Early in his career, Enrique Iglesias visited Las Vegas. This was as he wrapped up his self-titled debut album, which was being mixed between Los Angeles and San Francisco. During his time in L.A., Iglesias took on a road trip with a buddy to a famous Strip casino.
“We had $600 between us, and by the end we barely had enough gas to make it home,” says Iglesias, headlining Friday and Saturday at the Theatre at Resorts World Las Vegas. “I’m telling you, this was a long time ago, but I even remember the casino, Caesars Palace. We were down for a little bit, then up, and ended up playing for hours until we ran out of money.”
Iglesias mixed blackjack and baccarat that night, which played out like the Vegas scenes in the movie “Swingers.” Asked if he’d seen that movie, Iglesias laughs. “Yeah, yeah. It was our ‘Swingers’ night.”
More from our recent chat with Iglesias from his home in Miami, where he lives with his wife, former pro tennis star Anna Kournikova, and their three young children:
Johnny Kats: It’s your first show at the Theatre, which has drawn high praise from many of your contemporaries who have played there. What are your thoughts about the venue?
Enrique Iglesias: I’ve not seen it yet, but I’ve heard some good things about it. My production people are raving about it. They say it’s cool, state of the art, and you do more production stuff in there than in other venues, when it comes to pyro, for example. That’s cool because there are crucial moments in the show where we need that. My production team says it’s a lot like the Colosseum, which I’ve played lots of times, but you can do more stuff.
Do you have a favorite Vegas performer or show that has particularly inspired you?
You’re going to think I’m crazy, but I have not seen that much. I have seen Cirque du Soleil’s “O,” and was blown away, when it first started. I’ve been to a few clubs and seen some DJs, but most of the time, when I go to do my shows, I don’t go to other shows.
I understand you have been approached about headlining an extended engagement or residency here. Is that right?
Yes, I have. Multiple times.
What has that conversation been like?
I don’t mind playing in the same spot for maybe a couple of nights. But when it becomes more than that, I don’t like being in a certain place more than three days. I just get homesick really fast. I always need to come back home. Even now, when I tour somewhere in Europe or somewhere other than the U.S., I always kind of schedule it in a way that I can come back home and be here for a few days.
You have had such a successful career for so long, what is your most-prized possession?
As far as a material possession, it would be my house.
And nonmaterial thing?
My children, they are first.
Are they showing they might be athletic, or artistic, at this stage?
It’s interesting. They are still very young. We have 4-year-old twins and a 2-year-old, and I can tell you they love music. But what 4-year-old doesn’t like music? But that is the one thing they connect with most at this point in their lives. If they want to be musicians, be in showbiz, I would encourage it. But it’s a tough business. If they want to be athletes, their mom was a professional athlete, and it is tough to make it. But I have no preference. I would encourage them to do whatever they want to do.
What is the best advice your father (the legendary singer Julio Iglesias) has given you over the years?
There wasn’t anything particular that he said. It was more watching him up close and being able to see just what revolved around the entertainment world.
Yes, when I was a kid, I would go to his shows, and I could see that after the show he would meet people that we knew weren’t actually watching the show. They were just there to meet him. They would say, “Oh, my God! That was amazing! We loved it!” And my dad would say, “They are so full of it.” He could tell what was going on, who was telling the truth and who wasn’t. It was interesting to watch. I learned a lot about people in the business, and a lot about people, period. There’s a lot of BS in this business. You have to make sure that you surround yourself with real people. You want people who will always be honest, who will always be transparent, especially if you want a long career and want to stay sane.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.