Enrique Iglesias praises Latin music fans as he launches tour with Ricky Martin: 'We love our roots'

When Enrique Iglesias and Ricky Martin stepped on stage at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, it marked a monumental meshing of rhythm and charisma.

The two Latin music powerhouses, along with Colombian singer Sebastián Yatra, will crisscross the country through November on an arena tour celebrating their heritage and showcasing the roughly gazillion hits in their respective catalogs (between them, they’ve sold more than 250 million albums worldwide).

Iglesias, 46, and Martin, 49, have known each other since the mid-’90s, but their professional fusions have been few. The pair recognized the historic musical marriage during a press conference to announce the tour in 2020 - before it was COVID-19-postponed – and have also discussed collaborating on a song.

But first is new work from Iglesias. His 11th album, “Final Vol. 1,” was released Sept. 17 and is his first since 2014’s “Sex and Love.” The new work includes the hit “Me Pasé,” featuring Farruko, and new single, “Pendejo.” Iglesias also tapped Bad Bunny, Pitbull, Wisin and other guests to share the 11 tracks. But the album name is what has piqued fans’ curiosity (and concern).

Enrique Iglesias kicked off a co-headlining tour with Ricky Martin on Saturday in Las Vegas.

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A warm and relaxed Iglesias talked with USA TODAY from his Miami home about the meaning of the title (sort of), what to expect from his spectacle with Martin and why he wants to “share the torch” with younger Latin artists.

Question: I think the first thing fans will want to know is, are you and Ricky planning anything together in concert?

Enrique Iglesias: We started conservative but it’s like building a home: You start with 3,000 square feet and it ends up at 10,000 square feet! The production is pretty massive and I think fans will appreciate it. The light show, the content, it’s going to be pretty spectacular. It’s going to be an expensive show to put on, but it will be worth it.

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Q: Did anything change in the production from when you first announced the tour in 2020, since there was time to think about everything?

Iglesias: The only thing that changed that was the budget got bigger. But it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing that Ricky and I are doing. We know this is the only time we might do this together... it has to be massive and great. That’s what fans deserve and I think, are expecting. For Ricky and me, when we first spoke about this project, we knew it had to go all the way. You can’t cut back.

Ricky Martin, shown performing in Coral Gables, Fla., in July, is embarking on a joint tour with fellow Latin superstar Enrique Iglesias.

Q: Tell me about your history with Ricky.

Iglesias: I’ve known Ricky for a long time. I personally met him when I released my first album in 1995, and it was in Mexico City. He was such a workhorse. I used to think that I did a lot of promo and traveled a lot, but he was on so many flights from the U.S. to Europe to Latin America and we coincided at least 40 times on flights.

Q: You picked Sebastián Yatra, a rising star from Colombia, to join you on tour. Do you feel a responsibility to provide a platform for younger Latin artists?

Iglesias: I do. I don’t want to necessarily pass the torch; I want to share the torch. I like when going to our shows that there are multiple performers and I do like that there have been up-and-coming artists throughout the years who opened for (me), like J Balvin. I do feel a responsibility and I’m proud and happy that all of these artists who have opened for us have done so well.

Q: As the guy who Billboard recently crowned Top Latin Artist of All Time, what do you think of the current state of Latin music?

Iglesias: It’s interesting. In 2000 they called it the “Latin explosion” and Ricky was the guy who helped that. They called it an “explosion,” like we were going away. Living in the U.S. and being from Spain and growing up in Miami and seeing Colombians, Mexicans, Cubans and traveling around the U.S., you could see the hunger for Latin artists and music in Spanish. At some point I thought, it’s never going to fade away. The Latino population is the fastest-growing in the U.S. and we love our roots, we’re very loyal. When we like an artist we stick with an artist, and you see it passed down from generation to generation. You see a lot of artists who are still around because of the loyalty of the Latin community.

Enrique Iglesias' new album bears the cryptic title, "Final Vol. 1."

Q: How have you seen your audiences evolve?

Iglesias: When I came out with my first album, my first show was in Odessa, Texas, and it was an arena tour. I remember it was sold out and I was also playing Madison Square Garden and 30-40 other arenas and (the crowd) was mainly younger girls, probably 10-to-15 (years old). Now when I look around I see a lot of guys, a lot of girls and different generations, from little kids to 60-year-olds. I think a lot of it has to do with how my music has evolved. I’ve always found that I was fortunate because I feel comfortable in English and Spanish and that’s why I mix those two a lot.

Q: You have a new bilingual album that has an ominous title. What do you mean by “Final”?

Iglesias: (The album) is a combination of songs from the past two years that I was never able to finish, but finally did in the last year – “Vol. 1” and “Vol. 2,” which, depending on tour dates and how fast we’re able to mix it, will hopefully be out next year. I don’t want to wait a bunch of years because they go together. (As for) “Final,” I said, this could be my final album. But that’s a good thing for this chapter in my life.