41 Girls in 41 Days: Julio Iglesias' '70s Life
By Jared Shapiro
World-traveling legend Julio Iglesias comes “home” to Miami this month, where he performs his greatest hits, reminding us why he is the biggest-selling Latin artist of all time.
“I’m very much a person of privilege. Performing for the people, for the audience, then they get inside of my life and I get inside of their lives.”
The numbers are astonishing: More than 300 million copies of his 80 albums sold worldwide. Over 60 million spectators in a 45-year career have heard his voice at more than 5,000 concerts in 600 cities around the world. And yet it’s his voice, not his statistics, that have fans from Russia to Qatar, Australia, Israel, China, and practically every continent (in just 2013 alone) swooning. To kick off the US leg of his 2014 tour on February 22, Julio Iglesias has chosen to bring his talents to South Beach with a one-night-only romantic concert. It’s your best chance to see him anywhere in Miami, as the self-professed homebody prefers his house on Indian Creek for dinner, and his wine cellar for a refresher. Here, he reminisces on his career, love, family, and of course, Miami.
You’ve sold over 300 million albums worldwide. To what do you attribute that success?
If I were to have a logical answer to that, then I would sell 600 million. Whatever happens to me is because I never lost the passion for anything, and if you don’t lose the passion, you can survive for generations.
What’s your favorite song to perform?
I never have a favorite. I was in Tel Aviv recently and was playing some big concerts. And someone asked me, “Julio, how do you play live so many times?” And I said, “You know, they just keep inviting me.” Why do they invite me? Because I have a communion of the passion with the countries, and if you don’t go to the countries with passion, you are forgotten. They forget you very fast.
In 1970 you gave 41 concerts in 41 cities, in Spain, over the span of 30 days.
And I was making love every day. Imagine 41 concerts and 41 girlfriends. That was a great time. It was my rock and roll time.
Tell me about your life in Miami.
Whenever I am in Miami, I’m living in Indian Creek, on a private island. So I have probably my new generations of kids, I swim, I do exercises. I think how bored I am not to be singing the next day. I get bored when I don’t sing. But I take time with my kids; I travel with my kids, with my wife, with my family. I try to be really close to them. Miami is an amazing place. I discovered Miami in 1971. It was 43 years ago, and it was love at first sight.
You chose Miami as the first date in America for your tour. Describe performing for the Miami audience.
When you play in a place that you know so well and they know you, you have so many friends who come to see you—and they are very critical, so you always have a little bit of nerves. What is going to happen? It will be great, we’ll be playing the AmericanAirlines Arena, and I will play in the same place the Miami Heat play and make people dream. I want the people to go out of the concert thinking, I was right, 40 years ago I said this guy was going to make it!
You have eight kids! And Guillermo is 6 years old. What’s that like in your household?
I’ve been a very privileged person in my life. I don’t take anything for granted. So to have another, even bigger privilege, which is to be a father at my age (70) with a kid of 6 years old is amazing.
Speaking of kids, your son Enrique has an album coming out in the spring. What advice did you give him coming up?
The guy is a champion; you cannot advise a champion. But he knows which is his good side—the left side—he knows the music he has to sing, he knows the video he has to do, he respects the people, he respects everybody in the audience, he’s a professional, as you know since he has been on your cover. He’s a very charming guy, and if you met him, you’d know that he has that kind of attitude and can convince you of it in five seconds. And I do it in two seconds, okay? In five seconds, my son can convince you of that. I will take only two seconds. [Laughs]
Iglesias performing at the Roman Theatre in Merida, Spain, in June 2013.
What’s the most amazing concert that you’ve ever performed?
The first public concert I did in my life, my legs were trembling. I was thinking, What happened to my life? So I say the first one. And the next one after that would be the most recent concert I perform. If you ask me next year, I will tell you the last concert I performed. You know, an artist’s life stops the day the people stop.
Is there anything about you that people don’t know?
There’s a big secret: I sleep naked all of the time! But naked means nothing physical; it’s naked in my heart, and in my brain. So for me to be naked in front of an interviewer, in front of my audience, in a very spiritual naked situation, not physical, with my soul open, with my brain open, with my passion open, that’s what I do in my life. But also when I swim physically in the pool, I swim naked, because no one is there, no one is paying attention to me!
What will you be doing in Miami before and after the concert? Is there a favorite restaurant you go to?
You know which is the best restaurant in Miami? My house. I’ll tell you why. I’ve been buying wines since the 1970s. I bought the ’52s, the ’55s, the ’47s, after the second war, the ’61s, the ’82s, the ’90s, the ’95s. So I have an incredible collection of wines. That is a need for me when I’m eating.
What charities are you involved with?
I’ve been working for 20 years with the United Nations and Unicef. I’ve been a representative of the arts. I just try to open my conscience in a very discreet way. So I take care of the volunteers, and I do the best I can. But I can do much more, maybe, I’m not a saint. But my conscience is clean.
When you look back on your career…
Oh, I am happy. I’m grateful—happy doesn’t mean anything. Happy is something that passes and goes. No, I’m grateful. Julio Iglesias performs on Saturday, February 22, at 8 pm at AmericanAirlines Arena
photography courtesy of julio iglesias’ office