Music

Six Years After His Death, Juan Gabriel’s First Posthumous Album Arrives: Son Ivan Gabriel & Collaborators Talk Putting ‘Los Duo 3’ Together

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Juan Gabriel was so clear about how he wanted Los Dúo 3 to sound that he recorded all his parts and had a list of guest singers. Six years after his death, his heirs and team are finally presenting the last project the prolific Mexican singer-songwriter was working on: a third album of duets of hits, including the singles “Déjame Vivir” with Anahí, “Ya” with Banda El Recodo and La India, and “Mía un Año” with Eslabón Armado, as well as the focus track “De Mí Enamórate” with Danna Paola. 

Los Dúos 3 makes its debut on Thursday (November 10) at 8:00 pm EDT under Música Eterna / Virgin Music US Latin. Produced by Gustavo Farías, a longtime collaborator of Juan Gabriel, the 14-track set filled with pop, ballad, ranchera, mariachi and banda songs also includes “Por Qué Me Haces Llorar” with Gloria Trevi, “He Venido a Pedirte Perdón” with Mon Laferte, “Luna tras Luna” with George Benson, a bilingual version of “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” with John Fogerty, and “Venecia Sin Ti,” with the late French-Armenian artist Charles Aznavour, who died in 2018. 

“My dad’s plan was always to record with these people. The list was already there, he knew who he wanted to do the duets with, he knew the genres, he wanted to try new things. All the ideas were his, we simply took his ideas and produced them the best we could,” his son Iván Gabriel tells Billboard Español about the project. The tracklist is rounded out by “Cada Vez y Cada Vez” with Pepe Aguilar, “Nada Más Decídete” with Angela Aguilar, “Yo No Nací Para Amar” with Lasso, “Te Doy 8 Días” with La Adictiva, and “Déjame” with Luciano Pereyra. 

Juan Gabriel, “Los Dúo 3”

Courtesy Photo

The plans were put on hold temporarily when the 66-year-old star, known throughout Latin America for classics like “Querida” and “Amor Eterno,” died on August 28, 2016 at his home in Santa Monica, California, in the midst of a tour. “Unfortunately, when he passed away, several things came to a halt and we had to review everything, we had to — I wouldn’t say start from scratch, but take our time so we didn’t come up with something incomplete,” Ivan explains.

Inducted into the Billboard Latin Music Hall of Fame in 1996, Juan Gabriel built a legacy as a multifaceted artist over a more-than-four-decade career, recording songs in genres as diverse as ranchero, ballad, pop and bolero as well as producing other artists. Among his many accomplishments, the “Divo de Juárez” sold more than 150 million records, wrote over 1,800 songs, released 34 studio albums, was a six-time Grammy nominee, won three Latin Grammys posthumously and had seven No. 1s on Billboard‘s Hot Latin Songs chart. (“Yo No Sé Qué Me Pasa” even led the first edition of that chart in 1986.)

For Farías, who also produced Los Dúo and Los Dúo 2, being able to complete the album without his star was “a very profound emotional and professional experience.” 

“After 6 years since starting this ambitious project, to be finally able to listen to it, finished and just as Juan Gabriel and I imagined it in the summer of 2016, I relived memories and emotions in his studio in Cancun,” continues the producer in a statement, praising the work of everyone involved and stating that he had “Juan Gabriel’s musical desires in mind in every arrangement and song.” 

When it came to choosing “De Mí Enamórate” as the focus track, Iván explains that his father always wanted to “push” that song — which was originally recorded by Daniela Romo in 1986, when it topped the Hot Latin Songs chart for 14 weeks — “a little more… and I think it turned out very well for us!”, he adds enthusiastically about the new version with Danna Paola. “Well, I can’t honestly take any of the credit, it was all my dad.” 

Víctor González, President Virgin Muisic Latin America & Iberian Peninsula, says in a statement that “seeing this album evolve as Juan Gabriel imagined it is a goal that we set for several years. It is an honor for me to be able to collaborate in preserving the great musical legacy of Don Alberto,” he adds, referring to Juan Gabriel by his real name, Alberto Aguilera Valadez. “I’m sure he would be proud of the production of each of the songs.” 

Los Dúos 3 arrives a few days after the premiere of “Cirque Musica Querida,” a circus show that celebrates the life and work of Juan Gabriel, staged with the endorsement of his son and heir in Mexico City. It’s all part of a strategy to keep his legacy alive. 

“For me it is obviously very important, because my father left this to us — he left this to his fans, his family — and it is our job and our duty to make it grow as much as possible, to celebrate it as best as possible,” says Iván of his father’s body of work. And there is still more to come: Without providing any details, Iván reveals “there is a lot of material with which we continue to work — so I think that many more beautiful things are on the way.” 

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