along.
HULICK: You have 12 amazing tracks on this CD. How many songs did you have before you started narrowing it down, and is there a chance for a “Classics II” in the future?
SECADA: I would love it! There were so many to choose from that it was hard to decide which ones I would do first. But I like this first one, because this particular bunch fit really well with songs that were known in both English and Spanish. And that’s what I wanted to do with the CD, make sure they were songs that had a reference in both languages.
HULICK: It’s been released in both an English version as well as a Spanish one.
HULICK: What I found interesting is that several of the songs on the CD are still being performed today in concert. Tony Orlando does “Spanish Harlem,” which is from the Broadway hit musical “Smokey Joe’s Café”; and Engelbert Humperdinck does “Cuando Cuando,” “My Way” and “Spanish Eyes.” I have to say that your arrangements of the songs are terrific! You can certainly hear the Secada magic throughout the whole CD.
SECADA: Thank you so much.
HULICK: You recorded with a full orchestra this time. How was that experience?
SECADA: Amazing! We did it in Nashville. It was a tremendous session. We had a fun time putting this together and everyone did a wonderful job.
HULICK: You worked with Frank Sinatra when you did a duet with him for his “Duets II” CD, and you’ve said that “My Way” is very special to you because you wanted to pay homage to Frank. Is there another song that is a favorite of yours?
SECADA: Yes, “Before the Next Teardrop Falls.” That song has not been covered a lot. It’s a song that was a staple for Freddy Fender, who was a pioneer with the cross-over element, especially as a Mexican-American in the country music world. In many ways I did it as a tribute to him.
HULICK: I actually have the old 45 of that.
HULICK: What song is your favorite to do live?
SECADA: Good question. I love doing “What a Difference a Day Makes.” I love that one because it’s probably one of the jazziest arrangements on the CD.
HULICK: I noticed different Latin beats throughout the CD. Did I hear a bossa nova beat?
SECADA: Yes. There’s a little bit of everything in there, a bit of salsa on “Que Sera, Sera,” a lot of light touches of Latin rhythms.
HULICK: This is the first time I’ve heard a male record “Que Sera, Sera,” which was really unique. I love it.
SECADA: (laughs) Yes. Thank you. It was fun to do that one.
HULICK: You will be making a stop here in Buffalo on May 2, at the UB Center for the Arts. The show is a benefit as part of the Ronald McDonald House of Buffalo Concert Series. Will we get to hear some of “Classics”?
SECADA: Yes, absolutely. I’m looking forward to it.
HULICK: You played there a few years ago with more of an acoustic kind of show.
SECADA: Yes, for a radio station. HULCIK: What can we expect this time around?
SECADA: It will be my pop show with maybe a medley of songs from “Classics,” and featuring my hits over the years.
HULICK: You mentioned earlier that you have finished your fourth season as a judge on “Latin American Idol.” Will you be doing a fifth?
SECADA: Maybe. I’ll have to see if I can work it into my schedule this year because I have so much going on. My contract was up with the show last year, so we’ll see what happens.
HULICK: Your kids are getting older. What do they think about dad being a judge on the show?
SECADA: They love it! They’ve enjoyed it. Especially because they’ve seen the show here in the States, and when they see it in Spanish they already have a point of reference. So when they see me do my stuff in Spanish they can relate (laughs).
HULICK: (Laughs) That must be so exciting for them. It’s an iconic show for younger ages.
SECADA: Yes, that’s true.
HULICK: You are one of the hardest and busiest working people in the business, and when we talked last October you were talking about all your projects that you were in the middle of. Now this year, with the release of the “Classics” CD and the tour, it seems like it’s lining up to be another crazy year.
SECADA: Yes, another busy year. But I love it and I love the fact that I can kind of change hats and do different things. I’ve always enjoyed that.
HULICK: I know I asked you before what you like to do on your down time, and you said spending time with the family. Do you want to change that answer to maybe…sleep?
SECADA: (Laughs). That’s true. Sleeping is definitely a luxury. When I’m home it is full steam ahead with activities with the kids and school; just being a dad.
HULICK: I can’t imagine there is anything left for you to do, but is there something left you want to add to your list of credentials?
SECADA: I love it when an opportunity comes up for me to record something different like “Classics.” So, we’ll see. Going back to the Latin pop market is something I’ve wanted to do and that will be a change of hats for me. I haven’t done a Spanish CD in a long time, so I’m looking forward to that.