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Last updateMon, 20 Apr 2020 1pm

Louis Fonsi is best known for his smash hit “Despacito,” which as of now has been viewed 6.4 billion times on YouTube.

Yes, that’s correct: 6.4 billion, with a “b.” It’s sure to be one of the songs he performs during his show at Fantasy Springs this Friday, Sept. 20.

Despite this amazing success, during a recent phone interview, Fonsi came off as humble and grateful, crediting his collaborator on the song, Daddy Yankee, as well as Justin Bieber, who is featured on a popular remix of the song. As of this writing, that version “only” has 648 million-plus YouTube views.

Of course, the Puerto Rico native is known for much more than “Despacito.” In fact, he said some of his fans aren’t quite sure what to make of the song and the direction of his new album, Vida.

“Oh, they miss the more romantic songs on my past albums, which were more focused around love ballads,” Fonsi said. “I still do that! I am a balladeer at heart, but I also wanted to do more of an upbeat album. … This has some ballads as well, but it also has dance and more of today’s … Latin sound.”

Why did Fonsi—with six platinum albums to his credit before Vida—make the change?

“There is just so much new blood, with kids making amazing beats these days, and I love all that,” Fonsi said. “Fifteen years ago, it was so hard to make your own music, and it was too expensive. Now you can do it with software. It lets you just simply upload your music to the internet for the world to hear, so it’s easier to make great tracks and new sounds.”

Fonsi said he’s especially enjoyed the collaborative nature of some of his newer music.

“If I get a week off, I go home to family but also hit the studio where I write my songs,” he said. “I also love to collaborate and work with new people, so I go on search tours to Nashville, New York, London—anywhere to find people to co-write with.”

Fonsi was born in San Juan but moved to Orlando, Fla., when he was 11. Some of his first jobs were—no surprise—at theme parks.

“I was always a performer,” he said. “It was in my blood even as a child. Working in all the different theme parks was an amazing training ground for me. I then went to the Florida State University School of Music with a full scholarship.”

Fonsi at one point was part a boy band called Big Guys, which included future *NSYNC member Joey Fatone. While that band never made it big, he credited the experience for helping him understand the importance of hard work.

In 2013, Fonsi had a brief stint in Forever Tango on Broadway.

“I love acting. I love Broadway, and I want to go back eventually,” Fonsi said. “But I also love TV. I am a judge on Telemundo’s The Voice. We are starting on the second season. My team won Season 1, so I have a lot to live up to. … I am a positive judge. If I like people, you will know, but if I’m not connecting, they will also know.”

Fonsi said he gains inspiration from R&B greats like Stevie Wonder and Brian McKnight.

“My hero was singer and salsa musician Juan Luis Guerra,” Fonsi said. “He is my all-time-favorite from the Dominican Republic. He is a genius songwriter and one of the nicest human beings on Earth. I am so lucky to now call him a friend and collaborator. I also enjoy Richard Marx, who brings a lot to the table when we collaborate.”

What does Fonsi say to people who may be concerned about going to a show where much of the music will be sung in Spanish?

“I sing in Spanish. I am a Latino artist. I am bilingual, yes, but it’s in my DNA,” Fonsi said. “It’s exciting to go to different countries and sing in my native tongue and see flags in the audience from all over. They might not understand all my lyrics, but dance unites us all.”

Luis Fonsi will perform at 8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 20, at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Drive, in Indio. Tickets are $49 to $99. For tickets or more information, call 760-342-5000, or visit www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Published in Previews

