"Despacito" has been a viral musical phenomenon that has not stopped playing across the world. Shortly after it's release, this contagious song set off unprecedented success: it was the first song sung in Spanish to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in more than 21 years; it also became the most watched video in YouTube's history, with more than three billion views; on Spotify, it has four million daily streams, and already has 1.2 billion streams since it came out. The song has also been a big hit on iTunes in 96 markets and, in terms of sales, it went diamond in a dozen countries, and platinum in almost all others. But long before Despacito became the most watched video in the world, gaining success even in countries that don't speak Spanish, like Indonesia or Israel, it's creator Luis Fonsi was already an international idol who sold millions of CDs, has sold out concerts, and has recorded with stars like Juan Luis Guerra and Laura Pausini, just to name a few. Since the release of his first album in 1998, called Comenzaré, Fonsi has drawn a lot of attention with his vocal power and ability to perform, achieving the unimaginable: getting his first gold album with his debut CD. In 2008, with his sixth album, Palabras del Silencio, Fonsi broke sales records in the United States and Latin America, making him a bona fide mega star, thanks to songs like "No me doy por vencido," which led to him making appearances in Pepsi commercials and the Olympic Games. Additional hits included "Llueve por dentro" and "Aquí estoy yo," featuring David Bisbal, Aleks Syntek, and Noel Schajris (Sin Bandera). The latter earned him his first GRAMMY nomination. Additionally, throughout his career, he has collected countless awards, such as: The Latin Grammy's, Billboard Awards, Lo Nuestro Awards, Heat Awards, ASCAP Awards, and the highest awards given to an artist at the Viña del Mar Festival. In 2014, he released his eighth album called "8," which Fonsi recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London with producer Martin Terefe, who is responsible for some of the greatest productions in the world, with the likes of Jason Mraz and James Morrison. Taking these things into account, it's not surprising that he debuted at number one in nine countries with these three songs: "Corazón en la Maleta," "Llegaste Tú," and "Que Quieres de Mi." Additionally, it's important to emphasize that Luis Fonsi not only sings his songs, but is also their creator, since he is a musician, instrumentalist, and poet. And to top it all off, he's also an incredible dancer who is capable of transforming each of his concerts into a musical and visual spectacle with his outstanding choreography. This year, while performing the Love & Dance world tour, Fonsi celebrates his 18-year career with a new album: Despacito & mis grandes éxitos. As it's name indicates, in addition to the mega hit "Despacito," the album lists hits that catapulted his career, such as "Imagíname sin ti," which was the first song of his recorded for a telenovela, and opened the doors to the markets in Latin America and Spain. Among the singer's newest collection of 19 songs is also "Nada es para siempre," that was part of the successful telenovela Rebelde, and as a result, was sanctified as a romantic ballad. And you can't miss some of his iconic duets, like "Todo vuelve a emprezar," with Laura Pausini, which highlights his powerful vocal range. Despacito & mis grandes éxitos is a compilation of Fonsi's greatest hits, such as "No me doy por vencido," which was a big commercial success in and outside the United States, and led to him singing at the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize concert. As if all of this wasn't enough, the album opens with the original version of "Despacito" and closes with a remix, this time a salsa ballad, of that same song... The most played in the world
For anyone who has attended Josh Groban's phenomenal live show, you will have undoubtedly had the pleasure of seeing and hearing his lead violinist, Lucia Micarelli. Lucia came to Josh's tour after appearing with the Trans- Siberian Orchestra playing arenas across the U.S. in 2003. With the close of the second leg of Josh's tour, Lucia is recording her debut album in New York and London with producer Paul Schwartz. Musical selections will range from the works of composers Ravel and Ennio Morricone to David Bowie.
Josh Groban fans who caught the singer's 2004 Closer tour would no doubt take note of Lucia Micarelli, who was the violinist and concertmaster for Groban. Like her boss, who also is executive producer of Music From A Farther Room, Micarelli is a young, attractive, and talented player who has the classical training, but who is also enchanted with pop music. Also like her boss, her strain of classical crossover works thanks to tasteful accompaniment, in this case from arranger/composer Paul Schwartz. The smartly chosen program of material comes from such varied catalogs as David Bowie and Rogers and Hart. Micarelli's playing is emotional without being overreaching, assertive when called upon, and nuanced. When she does go over-the-top pop on Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," it's brief but fun; when she navigates Piazzolla’s "Oblivion" she draws upon the song's passion more than its technical requisites. This is a debut with likeable pizzazz, coming in a genre not often enough known for it. -- Tad Hendrickson