When we asked Sech — whose syrupy delivery makes him one of the most romantic singers in reggaeton — to come up with a list of lovey-dovey Valentine’s Day songs, the task was almost too hard for him. “The first thing you have to write in this article is, ‘Sech says picking five romantic songs is way too complicated!’” he laughs during a recent phone call from Panama. “But I’m going to go for it.”
Part of that is because the eclectic artist says he listens to way too much music to narrow things down. “I’m a balladeer, truly. I love ballads so much,” he says. “But I listen to everything — jazz, R&B, house, Afrobeats.” Still, he ended up choosing an array of Latin pop songs from the early 2000s that he remembers replaying over and over when he was a teenager — songs that connect with listeners on an emotional level. “Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved to see people singing from the heart. I’m like, cry, let it out!” he says, adding that he chases after that feeling in his own music. “In the studio, I think about a lot of that. I met this girl in Los Angeles, and she was like, ‘You don’t know what you’ve helped me through with your music.’ I always want to reach people that way.”
Sech had one piece of advice to go with the Valentine’s Day playlist he settled on: “Try not to think too much. Just live the moment and go for it. All of us want to love and be loved, and you never know what’s going happen.” He joked that some of his own hits — like the vengeful “911” — might not be exactly right for the holiday, but shared that he’ll be spending Valentine’s Day working on some new ones. “I’m thinking I’ll be at the studio, writing more songs for my fans.”
Juanes, “Es Por Ti”
Juanes has a ton of songs that I love, but this is a big one. He’s always so profound with his lyrics and the musicality is brutally, brutally good. Since the first time I listened to him, I love everything he’s done, his style, how he’s worked out his career. It’s meant a lot to me. That note he hits on this song — insane. It’s a tough one to perform. There’s also “Para Tu Amor” by Juanes. Everything from the violin that kicks in, it’s absolute magic. It always takes me somewhere new and gets me in a romantic mood.
Reik, “Noviembre Sin Ti”
Picking these is so hard! But I have to mention this song by Reik. This song, ooph. I’ve always liked their music so much. It’s going to sound crazy, but the very first girlfriend I ever had in my entire life, I dedicated a Reik song to her. Not this one — a different one called “Que Vida La Mía” — but Reik was my first dedication. I think I was like 15. I’ve talked to them two or three times, but I need to tell them that their music was the first I ever shared with a girl. I remember “Noviembre Sin Ti” because the video used to play all the time on this Panamanian TV show. I always loved the band’s way of writing and thought it was so real.
Kalimba, “Tocando Fondo”
Ay, ay, ay. This one is important. It’s legendary. It’s so deep and profound. I was with my older brother, and he used to give drumming lessons. But he always would tell me to figure out my own skills in my music. I remember they were practicing this song with his students, so I would listen it every day in Panama and I would try to learn to sing it.
Julieta Venegas, “Andar Conmigo”
This one goes so hard. Personally, I think her voice is magic and it brought back so many memories when she did that intro on the song with Bad [Bunny] and Tainy [“Lo Siento BB:/”]. It hits me in a personal place. It’s so deep. The years have gone by, and her voice keeps inspiring and touching people, truly. This song is so special because when it came out, there were a lot of pop songs and ballads, but this one was different to what was happening. I feel like she’s completely herself, and I always admire that so much about her. The other day, I was watching a video of an acoustic performance she did and I kept thinking, “It would be amazing to see her live.”
I have to pick one of my songs? Oh, man! I guess you can dedicate all of them to someone, but maybe not on Valentine’s Day! [Laughs.] Maybe this is one you can dedicate to someone on the 13th to get everything off your chest so that you’ll have peace by the 14th.