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Alex Anwandter

With a musical style that melds bright '80s-inspired sounds, dancefloor-ready disco, chilly electronics, and lyrics that delve deeply into politics of all sorts, Chilean composer, singer, producer, and director Alex Anwandter makes truly left-field pop that's both thoughtful and escapist at once. After a stint with the popular band Teleradio Donoso, he struck out on his own and crafted a series of albums that showed off his skills as a producer and vocalist. By the time of his second record, 2011's Rebeldes, he was winning mainstream accolades and hitting the upper reaches of charts. With 2023's El Diablo en el Cuerpo, he showed that his giddy mix-and-match style and deep lyrical outlook had progressed to the point where he could be considered one of the leaders of the global pop scene. Born Álex Anwandter Donoso in Santiago, Chile in 1984, he is a classically trained musician who began studying the violin at the age of six. Around the same age, he became interested in pop music, with Michael Jackson's sound and style having a major influence on future works. He attended Santiago College, where he studied psychology, and went on to the Escuela Moderna de Música to study composition and theory. In 2005, he formed Teleradio Donoso with Martin de Real and Juan Pablo Wassaf. In addition to being its vocalist and guitarist, Anwandter was the band's producer. Their six-song self-titled EP was issued in 2005 and its meld of quirky new wave rock, funky pop, and hooky punk revivalism found favor on the internet and radio. The band issued two full-length albums in 2007 (Gran Santiago, which included the EP and six more tracks) and 2009 (Bailar y Llorar) before splitting in 2010. That same year Anwandter, recording under the name Odisea, released a self-titled debut solo album. Primarily foregoing the use of electric guitars for samples and synthesizers, it borrowed heavily from disco, post-disco, and post-punk. The artist returned to recording under his own name for 2011's single "Tatuaje," and his subsequent album Rebeldes, which leaned heavily in the direction of left-field pop artists like Robyn. The second single from the record, "Cómo Puedes Vivir Contigo Mismo," referenced the death of one of his fans, Daniel Zamudio, who was the victim of a brutal hate crime. Anwandter dedicated his performance at Chile's Lollapalooza Festival to Zamudio. In 2013, Anwandter began working on a songwriting project with fellow countryman and recording artist Gepe (Daniel Alejandro Riveros Sepulveda) as Alex & Daniel. Their debut single, "Mundo Real," was released in November, followed by a self-titled full-length in April of 2013. After a brief tour, Anwandter set down to make a film about the life and death of Zamudio. The finished project, Nunca Vas a Estar Solo y Que Estaba, was screened at the Festival de Cine de Guadalajara and won several prizes; it was released more widely in 2016. That same year, he released his third solo album, Amiga. It was both more political and poppy than previous works and reached the Top 20 of the Billboard Latin Pop Albums; it was also nominated for a number of Latin Grammys. By the time of 2018's Latinoamericana, Anwandter had relocated to Los Angeles. Alongside songs that further explored his own journey as a gay artist, he took a wider view of politics and modern Latin culture and created a musical backdrop that included both sleek electronic programming and traditional Latin instrumentation. The album was nominated for two Latin Grammys and his growing popularity began to earn him jobs producing other artists. He worked with Francisco Victoria on his 2018 album Prenda and Julieta Venegas on 2022's Tu Historia. The latter was one of the guest artists on his 2023 album El Diablo en el Cuerpo, a bubbling set of tracks influenced by '80s pop, classic disco, and timeless romantic ballads. The record also featured guest spots from Buscabulla, Christina Rosenvinge, and Javiera Mena.
© Tim Sendra & Thom Jurek /TiVo


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