Simply put, Marc Anthony has been a trailblazer. Since the release of his very first album, his voice, his style and his sound have made waves in the tropical and pop genres. For a singer that The New York Times once praised for "his flawless singing" and naming him "somebody who can compete with the great pop figures of the 20th century", the release of his first Spanish pop album comes at a very important point in his ever expanding career.
"Amar Sin Mentiras" is Marc's eagerly awaited first Latin pop album, after releasing two English language releases over the last five years. In 1999 Marc debuted with his triple platinum "Marc Anthony", while in 2001 the double platinum "Mended" became his second back to back multi-million album seller. This was followed up with the triple platinum "Libre", his first tropical release since his Grammy award winning "Contra La Corriente" in 1997.
The album was produced by Estéfano, who was able to find the right blend of music, songs and arrangements in order to present Marc in a very intimate, authentic and organic way. With the collaboration of Jorge Callandrelli and the presence of the London Symphony Orchestra and the Argentine String Ensemble, Marc Anthony shows a new side to his enormous talent. After recording five top selling tropical albums and two Top 10 English pop albums, Marc reappears with an album that strikes the head and squeezes the heart.
"Amar Sin Mentiras" is a profound confirmation that Marc Anthony will always push the envelope of his career to new limits and heights. After selling more the 8 million albums worldwide, earning a Grammy in the process and having an active acting career in the process, Marc Anthony presents an album that not only showcases his impeccable voice, but a sound that will continue to engage and conquer new followers all over the world.
The album opens with the first single, "Ahora Quién". A reflective and striking power ballad, Marc shows off the pipes that have made him one of the premier voices in the music business. "Escapémonos" is a sensual duet with Jennifer López that calls to get away and just fall into the arms of your loved one. If Jennifer and Marc made history with "No Me Ames" some time ago, this time around promises to be even sweeter.
"Se Esfuma Tu Amor" and "Valió La Pena" are very organic and rhythmic in style and presence. The first one focuses on how the love that was once the force that united two people together now has become a thing of the past. "Valió La Pena" is a call of acceptance and recognition that in life there are no accidents and that everything happens for a reason. It's sensual and infectious melody is full of hooks. "Tu Amor Me Hace Bien" has a very Spanish feel to it. The restrained nature of its arrangement makes it a call to seduction and passion from the moment Marc sings the first verse of the tune.
"Tan Sólo Palabras" is the best of two worlds. On one side you have the strings of an orchestra that pulls you in a very classic way, while on the other you have the rhythmic guitars and the voice of Marc just giving the song presence and identity. "Volando Entre Tus Brazos" is a ballad about forgiveness and recognition. It is a look at the way love can become selfish if not focused on the other.
"Nada Personal" presents an edge and has all the ingredients to become a Marc Anthony classic by virtue of its lyric and presentation. "Amigo" is a Roberto Carlos classic, one of Marc's vocal heroes, and receives a very intimate and respected treatment by Marc. The title track closes out the album with Marc baring his soul and reaffirming that "it is time to let go of the past and move on". With this Marc not only reaffirms his humanity, but calls to look beyond it. Everyone can fall, but it is the way and the will to stand up that makes the difference. And "Amar Sin Mentiras" is a call to being authentic and genuine, something Marc has always brought to his music.
In fact, expectations for the singer born Marco Antonio Muniz ran high from the start. Named by his musician-father after a famous Mexican singer of the same name, he changed his name professionally to avoid being confused with the legendary singer. The Muniz family kitchen table in Spanish Harlem was his first "stage," his "repertoire" a single song about a bird native to Puerto Rico. Even as a small child he knew how to wow an audience, in this case his extended family and their musician friends.
"He had just the one song," his father recalls, "but, boy, he could belt it out."
Marc grew up listening to rock and rhythm and blues, and began singing, in English, in dance clubs in New York, where the audience might number 500 on a good night. He specialized in a terse, minimalist form of dance music called "house music," in which a singer repeats a musical phrase over and over, with slight variations, to the accompaniment of a rhythm track.
He also sang background on records with a band called the Latin Rascals, who worked with producer Little Louie Vega. When Vega received a contract with Atlantic Records in 1991, he asked Anthony to be his singer. While none of the records they did together was especially successful, one of them, "Rebel," was a hit in clubs.
Marc's club days were rapidly nearing an end, however. In 1992, the legendary Latin percussionist and bandleader Tito Puente asked Vega and Anthony to open his revue at Madison Square Garden. They were a hit, and Marc found singing before such an enormous crowd intoxicating. Yet the real turning point in his career still lay ahead, the result of a song heard on the radio by chance.
