bilingua franca

Ricky Martin Sings Entirely Different Songs Depending On The Language

“You cannot translate the songs,” says Ricky Martin about serving both English- and Spanish-speaking audiences. “When you write an English song, you write an English song, and then when you start writing in Spanish, you just have to start from zero. If you’re lucky enough to find the same storyline, well, you’re lucky.” Sometimes it works out better than others.

For instance, one track called “Shine” in English is about love; the Spanish song with the same music is titled “Te Vas” and is about someone leaving. Another, “The Best Thing About Me Is You,” has almost identical English and Spanish versions.

And then there are the songs that some fans might find confusing no matter what language they speak.

He points to one track that opens with the line, “Que bella eres,” which translates to, “You’re such a beautiful woman.” Martin says people have accused him of sending mixed messages, since he’s openly gay but singing about women.

“No, I’m not,” Martin says. “I’ve been in love with women, and I just had to write about the beauty of those relationships.”

[NPR]