MADRID — Famed Spanish singer-songwriter Alejandro Sanz and Javier Limon, one of its most significant music producers, are teaming with “The Young Pope” producer Mediapro on an original primetime entertainment format, “Son of Songs.”
A music talent contest that celebrates the vast range of styles open to modern artists, “Son of Songs” will be produced by Mediapro, Gazul Producciones, which represents Sanz, and the Limon’s U.S.-based record production label, Casa Limon.
“Son of Songs” also marks one of the earliest formats to emerge from Mediapro as its drives into upscale TV production. Laura Fernandez Espeso, Mediapro intl. content director, and “Homeland” producer Ran Tellem, development director at Mediapro, will executive produce for Mediapro.
With Sanz also taking an executive producer credit, “Son of Songs’” format features eight young talents, drawn from different styles of music, who pay tribute to a guest star performing their greatest hits in different styles. The format is based on the idea that the musical idea of any song can be interpreted in any style: Jazz, blues, hip-hop, Latin, dance, or flamenco, Mediapro said in a statement Thursday in the run-up to MipTV.
Now in development, but with first images and content recorded in Boston by young musicians at its prestigious Berklee College of Music, “Son of Songs” yokes the talents and channels the music passions of two key Spanish music industry figures who have successfully crossed over to the U.S, and Latin America.
Selling 25 million albums to date, and winning 23 Grammy Awards – 20 Latin, three American – Sanz broke through internationally with 1997’s “Mas.” Including “Corazón Partío,” it sold two-million-plus copies in Spain, making it the most-sold album in history. It also vindicated a style which, however much based on romantic ballads laced with flamenco tropes, has seen experimented throughout Sanz’s career with fusions of jazz, R & B, soul and pop – an inclusiveness which has led Sanz to record with multiple artists from Alice Keys to Shakhira, Michael Jackson to The Corrs.
The winner of 10 Grammys, Limon’s Casa Limon has presented Lagrimas Negras and Buika, and produced concerts, documentaries and TV. A producer, composer and performer, the key to his work has been its diversity, in both the geographic origin and styles of the great artists he has collaborated with, from Paco de Lucia, Enrique Morente and Joaquin Sabina in Spain to Cuba’s Bebo Valdés, Mexico’s Chavela Vargas, the U.K.’s Nick Lowe and India’s Anoushka Shankar. He also serves as artistic director at the Berklee College of Music.
The vast contacts which Sanz and Limon can call upon is an obvious asset for “Son of Songs.”
“The essence of this format is based on our own belief in songs and artists. And also our wish to get the emotion of music closer to people. We believe in the surprise and talent of participants to transform great songs and see how they’re born again in any other style,” said Sanz.
Limón added: “Supporting young talents is an important motivation to create this format, which includes among its main goals acquainting audiences with the great musical idioms that during the last century have marked the evolution of music around the world.”
Fernandez Espeso has extensive experience in film and TV on titles by Francis Ford Coppola, Danis Tanovic, Juan José Campanella and, out of Spain, Emilio Aragón. Winning an Emmy Award for “Homeland,” Tellem also participated in entertainment formats “Boom!” and “Rising Star.”