Q&A: Enrique Iglesias

Best-selling Spanish-language artist sets out to conquer America

Singer Enrique Iglesias performs at Z100's Fifth Annual 'Jingle Ball' Concert on at Madison Square Garden in New York City, December 16th, 1999. Credit: Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage/Getty

"I got rejected with my real and fake names. Sometimes record companies can be so blind."

Were you aware that in the past three years, Enrique Iglesias has been the best-selling Spanish-language artist in the world? Not Ricky. Not Jennifer. Not Marc. Enrique. Now he's taking the English-speaking world by storm with his first English-language album, simply titled Enrique. He duets with Whitney, covers Springsteen and proves himself fluent in the universal language of love with songs like "Be With You" and "I'm Your Man." Yes, he is the son of leathery Latin lover Julio Iglesias, but he'd rather not talk about that (he has walked off the sets of TV shows when he has been introduced as the son of Julio). And, yes, he was voted the sexiest man in the world by People en Español, but he would rather avoid that subject, too – particularly since he once joked that his record company had bought the title, a remark that was then broadcast all over the world as the truth. When Enrique was 17, the music-obsessed lad called his father's former publicist, and the two secretly recorded some demos, shopping them around under the name Enrique Martinez. Now 24, Iglesias, who was born in Madrid, has sold 14 million albums worldwide and is regularly drowned out by the dolphinlike screams of his female fans. He phones from his home in Miami.

Wow, you're on time. I was warned that Enrique runs on "Enrique time."

Ok, so I'll call you later! Can I call you, like, in an hour?

It was my only day off in, like, five months. I went out in the boat, relaxed. Nice day. Sunny, a little windy.

[Yells] Yes, ma'am!

You've said you found Spanish radio to be lacking when you were a kid.

A lot of the singers were already pretty old. They were legends in the Spanish world, but there weren't many young pop singers out there. Now, thank God, there's more, but five years ago there weren't a lot. Record companies used to tell me, "You're 19 years old, you're singing a ballad, that's not gonna work."

Women go nuts for you, but you claim you were rejected by girls when you were younger. In high school I probably got rejected 70 percent of the time. I was too skinny and small. I ended up going to the prom by myself.

Actually, with some companies I used my real name. I got rejected with both. But I didn't get discouraged, because I didn't know what it felt like to be successful. Everyone gets rejected – record companies, a lot of times, are so blind.

Well, my parents never knew. I never told them, because writing was like my own little diary – it was so private, so personal. When they found out, they were pretty shocked. But I packed up my bags and went to Toronto to work in the studio.

Yeah, kind of. The audience just gets close. They hug you and stuff like that. Girls. You know girls – if they're onstage and they can get to you, they get to you.

They actually can pull very hard. One pulls one way, the other pulls another way, another pulls the other way.

Nah. Give me a break. What are they gonna do?

You told a reporter that you were a virgin, and it got picked up everywhere.

It was just a stupid thing I said. I don't know how they could make such a big deal out of a stupid joke. You know, I do interviews every single day, and when it's the typical questions, I just joke around. Give me a break – I get tired. The girl, the reporter, she seemed kind of innocent. I wanted her to feel safe [chuckles].

Sleep.

Sleep.

I mainly sleep. I love going to the movies whenever I have some time. I usually go, like, Mondays or Tuesdays, or late at night.

What are your best and worst qualities?

I do not have worst qualities. They're all good.

Enrique, everyone has bad qualities.

Not me. I am perfect. I'm just kidding. You know my worst quality? I myself can actually tell my bad qualities very, very well and analyze them very well. It can drive me crazy sometimes.

I get along with everyone. I have good friends who are very normal.

Nothing, really.

Is a Steve Guttenberg movie bad?

I'd say.

I used to love Police Academy! Cocoon was good. And I loved Caddyshack.

It's hilarious. And Chevy Chase was one of my favorites. That's a classic. You know what's one of my favorite funny movies of all time? National Lampoon's VacationEuropean Vacation, that is hilarious! Tell me that's not funny!