By B. Voss
Why did you name your new album “Insomniac”?
I’ve had problems sleeping since I was a kid because I was always hyperactive. But I made this album mostly at night, and I would come back home and I would turn on TV, and a lot of the time it was those wakeup exercise shows that you see in the morning or VH1 Insomniac Music Theater. I wanted to name it something I could identify with instead of just naming it after any track on the album.
Your first single, “Do You Know (The Ping Pong Song),” asks, “Do you know what it feels like loving someone that’s in a rush to throw you away?” But I have a hard time believing that you know what it feels like.
C’mon, we all know what it feels like. But for me, it’s not only about following someone who doesn’t give a shit about you, it’s also about when you’re in a relationship and you always ask, “I wonder if that person loves me more or if I love them more?” It’s about when you can’t find that balance, and that person doesn’t love you as much as you love them, it drives you absolutely nuts. And trust me, I have been through that.
Which track on the album will your gay fans enjoy most?
“Ring My Bell.” (Laughs) I’m kidding, I honestly don’t know. I just said that. I think it’s a sexy song, though. Hopefully they’ll like all of ’em!
Tell me about your performance at G-A-Y nightclub in London.
To tell you the truth, I was surprised it was such a big deal. I’ve read a few things, and even when the owner called us up to ask us, he kind of had that attitude of, “I might as well try, but I don’t think he’s gonna do it.” I was like, “Yeah, it’d be cool to do it!”
Was that the first time you’d actively gone after your gay fan base?
It wasn’t so much going after the gay fans. I just like doing stuff that’s different. In my career I don’t want to do the same thing all the time and bore myself. What really drew my attention was that the owner said, “Look, this is the biggest gay club in London, and you’re going to see one of the best crowds you’ve ever seen in your whole life.” And that made me really, really want to do it. I didn’t care if it was gay or straight. It was about playing in front of a great crowd. When I got on top of the stage and started to sing, I’m telling you, the guy was completely right. They were singing so loud, the next day my left ear, where I had my ear monitor, was ringing so much. It was absolutely crazy.
How did you choose the guy you sang “Hero” to onstage?
He was up on top of another guy having a good time, so I could clearly see him way, way back in the crowd. But if I ever pick out anybody at one of my concerts, I really just go with my instinct.
Was that the most intimate you’ve ever been with a guy?
Yeah, that was probably the most intimate that I’ve been with a guy. (Laughs) I’ve never serenaded a guy before, I’ll tell you that much.
How do your gay fans differ from straight girl fans?
That they’re guys? That would be the biggest difference. For me, fans are fans. And when you go to my concerts, you do see a few gay fans. I don’t see a lot, but I do see a bunch at times.
Do you have any gay friends?
I know a lot of gay people, and there are about two or three that I’m really close with. My front of the house engineer who I work with literally 24 hours in the studio and who actually produces a lot of my songs, he’s gay and he’s one of my best friends. I really respect him. I’ve known him for eight years, but he didn’t tell me he was gay until two or three years after we started working together. It’s funny because the minute I found out about that gig I called him up and said, “Carlos, man, you’re gonna love this gig!” He was excited.
Do the gay rumors ever bother you?
I don’t give a shit. I’ve never cared about the gay rumor. It’s so stupid. It’s funny because people are always infatuated with that. A lot of the guys that say that are the typical guys that are insecure with themselves. I’ve heard so many rumors about so many people being gay that it’s ridiculous. I’m sure you’ve heard a million.
If you were into guys, who would be your type?
If I was into guys? (Laughs) That’s a good question. Oh, dude, I don’t know what to tell you.
No, I don’t think so. What, he has to be Latin just because I’m Latin? (Laughs) I would have to go with the George Clooney type. Yeah, say that I’m lusting for George Clooney.
Speaking of rumors, did you ever think it would turn into such a huge deal when you said in an interview that you were going to endorse extra-small condoms?
Yeah, that was so stupid. But I say a lot of stupid things in my interviews. I didn’t literally say my penis was small, but I actually didn’t care that people said I had a small penis. Maybe it didn’t bother me because I don’t. But even if I did, I wouldn’t care. Give me a break.
I read somewhere that you got your start singing in a high school production of “Hello, Dolly!” Is that true?
No, that’s what they say, but I never did musical theater. I’ve read that in a lot of places, but I don’t know where the hell they got that from!
Finally, do you speak Spanish or English in the bedroom?
(Laughs) It all depends on where I am and who I’m with.