His manager had suggested he sing in Spanish, but Anthony wasn't interested. Then one day, while driving in a car in Manhattan, Marc heard a song on the radio by a singer named Juan Gabriel. "It was called "Hasta Que Te Conoci"" Marc recalls, "which means 'Until I Met You,' and it ripped me apart. I don't know why and I don't want to know why. I called my manager and asked if I could record it in salsa."
In 1993 he did, and brought the musical tracks on DAT to Radio y Musica, a Latin music convention to which Marc's manager had sent him to perform. It would be a decision and a day that would change his life. Yet it began inauspiciously enough, with mainly disc jockeys in the audience and Marc performing in clothes borrowed for the occasion. One person clapped as he took the stage. "Make believe you're singing in your living room to your mom," he told himself as he began.
When he finished, he left the stage so quickly his manager had to grab him and point out that he was receiving a standing ovation. Several of the disc jockeys were dialing their cell phones. "Find this kid's CD," he heard one of them say. "I threw it out this morning, it's in the trash. Find it, and play it!"
Later that day, he appeared on a television show called "Carnaval Internacional," which was broadcast all over the world. "That changed my life forever," Anthony says. "I mean in one day. It seemed like years before I was ever in New York again. I was booked and booked and booked: Panama, Ecuador, Argentina, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Miami, Los Angeles. I woke up once in the middle of the night in a hotel and I didn't know where I was. I called my brother's room and said, 'Where are we?' All I could see was a city at night. Tokyo. I thought, 'How did this happen?'"
Despite his growing fame in other countries, however, Anthony remained relatively unknown outside the Latin music world in the country of his birth, the result of having sung almost exclusively in Spanish. All of that changed with the September 1999 release of Marc Anthony, his self-titled English-language Pop CD. The album debuted at #8 on the Billboard 200 Album chart and was certified platinum six weeks later. Seven months after its release, it was still resting comfortably in the Top 40, having sold more than two million copies in the US alone. The album has since been certified triple platinum by the RIAA.
The initial success of Marc Anthony was driven, in part, by the irresistible groove of "I Need To Know," the album's first single. The certified gold track spent 11 weeks in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 and an additional eight weeks in the Top 40. The song earned Marc a Grammy nomination for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance (1999). Meanwhile, "Dimelo," the Spanish-language version of "I Need to Know," hit #1 on the Billboard Hot Latin Tracks chart and won a Latin Grammy for Song of the Year. The album's second single "You Sang To Me" hit #1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart and received a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance (2000). Marc Anthony also featured a track with very special significance for the singer. Called "My Baby You," the song was written for Anthony's six-year-old daughter, Arianna. "It's a daddy professing his love," he says.
One of Anthony's electrifying live performances was lensed for an exclusive HBO special, "Marc Anthony: The Concert from Madison Square Garden," which debuted on Valentine's Day 2000. The special was produced and directed for Cream Cheese Productions by Marty Callner, whose previous HBO credits include specials starring Madonna, Garth Brooks and Jerry Seinfeld. The special showcased Anthony's English-language hits, along with smashes from the Spanish-language salsa albums that have established him as the world's top-selling salsa singer.
Anthony has been awarded 12 Latin and standard gold and platinum certifications by the RIAA: His albums Contra La Corriente, Todo A Su Tiempo, and Marc Anthony have all turned gold (standard): Marc Anthony has achieved RIAA triple platinum (standard) status in the U.S.; and "I Need To Know" has been certified gold (standard); . Marc's album Contra La Corriente was awarded a Grammy for Best Latin/Tropical Performance (1998). His RIAA gold (standard) greatest hits album, Desde El Principio: From the Beginning, held the #1 slot on the Billboard Latin 50 for seven weeks and was the #1 album for the year 2000 on that chart. Released in November 2001, the double platinum (Latin) Libre remained at the #1 slot on Billboard's Latin music charts for 14 straight weeks.
Yet, Anthony's success has not been limited to the music world. He was cast by music legend Paul Simon in the Broadway musical "The Capeman" and has graced the silver screen with significant roles in Martin Scorsese's "Bringing Out the Dead" and Stanley Tucci's "Big Night." He also appeared in "The Substitute," "Hackers," and the Showtime original film "In the Time of the Butterflies." Recently he costarred with Denzel Washington in "Man On Fire".
"Amar Sin Mentiras" is Marc Anthony's confirmation that his style can continue to expand and diversify. He not only remains true to his Latin roots, but shows how much his evolution in the pop scene can be a great commodity when it comes to creating new ways to reach more people. Not only is it a crowning achievement in his illustrious career, but a sign of things to come.