Despite quarantine and social distancing caused by the current health crisis, Cepeda has found many ways to stay connected with his fans. He hosted an intimate virtual concert that reached over 70,000 viewers, he teamed up with Fonseca in the hopeful song “Te Entrego Mi Corazón,” to not only show solidarity with the people of their country but also raise social awareness about the global pandemic, and he’s hours away from dropping his new studio album TRECE, marking his thirteenth production set to release on May 13.
“This number doesn’t have a special significance in my life but when I realized that it was the thirteenth album of my career, I thought it would be a wonderful name,” Cepeda tells Billboard in an exclusive interview. “A lot of people perceive this number as something negative but for me, it represents my professional journey. ‘Trece’ is a tribute to my career and it’s such an honor celebrating so many years.”
Despite the number 13 linked to the album’s name and release date, the set is home to 12 tracks, including fresh collaborations with Cali & El Dandee, Sebastian Yatra, Morat, Jesse & Joy, and Monsieur Periné.
“I imagined this album by first doing collaborations with a group of young artists that I admire,” he says. “Then, from that learning experience and exchange of ideas, I made the rest of the album.”
With pop ballads such as the opening track “Déjame Ir” to the urban-vallenato “Magia” with Yatra, Cepeda’s TRECE explores new rhythms while remaining faithful to his romantic essence.
“Romanticism is what I have in common with each of these artists and the fact that each of them has something special that calls out my attention,” he says. “Morat reminds me of my roots and the beginning of my career, Jesse & Joy and I connect in the way of writing and singing, and there are certain elements, languages, and urban-pop rhythms that attract me from Monsieur Perine, Cali & El Dandee and Sebastian Yatra. I really wanted to push all of these sounds into my album.”
“Mil Maneras de Morir,” his collaboration with Monsieur Periné was the first track he wrote for the album, about two or three years ago, and the last that he finished. His single “El Equivocado,” which music video dropped May 11, is the last song he added to the set.
“All of those songs are there for a reason but the one I like the most, in particular, is ‘El Equivocado,’ It’s a different love song than the one people are used to listening to. It’s a song about a person who admits to their love interest that they are not ‘the one.’”
For Cepeda, the secret to keeping his romantic authenticity throughout the years relies on persistence, passion and being surrounded by people with good energy who keep him motivated. As for his quarantine life with his family in Bogota, Colombia, Cepeda says these uncertain times have definitely given him time and space to concentrate on new music and spark his creativity.
Watch the music video of “El Equivocado” from his upcoming album TRECE below.