In December 2023, Juanes unleashed a track called “Nacimos Solos” (We Were Born Alone) that perfectly laced his signature rock sound with a heavy Western-influenced melody. It was the first cut from the upcoming Zorro series, premiering on Prime Video this Friday (Jan. 19) in the U.S. and Latin America, and on Jan. 25 in Spain.
Both songs, as well as the full original soundtrack, were helmed by Grammy-winning producer Julio Reyes Copello.
“This is what I really love. I love film scoring,” he tells Billboard. “I have done quite a few movies and series. In fact, I started my career doing music for television in Colombia and now I feel like it’s a good time to return to that. I have prepared my entire life to have versatility and make relevant pop songs but also film scoring. I think an interesting time is coming for me to continue doing these types of projects.”
Released by Universal Music Latino, the soundtrack was personally overseen by the label’s president Angel Kaminsky.
“Although in recent years, UML has been involved in important sync licensing such as J Balvin with ‘Agua’ for SpongeBob Squarepants, Fast & Furious series, as well as Karol G with Puss in Boots, this is the first time Universal Music Latin works on an original project this comprehensive with such a wide array of talent crossing genres, languages and impacting cultural norms on such a large scale,” he notes.
Below, Copello and Kaminsky share with Billboard more about bringing the Zorro soundtrack to life.
How did this opportunity—to produce the “Zorro” soundtrack and release it under UML—happen?
Reyes Copello: I was contacted by Secuoya, the Spanish production company that made “Casa de Papel,” they had been working on this project for a while. One of its promoters, Sergio Pizzolante, who is the producer of Secuoya in America, had been talking about this project for some time, and when he finally got the green light and they began filming, he called me.
We began to do what we really dreamed of, to make a soundtrack for this story that would really honor the story of Zorro, which is the only one that unites three cultures: Mexican, Spanish, and American. It’s a perfect setting and the timing couldn’t be better with everything that’s happening in [Latin] music. I think it has been a very special situation.
Kaminsky: When Julio showed me what he was working on, I caught wind of what he was doing I knew exactly where he was going with the fusions of Anglo, Mexican and Spanish sounds. Julio mentioned to me that an old friend of mine of over 20 years and a passionate music lover, Sergio Pizzolante – President of Secuoya, was the brains behind this whole thing and it made me even more motivated to make this happen.
How did you seek inspiration to bring the soundtrack to life?
Reyes Copello: I am from the generation that saw the first “Zorro,” so it is a story that has accompanied me for many years. There’s a part that has always seemed exciting to me and that is that it’s a story of bravery. I wanted to take advantage of that to make a soundtrack that condemns that energy of not even being afraid of death. That’s the DNA, when life confronts one with survival and adversity, one has the ability to bend and be very strong. So, I tried to capture that passion in everything.
Did you produce original songs for the soundtrack?
Reyes Copello: All songs are originals. We did a spectacular song camp with new composers very close to my home [recording studio], Art House. We actually dedicated an entire weekend talking about all the stories and characters from the series, and that’s why so much magic came out.
What else can you share about the album’s creative process?
Reyes Copello: We have been working on this since March 7, 2023, which was when we recorded the very first track with Carin Leon, Rosario and Keith Urban (“Si Me Llevas Contigo”). The vocal recordings were very complicated because all the artists had to coincide. For example, Morat recorded in Paraguay. Carin had to record from a distance in Mexico. Keith Urban in Nashville. Rosario in Spain. But the core of the instruments was recorded in Miami.
I started with a guitar riff, then I wanted to combine it with sounds from Spain, so I hired a flamenco dancer and we put her in the studio with a tablado (wooden platform). All the percussion heard underneath is a flamenco dancer. Then we recorded guiros, electric guitars, and well, the three [musical] cultures are super marked.
Then we wrote lyrics with Joaquina, and with my engineer named Natalia Schlesinger. We shaped it, we experimented, and it ended up being a multifaceted collaboration.
The soundtrack features renowned artists, such as Juanes but also emerging acts, such as Joaquina. How did you go about selecting the talent?
Kaminsky: I had the pleasure to work alongside el maestro Julio Reyes Copello and had the crazy idea such as bringing together three icons from completely different worlds such as Carin Leon, Keith Urban and Rosario Flores and bring GRAMMY winning acts including Juanes, Luis Fonsi, Morat, Joaquina and Adriel Favela.
Reyes Copello: That was a titanic task because it is difficult for these types of releases not to coincide with the artists’ personal releases but it was possible thanks to the Universal team and Angel Kaminsky who has been fundamental in this and helped me recruit talent. We had a dream list [of artists] and we managed to conquer at least 90 percent of the [wish] list we had.
What do you think this project represents to the talents involved?
Reyes Copello: We all adopted this project, not only the creative part, but I feel it’s a very good way to release music nowadays because it’ll have a permanent feedback. The music is going to attract viewers and the viewers are going to listen to the track. And since this is going to live on visual platforms, then it’ll be an eternal feedback. Let’s hope it brings the results that other successful series soundtracks like “Stranger Things” have had. That’s what we all hope with this project, that it becomes something big and very important.
Kaminsky: From a Latin cultural landscape as purveyors of entertainment, to be able to work with a legacy household name that transcends generations in Latin culture such as Zorro to be able to bring artists to do the soundtrack is a fulfilling experience that we are very proud of.
The post “Bringing the ‘Zorro’ Series Soundtrack to Life: ‘It’s a Story of Bravery’” by Jessica Roiz was published on 01/19/2024 by www.billboard.com