MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - Whenever Latin pop sensation Alejandro Sanz writes music, he sets off on a "long mental journey" to find inspiration. But when Alicia Keys surprised the singer at a party in New York by joining him in an impromptu jam session, Sanz knew then that he'd found his muse.
"I simply grabbed a guitar and we started to improvise, singing and playing. After that, we decided then that we needed to do something together," he said in an interview. "Working with her was such a marvellous thing. She's a great artist, a great woman, and it turned out to be something marvellous between us."
The end result is reflected in their new duet, "Looking For Paradise."
The 15-time Latin Grammy winner, who has performed on stage with Destiny's Child at the second annual Latin Grammy Awards and who collaborated with Colombian singer Shakira on her 2005 smash hit song "La Tortura," said he's found the same work ethic in Keys as he did with his other female counterparts.
Of Shakira and Keys, he said, "The two have things very much in common. For example, when it's time to work, they are perfectionists and they like to be at work until the very last detail is done. They are very much perfectionists and have a sensibility for music."
Despite rumours circulating for months that the 40-year-old raspy-voiced singer was working on a crossover English language studio album, "Looking for Paradise" is the only English track from his upcoming album, "Paraiso Express," due out on Nov. 10.
The music video for the lead song finds the Madrid-born singer and the R&B songstress searching for each other and later meeting up at a rooftop party in New York City - in a symbolic gesture of unity among two singers from different musical worlds.
"The song is so beautiful. It's touching. It's uplifting. It's worldwide. It really talks about the way we're all looking for something and how we can all find it," Keys says in a video posted on Sanz' Web site. "I just love this idea of bringing worlds together. I think that's what it's all about."
"Paraiso Express" is Sanz's eighth studio album in three years, and he linked up with producers Swizz Beatz and Tommy Torres, who has worked with Latin singers Ricardo Arjona and Ricky Martin. He said he hopes listeners will enjoy the journey and "find for themselves the 'Paraiso' within."
"I hope this album motivates listeners to look for their own paradise, that paradise that very often is inside us, although we insist in looking for it in the outside," he said.
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