Billboard recently published an interview with Rudy Perez, the man who helps English-speaking stars such as Christina Aguilera translate their songs into Spanish; his reworking of Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable” is now ascending the Latin Music chart (which, quite frankly, doesn’t surprise us):
HOW DID “IRREPLACEABLE” BECOME “IMPRESCINDIBLE?”
I have it all written out in phonetics. We read the lyrics together, and I tell her exactly what she’s saying. Even if you don’t explain it, she’ll ask you because she’s very meticulous. So she knows that if the phrase is largate, it means “get the hell out of my face.” She says it with that same emotion.
I worked hard in trying to find the least amount of troubling words. For example, “to the left.” How the hell do you say “to the left” in Spanish? A la izquierda, a la izquierda? That doesn’t fit the music. It’s an awkward word, and it didn’t make sense. So I wrote, “Ya lo ves, ya lo ves”…
DID YOU HAVE TO PRACTICE ROLLING R’S WITH BEYONCE?
I did this exercise with her, “Erre con erre cigarro, erre con erre barril, rapido corren los carros.” She’d be laughing, and I’m like, “Beyonce, trust me, do this.” She stands there literally sometimes six hours nonstop in front of the microphone trying to get this right.
Perez is no doubt exaggerating, but we’re now stuck with the image of poor B standing in front of a studio microphone mic for days on end, endlessly repeating Spanish phrases until Matthew Knowles lets her out for a five-minute meet-and-greet. Or until she passes out. Whichever comes first.
The secret behind Beyonce’s Latin crossover hit [Billboard via Reuters]