Ten years after he released his very first single, Spanish singer-songwriter Pablo Alborán is still treating fans to new music. He capped off a decade in the industry with Vértigo, his fifth studio album and the first one released after his heartwarming coming out video.
An ambitious endeavor made all the more impressive given the way it was promoted and released amid a global pandemic, Vértigo was the product of an assured artist pushing himself and reminding us why he’ll be here for many more decades to come. Alborán may have become a pop sensation in his early twenties with lovelorn ballads, but the "Solamente Tú" and "Por fin" singer is entering a new stage in his career with confidence -- and plenty of pride.
Whether you’re a longtime fan of the Spanish heartthrob or a newbie eager to learn more about the GRAMMY-nominated performer, we’ve rounded up eight facts you should know about Pablo Alborán.
Born in Málaga, Alborán always had a musical ear. He wrote his very first songs when he was just 12 years old, which he'd go on to include on his debut album, Pablo Alborán. Like many musical artists in the 21st century, Alborán got his start on social media.
After finding some success uploading his songs to MySpace and later YouTube, Alborán signed with Warner Music and eventually set out to record in earnest his self-titled album. The 2011 release made the then-21-year-old an overnight sensation, eventually becoming the highest-selling record of 2011 in Spain. A decade later, "Solamente Tú" continues to be one of Alborán's biggest hits; the video for the debut track has over 500 million views on YouTube.
The first single for Vértigo, “Si Hubieras Querido,” is quintessential Alborán. Like his most famous ballads, the new song finds the dashing Alborán bemoaning the loss of a relationship he now realizes was never meant to be. "No merecen nuestros labios tanto daño," he sings. "¿Quién diría que en un día mueren años? ¿De quién te has enamorado?" he sings, which translates to, "Our lips don't deserve so much damage. Who could've foreseen that a day could kill so many years together? Who have you fallen for?"
It harkens back to his early hits, including "Saturno," where he mourned the ending of a relationship, and "No vaya a ser," where he hopes his love doesn't break up with him again. There's something mournful and soulful about an Alborán song, as if the young singer-songwriter was exorcising personal disappointments with his lyrics.
The Spanish performer is not as brooding as his songs would suggest. Take, for instance, Terral. If the name of Alborán’s adorable dog sounds familiar, it’s because it’s also the title of the singer’s third studio album. That said, that doggo by any other name would be just as photogenic.
Already a scene-stealing presence on the artist’s Insta, Terral is, by Alborán’s own admission, his very best friend. And it’s not hard to see why as the chocolate lab clearly enjoys his time with Alborán and keeps up with his many attempts to make him a viral sensation.
Alborán's first album featured the likes of Carminho, Estrella Morente and Diana Navarro, the kind of collaborations that already hinted at the artist's interest in contemporary pop takes that echoed genres like flamenco and fado.
In the years since, Alborán has worked with everyone from Jesse & Joy and Ricky Martin to Alejandro Sanz and Maná. Keeping such company helped further cement Alborán as a powerful voice within Spanish pop music and helped him no doubt secure features with some forward-pushing artists like Dua Lipa, who invited him to perform alongside her at the Los 40 Music Awards back in 2018.
Alongside Ava Max, Alborán Crafted a Mad Max-like Dystopia
Teasing a mysterious project in 2019, Alborán took to his Instagram to share a few comic book-styled illustrations that offered clues about a dream he claimed to have had and hoped to share with his fans. The dystopian world of “Tabú,” his collaboration with Ava Max, let Alborán show off an ambitious visual style that captured the bilingual song’s dazzling imagery.
“I die every night and every day, staring you down from the moon. Just tell me that you're on the way. Only you can break the taboo,” Max sings while a shirtless Alborán fights in the rain against a kind of gladiator enemy set on beating him. (Bonus: Ava Max seems to have anticipated 2020 as she sports a golden mask before any of us dreamt we’d have to don one every day while outside.)
Despite being quite the social media fiend -- those early MySpace/YouTube days taught him well -- Alborán remains quite candid about how casually he treats his Instagram page. In addition to promo shots and the occasional workout pics, he’s more often than not indulging his inner goofball on the site, poking fun at himself.
Such approach to his page is no doubt what endears him to his fans and what made his coming out video feel so genuine.
Alborán’s Coming Out Doubled as a Plea for Inclusivity
Acknowledging he’s always had a supportive group of family and friends, the “Saturno” singer noted that while he's been luckier than most, he hoped to push for a more positive message all around. "I hope I can make somebody's journey easier with this message," he said at the time. "But above all that, I do this for me."
Like many other artists releasing work in 2020, Alborán had to think differently as to how to promote his latest project. Unsurprisingly, he relied heavily on his social media channels. Not only did he use his Instagram to plant clues about his very first single, “Si Hubieras Querido,” getting fans to unlock new tidbits about the song in the days leading up to its release, but he also recorded a virtual showcase of the album that gave fans a taste of what live renditions of the new album sound like.