Summer is finally beginning to wind down—and that means some venues are waking up after summer hibernations. Here are some of the most noteworthy events happening in our warm and sandy home.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino is hosting a lot of fantastic events in September. At 8 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 1, the “Something Great From 68’” tour will land at the Indio casino, bringing Brian Wilson and The Zombies to play music from their 1968 works: Wilson, the songwriting genius from the Beach Boys, will play from the albums Friends and Surf’s Up, in addition to “all the hits,” while The Zombies—recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees—will play the album Odessey and Oracle. Check out an interview with Colin Blunstone from The Zombies here. Tickets are $49 to $89. At 8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 13, Bryan Adams will stop in to perform his pop-rock hits such as “Summer of ’69,” “Heaven” and “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You.” These radio staples are timeless, but seeing them live could give new life to them, and perhaps to your relationship—the show has potential to be a great date night. Tickets are $59 to $99. The Doobie Brothers, one of the most successful non-disco bands during the disco era, will hit the stage at 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 14. They’ll bring more than five decades of songs to the Special Events Center … but I doubt they’ll bring doobies, since I don’t think those are allowed inside. Tickets are $39 to $69. If you like Latin music, you’ll want to be there at 8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 20, when Luis Fonsi will perform songs spanning his 20-year career, including the world-wide smash hit “Despacito,” a remix of which famously featured Justin Bieber. Tickets are $49 to $99. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 21, alt-rock crooner Rob Thomas, formerly of Matchbox 20—a band you might remember if you watched VH1 in the ’90s—will perform in support of his fourth solo album, Chip Tooth Smile. Though he has a wide catalog of solo material, based on recent set lists, Thomas will probably throw in a few of Matchbox 20’s hits (“Unwell,” “3 a.m.,” and “If You’re Gone”), in addition to a rendition of his 1999 smash hit with Santana, “Smooth.” Tickets are $59 to $99. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

1980s pop legends Duran Duran will bring the band’s songs and co-occurring glam fashion to The Show at Agua Caliente at 8 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 5. This performance is only one of seven shows scheduled (as of this writing) for the British icons, whose songs include “Rio,” “Girls on Film,” “Hungry Like the Wolf.” Tickets were $85 to $115, but are listed as sold out … so if you want to go, you’re going to need to check the secondary markets. September in the Coachella Valley seems to really attract legendary acts, as Steely Dan will also play at The Show, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 21. The band is famous for its eclectic influences. Its endurance as a classic-rock act is indebted to legendary songs including “Reelin’ in the Years” and “Do It Again.” It will be interesting to see this iconic band perform in an intimate venue. If all of the concerts occurring this month haven’t already depleted your entertainment budget … tickets are $125 to $175. Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa Rancho Mirage, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

At 6 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 15, Morongo welcomes comedian Felipe Esparza. Read our profile on him here. Tickets start at $39, and were close to selling out at our press deadline. Although we don’t know the weather for that day yet, it will at least be 98 Degrees at 9 p.m., Friday, Sept. 20, when the ’90s boy band featuring Nick Lachey and company will stop by to perform the hits. Tickets are $29 to $49. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s, per usual, has a lot of good shows for fans of indie rock scheduled in September. At 9 p.m., Friday, Sept. 13, the female-led Merge Records band Ex Hex will perform its garage-punk alongside queer icon Seth Bogart (from Hunx and His Punx). This is an inside show, and tickets are $18 to $20. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 14, Pappy and Harriet’s will welcome Sharon Van Etten (below; photo by Ryan Pfluger)who has been gaining much acclaim lately from independent radio and media, most notably for the melancholic yet uplifting song “Seventeen.” Tickets are $32 to $36. Acclaimed lo-fi indie-pop musician Ariel Pink will perform in support of his new album at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 21. Support will come from Jennifer Herrema. This rare show from this “cult weirdo” promises to be interesting and will be worth the drive up the mountain. Tickets range $28 to $33. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

Open again after its usual two-month summer hiatus, the Purple Room at 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 7, will welcome Adam Pascal, an original cast member of Rent. He most recently performed in Pretty Woman: The Musical. The event, “So Far …” promises to be an “intimate, acoustic, career retrospective, including questions, answers, stories, and songs, in a one-of-a-kind event.” Tickets are $40 to $50. At 8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 20, Brenna Whitaker will stop by to perform her vast catalog of cover songs and originals. One of her biggest fans is Michael Bublé! Tickets are $25 to $30. Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-322-4422; www.purpleroompalmsprings.com.

Toucans is waking up from its summer entertainment slumber with a show by someone who’s becoming a Palm Springs regular: Ty Herndon will perform at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 20. The country singer twice topped the country charts with songs back in the ’90s; he came out as a gay man in 2014. Tickets are $30 to $40. Toucans Tiki Lounge and Cabaret, 2100 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-416-7584; reactionshows.com.

Published in Previews