Julio Iglesias is the best-selling Latin musical artist in history. He’s sold more than 300 million copies of his 80 albums, and has more than 2,600 gold- and platinum-certified records. He’s won dozens of awards and broken world records throughout the span of his 45-year career. He’s learned to sing in 14 languages. He’s performed with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, Willie Nelson, Diana Ross and Dolly Parton, and in thousands of concerts in hundreds of different cities, enrapturing countless women all over the world with his sensual, heart-throbbing voice and his Latin style of singing, with a vibrato that seems to come from his soul.
If it weren’t for a serious car accident the night before his 20th birthday, an accident that rendered him unable to walk for two years, none of it would have happened.
Iglesias was a goalkeeper for one of Rèal Madrid’s youth soccer teams. He was also studying law in Madrid. And then the automobile crash happened, leaving him semi-paralyzed. A nurse gave him a guitar to occupy his hands, and he began playing and writing songs, putting sad words together with simple chord progressions — and the rest, as they say, is history.
He’s 70 years old now, but he’s not about to stop, or to even slow down. “It’s my passion,” he says. “It’s not a question of money at all in my life. I made more money while I was sitting on the desk than when I was playing. If I don’t play, I die, so I prefer to play.”
And he prefers to play here in Northeast Florida, appearing at the Moran Theater on March 2. His father, Julio Iglesias Sr., fell in love with a woman from Jacksonville, and the couple lived here four months out of the year before Iglesias Sr. died in 2005, at the age of 90. “I’m very familiar with Jacksonville and I adore Jacksonville,” he says.
Regardless of what city or even what country he’s performing in, Iglesias says, he loves to sing for the people: “The passion that you give to the people is like a little marriage. The difference is that it only lasts for two hours, but it doesn’t end in divorce.”
And if the audience is his two-hour wife, his songs are like his children. “I don’t have a favorite song,” he says. “I am in love with every song. You know you can’t sing with a bias because it looks like you put more emphasis on one song over others. I just go with my soul. And in the middle of my soul is the spirit for the music.”
Despite all these years of fame and fortune, Julio Iglesias still has the same passion and love for performing as he did when his career first began so long ago. “Going on stage is the most amazing thing in my life,” he says. o