Gloria Estefan on Her New Joyous, Brazil-Inspired Album
This summer is shaping up to be an unusual one, but there's at least one thing to look forward to — new Gloria Estefan music. The Cuban American icon is prepping Brazil305, her first studio album in seven years, as well as a documentary due out in October. "I wanted to bring a bit of joy and love to the world we're living in right now," she tells People en Español about "Cuando Hay Amor," her new single. "We needed to release something at this moment that brought joy, love — that put a balance in all the darkness we are living now."
"Cuando Hay Amor," like the rest of Brazil305, finds Estefan mining Brazilian genres like samba and bossa nova for inspiration, both for new songs and reinterpretations of hits like "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You." She says she has loved Brazilian music since she was a child, and when she was the vocalist for Miami Sound Machine, she had the band learn iconic Brazilian songs like "The Girl From Ipanema." In 1982, the band released the album Rio — which featured Gloria putting her spin on Brazilian classics — so Brazil305, due out August 13, closes the circle. "It's a celebration of my songs, [the hits] that people have known throughout the years, but recorded completely in Brazil with Brazilian musicians and producers, as a way to show that the African roots we have in Cuban music and Brazilian music unite us," she explains.
During the month she spent recording in Brazil, Estefan also filmed a documentary that explores the origins of samba. "Alcione is like the Celia Cruz of Brazil and I was able to interview her," she says about the legendary samba singer. "It was a very enriching experience. Carlinhos Brown invited me to the favela where he grew up and that he has now transformed, creating a free music school for children. It was a magical experience for me."
Estefan, 62, also expressed her support for the Black Lives Matter protests that have been happening around the world. "I really admire all the youth, all those people, that took a great risk in going [to the protests] and making their voices heard during a really important moment to show unity in humankind, to show that we are all one, that what happens to one person affects us all," she says. The singer was part of the #BlackoutTuesday campaign on social media, and has been vocal on Instagram with posts demanding justice for George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery.
Now is the time to speak up, Estefan recognizes. "Silence is the biggest danger we have in the world. There will always be people who do bad, but if everyone else stays quiet when something bad happens that's a grave danger, because that evil continues to flourish and grow and take control," she says. "It fills me with hope seeing young people saying, 'No, enough.' These are important times and we have to take advantage of that to be able to advance spiritually, and as humankind, and to continue showing that we are all one."
Watch "Cuando Hay Amor" below.