Acclaimed pianist Arthur Hanlon talks about the newest editions to his ‘Legados’ series, what inspired him to start playing Latin music, working with other artists like Fonseca and Orishas, other artists he wants to work with, what fans can expect from his upcoming ‘Piano Magic’ tour and more!
I kinda feel like, you know, the Wizard of Oz when like the house … and she lands in. I get to New York and all the sudden I’m in Latin musiclandia. Hey, everybody, I’m Arthur Hanlon and you’re watching Billboard News.
I’m Lyndsey Havens for Billboard News, and today we are joined by, I’m gonna say, Latin, Pop fusion pianist Arthur Hanlon. How are you doing?
I’m fine Lyndsay and I love that, I’m gonna steal it.
Please use it. It’s very hard to encompass all that you do, which we’ll get into. But I feel like that touches on some of what is drawing me to your music for sure.
It’s nice, it’s concise.
You had a very busy 2023, you released two EPs, in this ‘Legados’ series, started with the bachata one into pop. So I’d love to hear the inspiration for that series. And why did you decide to jump in with bachata?
Well, you know, my story is kind of different. I’m Irish-American with a passion for Latin music, which I discovered in New York and, you know, have 10 albums now and two HBO specials, a bunch of stuff. And I’m thinking what can I do? You know, it’s almost like a momentum memento. … This project is a series, you know, ‘Legados,’ which is legacies of songs that have inspired me when I really first got into heavy, heavy in the Latin music. And I decided in New York, you know, I’m going Latin, I’m going to create this fusion thing. And I’m not turning back. And so, you know, that was in New York in the early ’90s. I studied classical piano, Manhattan School of Music. My teacher was in Washington Heights. Washington Heights was this weird area because it is very classical, you know, Manhattan School, Juilliard, all these things and Dominicans and Colombians and the bachata, salsa, merengue was like pouring out into the street. And so this is the first songs I’ve heard. I walk in, I moved from Detroit playing lots of Motown. I heard that one that was Juan Luis Guerra. And I heard all this stuff like, oh my God, this is glorious. Yeah. So I wanted to start ‘Legados.’ This is like my personal, you know, songs that inspired me since I really really, you know, gotten involved with latin music.
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Editor’s Note: Arthur Hanlon is married to Billboard‘s vp/Latin industry lead, Leila Cobo.