From the Afro-Caribbean blocos of Bahia to the sophisticated jazz of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with its massive geography and multi-ethnic makeup, is home to a wealth of musical cultures. International pop sensation Alexandre Pires is taking it one step further: Already an icon in his homeland, Pires has reached out to Spanish-speaking music lovers with stunning results. Nominated for two 2003 Latin Grammys (Album of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal Album), Estrella Guia is on track to propel the sultry singer's career worldwide. Duets with hitmakers including Spain's Alejandro Sanz and Rosario widen the appeal and a winning roster of producers -- Emanuel Ruffignengo, Estéfano, Juan Vicente Zambrano, Danilo Ballo, Rudy Perez and Pedro Ferrerira -- has brought the music to life in recording studios in Europe, the United States and Brazil.
Pires (born Alexandre Pires do Nascimento) inaugurated his professional career in the late '80s with a local band named Só Pra Contrariar. The group climbed steadily from their 1993 self-titled debut to 1997, when they became a top charting act, selling in excess of 10 million records. In 1999, Só Pra Contrariar recorded an album in Spanish titled Juegos de Amo, featuring "Santo Santo," with Gloria Estefan. The two musical forces first met in Monaco when Estefan presented a World Music Award to the band.
Certainly, his televised duet with American Idol Kelly Clarkson on the 2003 Latin Grammy Awards has presented Pires to an even broader worldwide audience, but Estrella Guia reflects the spiritual side of the artist as well, with a transcendent suite of songs destined to project his career into the stratosphere.