- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 4, 2002

Pop singer Enrique Iglesias is giving Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus' "Greatest Show on Earth" a run for its money.
When asked to describe his current tour, "Don't Turn Off the Lights," Mr. Iglesias says, "The concert is the best concert in the world. Don't miss it it's the chance of a lifetime."
Mr. Iglesias plans to perform 8 p.m. Friday at the MCI Center. The concert also features the female singing group Soluna, a Dreamworks Records quartet that performs in English and Spanish.
From the time Mr. Iglesias was a child, he dreamed of being a professional musician. He wrote his first song in English at age 13, "Only One Night," which he now says is "really cheesy."
"When you dream, you only dream the good things," the 27-year-old says. "You never dream the bad things. When I say bad, I mean you dream the climactic moments and the beautiful moments, but there's also the stress that comes with it that you never dream about [that you experience] once you are in it."
Although Mr. Iglesias' father, Julio, is a recording-industry icon, he says his father hasn't profoundly affected his musical decisions. During his father's 77-album career as Spain's most famous singer, he has sold more than 250 million records. His father also has played about 4,600 shows.
"[My fathers] work ethic was a big influence," Mr. Iglesias says. "I don't know about musically. It's not like you went into my house and there was music everywhere. It was more of a personal thing I never talk about music or work with my father."
In fact, Mr. Iglesias shied away from using his father's name to pitch his demos to record labels. He sent some of his recordings to music companies under the pseudonym Enrique Martinez, which led to a record deal with Fonovisa Records and eventually Interscope Records.
"It was experimental," he says. "I wanted to see what happened, if people enjoyed my music and liked it."
The public enjoyed Mr. Iglesias' songs so much that his first English-language album, "Enrique," sold about 6 million copies. His second English-language album, "Escape," included the hit "Hero," which was the first single from the album. The song has become an anthem for many people in the wake of September 11. Ironically, Mr. Iglesias and songwriters Paul Barry and Mark Taylor wrote the song more than a year before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
"You know what's funny about that song? Everybody thought, 'It's hard to go with a ballad as the first single. It's all about the radio, and it's hard to make them play a ballad,'" he says. "We said, 'At the end of the day, it's a great song. Let's go a little bit against the odds, and let's go with the ballad.'"

Despite Mr. Iglesias' tremendous success in the English-language market, he decided his next album, "Quizas," which is scheduled for release Sept. 16, would be in Spanish. The project is a collection of songs he has been writing throughout the past three years.
Although he loves singing in English, he says he will never stop recording in his native language. Because Mr. Iglesias was born in Madrid, he is still attached to the culture and way of life. When he was 8, his mother, Isabel Preysler, sent him to live with his father in Miami. His parents divorced when he was 3.
"When you go to a bullfight, it's completely different than what you expect," he says. "Some people feel sorry for the bull. When you go there, you say, 'Whoever the bullfighter is, he has a lot of [guts] to go in there.'"
Because of his ties to the Spanish-speaking world, Mr. Iglesias chose to take a small role in the upcoming Robert Rodriguez movie "Once Upon a Time in Mexico," which he fit in after recording "Escape." Although he enjoyed the experience, he says he plans to continue to focus on music and touring.
"I like the whole aspect of touring," he says. "I like doing live concerts. The promo is what kills me, when you have to do all the interviews."

WHAT: Enrique Iglesias, featuring Soluna
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday
TICKETS: $25 to $75, 202-432-SEAT

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