Salsa music producer Sergio George talks 'Salsa Giants,' Latin Grammy wins (Exclusive Interview)

By Lucas J Villa,
George talks 'Salsa Giants' album and his recent Latin Grammy wins

During November's Latin Grammy Awards, famed salsa music producer Sergio George went home with three major awards. He won Producer of the Year for a third time, Record of the Year for his work on Marc Anthony's “Vivir Mi Vida” and Best Salsa Album for Sergio George Presents Salsa Giants. The New York-based producer has cranking out salsa hits since the '80s but the Salsa Giants album was one of his biggest undertakings. George rounded up superstars from the genre like Anthony, Tito Nieves, Andy Montañez and more for one night of live music that turned into a Grammy-winning record. He talked with us about his Grammy wins, the Salsa Giants coming together and the future of Latin music in the America.

TheCelebrityCafe.com: How does it feel to be Producer of the Year at the Latin Grammy Awards for a third time?

Sergio George: I think it soaks in now. It feels great. At the time, when they announced the winner, I was going to close the show with the Salsa Giants. My goal was making sure I closed the deal. I didn't get a chance to enjoy it at the moment but I did enjoy it after the show. I feel honored that I won three of them. I'm not sure if that's a record for Latin Grammys as a producer. I think if it's not a record, it's close and I'm honored.

TCC: As a producer for a number of years, who have been some of your favorite artists to work with in the studio?

S.G.: I think some of the best experiences have happened in the last year. With the new Marc Anthony album [3.0] and also with Marc being part of the Salsa Giants, that experience is probably the most rewarding of my career. It transcended just making music. It had a very touching human element to it. Working with the Salsa Giants, remembering the past and great times, and everyone knowing that this could totally be the last great salsa tour and record, I would say the most rewarding experience has really been the last year.

TCC: How did your Grammy-winning salsa album Sergio George Presents: Salsa Giants come together?

S.G.: That came together after a conversation with Gregory Elias, my partner in the company. I explained that the El Cantante soundtrack was a very simple recording process. We recorded that entire Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony soundtrack in a week. I wanted to recreate that type of scenario where I can invite a bunch of friends and go to a studio and just do great music in a short amount of time. We didn't want to spend a lot of time in the studio cutting tracks. We wanted to do it in one shot. Basically, it was a get together with friends who are some of the best in the business. We wanted to show young Hispanic kids out there who are not too focused on music what real good music is all about.

TCC: How was it rounding up all these great salsa musicians for one album?

S.G.: It was very simple. The actual accepting to be part of it was very simple. The most difficult part was the schedule. It had to coincide with the date that we had in mind. Thankfully, after three or four months of trying to put it together, there was a particular date that they were all available. Thank God we were ready to knock it out in that show in Curaçao. At that moment there was pressure because I had to pretty much do it all in one take. I couldn't stop. I mean it was a live show with 12,000 people. There was a lot of pressure but it came together really quickly.

TCC: Why do you like to work with salsa and bachata music?

S.G.: Because people like it. When it comes to Latin music, I love doing what I have a passion for and I like to please the public. I always love to keep people in mind because my job as a producer is to deliver good music that people are going to want to buy. All this kind of tropical music feels great.

TCC: What's next for you now following this year's Latin Grammy Awards?

S.G.: We're putting together the tour for next year of Salsa Giants. That's my next move. Personally, as a producer, I don't really know what's next. I've always been really careful and meticulous about what I select to work on. Right now I'm focused on developing new talent at my label [Top Stop Music] and touring Salsa Giants next year.

TCC: What do you think about the future of Latin music in America?

S.G.: The future of Latin music is very bright, seeing Marc Anthony get an award on the American Music Awards and salsa on the show with the Celia Cruz tribute. It's still baby steps to globalize Latin music but I think it's on its way. It seems like it's a good moment right now to be involved in Latin music. The audience might not understand the language but they can understand the music. It has to make them move. So as long as Latin music makes them dance and party and move, I think we're in good shape.

Sergio George Presents Salsa Giants was released on June 25. For more updates on Sergio George, check out his record label's website at www.topstopmusic.com.

Image courtesy of George's Facebook page


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