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Simon Grossmann Goes On The Trip Of His Dreams In New Album 'Bahia Margarita'

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PATINETA")

SIMON GROSSMANN: (Singing in Spanish).

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

It is warming up outside, and a lot of Americans are gearing up for summer travel. And Venezuelan American Simon Grossmann has a new hot summer destination on his third studio album. It's a peaceful paradise he's calling "Bahia Margarita." Simon Grossmann joins us now. Welcome to the program.

GROSSMANN: Hey, Lulu. How are you? I'm very happy to be here.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I'm very happy to have you. So this album, "Bahia Margarita" - it's about a place you dreamed up during quarantine, right? Tell me about that place.

GROSSMANN: Yes. The album is kind of inspired by - there's La Isla Margarita in Venezuela. I used to spend a lot of time there in the - during the summers when I was a child. So, like, when I was locked up during the quarantine, I would just be, like, imagining this place. But most of my memories surrounding that place - they're mostly my childhood memories. So I was, like, thinking like, what would my adult self be doing in that place right now?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah, it's kind of - you went to your happy place during a hard time.

GROSSMANN: Yeah.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well, they're just really beachy and fun. And I'm thinking of "Las Olas," the waves. Let's listen.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LAS OLAS")

GROSSMANN: (Singing in Spanish).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Tell me about this song.

GROSSMANN: It's the only song in the album that was produced by me and the band. I rented a house over to - in Fort Myers, right by the beach. And we were there for three days, just wearing bathing suits and just recording the song. It was an amazing experience.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And it's born out of that. It's basically just this kind of happy song about the waves and about caring about people and...

GROSSMANN: Yeah, it's funny because most of my albums have been, like, about a relationship, about a special moment in my life. And this album, in terms of - like, the lyrics, are very loose. Like, I'm not taking myself too seriously.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You're based in Miami, and you moved there as a teenager from Venezuela. And you play music entirely in Spanish. What's it like to try and be in the music scene in the United States while singing in Spanish? You know, how do you juxtapose those two things?

GROSSMANN: I think being from Miami, it's very - some people even call Miami the capital of Latin America. So it's - I never felt out of place. I definitely - in the beginning, it was kind of hard to, like, see myself, this kid that grew up in Caracas, a very, very, very fast city. And you come to Miami. It's by the ocean. People are relaxed. And people speak Spanish, but they also speak English. So I was very confused. And I think most of the people who are like me kind of have that same feeling.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah. I grew up in Miami, and I always say to people that I didn't know until much later that not everyone in the world spoke Spanish, growing up there.

GROSSMANN: There's a lot of people moving to Miami right now because of the pandemic. And I see a lot of people that don't speak Spanish. I'm like, these people are going to have kind of a hard time adjusting to the city.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: The people from New York and California, welcome.

GROSSMANN: Yes.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Bienvenida a Miami.

(LAUGHTER)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So I want to listen to the song "Daikiri."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DAIKIRI")

GROSSMANN: (Singing in Spanish).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So tell me about this song. It's different than your acoustic guitar stuff.

GROSSMANN: Yes. Since I was having this, like, vibe that I wanted to do, like, music that reminds you of a place where you were having a drink or you're kind of starting to get ready for a party. So that was what I was going for with this song. Like, I wanted people to, like, loosen up and just dance a little bit.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter). There's also some flamenco rock type of sounds on this record. I'm thinking of "Claudia."

GROSSMANN: Yes.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Let's listen to that.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CLAUDIA")

GROSSMANN: (Singing in Spanish).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I love this song. Tell me about it.

GROSSMANN: I was on tour in Spain. After a show in Barcelona, I met this girl who's Claudia. And she lived in San Sebastian. And we had, like - we had a great night. And then the next day, she told me, you want to come to San Sebastian with me? And I had to leave to Madrid. I was coming back from Miami the next day. And I was about to get on the train with her to go to San Sebastian. And it kind of - and when I got to the train station to go back to Madrid, I kind of pulled out the guitar. And I really - I wrote most of the song over there, thinking about like, oh, I wish I would have gone to San Sebastian with her.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Did you send it to her?

GROSSMANN: Yes. You know, so she - you know, we're still in contact. We're still friends. On the release party, I - we did a release party in Miami. When we played this song, I said, if anybody's named Claudia, you have a free shot at the bar.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter).

GROSSMANN: I think the manager was happy with me.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Because you're setting us into the mood for the summer here, what song should we go out on and why?

GROSSMANN: Oh, my God, I really like "Modelos." It reminds me of, like, this old-school Coca-Cola summer commercial for some reason. And it brings me that, like - that same joy, and that reminds me of summer.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MODELOS")

GROSSMANN: (Singing in Spanish).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's Simon Grossmann. His new album is "Bahia Margarita." Man, takes me away to the summer for sure. Thank you so much for being with us.

GROSSMANN: Thank you for having me.

(SOUNDBITE OF SIMON GROSSMANN SONG, "MODELOS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.