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Kany García’s eighth studio album, El Amor que Merecemos (The Love We Deserve) is a collection of love stories. Stories of a couple who makes it against all odds, of a woman who leaves her controlling boyfriend in the nick of time, of would-be lovers who pine for each other in silence, of a priest who falls in love with his choir director.
Like a modern-day troubadour, García collects these stories from conversations and encounters; she has a knack for recognizing a good tale and bringing it alive to music. It’s led her to win six Latin Grammys (including her inaugural best new artist award in 2008) and to reach the top 10 of Billboard’s Latin Pop Albums chart every time, including two No. 1s.
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With El Amor, out this Friday (May 27), García astutely takes her stories and makes each one contemporary in a slightly different way, to hone in on the concept of stand-alone storytelling. “It’s a very current album, told from a woman’s perspective,” says García. “From a woman who recognizes her value, her qualities and what she’s not willing to put up with. She knows what she wants in life, and since she’s clear about that, she talks about all those relationships she finds along the way.”
Produced by Richi López, the 10-track set goes in many sonic directions. “No Vuelvas,” with reggaetonero Jay Wheeler, is a surprising, sparse ballad set over slow programming that shows off Wheeler’s vocals in entirely different light beyond rapping. With longtime friend Rozalén, García manages to address gender violence to a cumbia beat. And of course, there’s that aching ballad with Alejandro Sanz, whose making is a story of its own.
Here are five love stories from the album, explained in García’s own words:
“Plan de Vida”
I wrote this about a couple who are close to me and who have broken every prediction made about them. Everyone said they wouldn’t last a day. That’s why it says: “I’m going to try even when everyone says we’ve lost. I’d rather row than anchor my boat.”
“No Vuelvas” (with Jay Wheeler)
Jay has an amazing voice and I was excited at the prospect of hearing him outside his urban realm. There’s this stigma that urban singers can’t sing. They can, and they do so, very well. Jay’s voice fit very naturally into something like this. And on my end, the ballads I started making back in 2008 are very different from ballads in 2022. This is still a beautiful song, full of nostalgia and good lyrics, but it’s a song for today.
“Justito a Tiempo” (with Rozalén)
This is a recurring and necessary message about [abuse], specifically about that psychological and emotional violence you need to be aware of. It’s all these little daily micro-aggressions: Why were you late? Who texted you? The song is a gift from someone I just met, and who told me this story, where she left the relationship “just in time.” I thought I had to make it into a song. And I loved doing it with this cumbia beat, that kind of relaxes and then goes straight to the message when you least expect it. Rozalén, who like me is a songwriter committed to feminism and human rights, was the perfect person to do it with.
“Muero” (with Alejandro Sanz)
Alejandro [Sanz] and I are such good Friends, that we have the luxury of saying “I can’t” to each other. Those are the friends you want close to you; the ones who tell you the truth. I invited Alejandro to sing the song, and he said “No,” which I knew he would, because he was in the middle of doing his own album. I said, “No problem.” Then, 10 minutes later he calls back and says: “You never sent me the song.” And when I did, he said, “OK, let’s figure this out.”
5. “Supe que eras para mi”
People think this song is about me, but it’s really my parents’ story. My dad was a priest for 10 years, and he fell in love with his choir director. He always told me how when, after two-three years of friendship, he realized he was in love with her. Of course, she had no idea. During a patron saint party, he saw my mother, and, after they said their goodbyes […] he puts his hand on her shoulder and says: “You know you’re the one for me and I’m the one for you?” I took that story and put it in a bar in 2022 to make it current. But that line –“Supe que eras para mí (I knew you were the one for me)” — that’s my father’s.