When you listen Alvaro Soler’s newest single, La Libertad, you’ll probably think of summer and be taken back to a carefree holiday. This sunny meaning can definitely be found in his lyrics, but did you know that there are way more layers to his song? And that it’s inspired by the impressive story of a Cuban refugee?

To honour the release of the extended version of his album Mar De Colores, I spoke to the man who has provided every summer with a soundtrack since 2015, with songs like El Mismo Sol, Loca and La Centura. In our honest conversation, he explains the meaning behind La Libertad, we talk about how good and how challenging it can be to be a member of our generation, and about why he doesn’t write political songs.

His summer sound already raises the heat in the summer, but I wouldn’t be surprised if his commitment, gratefulness and sincerity will also warm your heart.

Where do you find the inspiration for your music?

Alvaro Soler: “My songs are mostly personal stories and I also discuss experiences of people that I know. La Centura for example is completely self-ironic. It’s about the fact that I can’t dance and that that’s ok.

El Mismo Sol comes from my multicultural upbringing. When I was a teenager, I lived in Japan for a while where I experienced how different people from various cultures can connect through music. It really made me think about the power of music and inspired me to write that song.

A song like Au Au Au, which is also on the Mar De Colores extended version, isn’t autobiographical. I wrote it after friends from Berlin told me that they wanted a relationship, but that their hearts were broken all the time because the women they met didn’t want anything serious. Berlin is a very fast city, where people just live for some time and then leave again. That volatility makes that they don’t want to commit easily.”

What is your newest single La Libertad about?

“If you look at the literal translation of the lyrics, it seems to be about a road trip with friends. You might want to break out of the place where you grew up and want to discover the world. It is about that, but it’s also about being free and happy. Being fortunate of what you have and not taking that for granted.

I feel that in Europe, we’re very lucky to have been born here. There are places in the world where life isn’t this easy at all. I recorded my last three videos on Cuba. There, people can’t say anything they think, basic foodstuffs like eggs or bread aren’t available every day and there’s no WiFi.

When I was in Miami a while ago, I met a driver who was originally from Cuba. He was, just like me, 28 years old and tried to flee using a tractor wheel as a boat. After three days, he made it to land and thought ‘I’m here’, but it turned out that he was still in Cuba. They caught him and he had to go to jail for three years. Later he tried again with two friends and then made it to Miami. Since then, he’s never gone back because he hates it there.

I can’t really relate to his story because I have never lived through something like that, thank God. But it made me want to share this feeling of gratitude and say ‘I shouldn’t be complaining or thinking about my problems. I have to be happy that I’m living this life’.”

What an impressive story and what an inspiring thought. Let’s take a look at the meaning of the lyrics of La Libertad line by line. 

Ay, ay, ay, ay 

[Verse 1]

The four walls of our home
They weren’t enough to hold
We had something else inside ourselves, the curiosity was growing
The four walls fell 

This is about the curiosity of wanting something more and exploring something new. I’ve always been very curious.


Ay, ay, ay, ay
I remember that time
When we left to find
A bigger world beyond

 Ay, ay, ay, ay
Running with the wind
Towards freedom

 The wind symbolizes feelings of freedom. That you can do whatever you want and be free as the wind.

 And what the hell?

 ‘Y a mí qué más me da’ means something like ‘what the hell’. It continues in the next part and I want to say ‘What the hell if the things we’re going to discover are crazy? We weren’t going to stop anyway’.

If it was crazy, crazy
And we weren’t going to stop
If it was crazy, crazy
We were just going to fly

 There can be expectations from your upbringing or education, but there’s going to be a time that you break out for the first time. You think ‘what the hell’ and don’t feel bad about it, because it is not bad. You’re going out, discover stuff and get to know yourself better. That’s very important too. What might sound crazy at the beginning, appears to be very normal. 

Ay, ay, ay, ay
I remember that time
When we left to find
A bigger world beyond


[Verse 2]
The sky, the sky, open it up now
Because now we know how to fly

 We have finally learned how to do so.

I never forgot who I was, it will always be part of me

This is my favourite sentence, I wanted to give it a bit of a personal touch here. I will never forget who I am or who I was, and it’s always going to be a part of me. During concerts, I always talk a lot about my family and the values in my hometown. It’s the only stable thing I have in this music industry.

 The sky, the sky, open it up now


The bridge is an encouragement:

We’ll dance with the fear, the fear, oh

 I think the image of dancing with the fear is very strong, because it shows that you’re fearless and have the guts to do something.

The generation of the wind, of the wind, oh 

I believe we’re the generation of the wind. The generations of my parents and grandparents were definitely not, they were more like the earth. They lead a stable life, did the same jobs during their whole lives. Now, youngsters don’t even finish their studies at one school.

The wind is very volatile, but sometimes you still have to hold onto something. We were just talking about Berlin, it is a place where people of our generation just come and go. I find that very inspiring, it leads you to new places. At the same time this amount of freedom makes it harder to commit to something. Our generation often thinks something better will come along, they just need to find it. But then you turn 80 and haven’t found it yet.

It’s difficult, because you’re doing so many things and everyone wants to be happier. Sometimes we forget that we need to work on something that we have, even if it doesn’t make you happy in that moment. If you work it well, it will make you happy in the long run. That’s what I believe at least.

This has just begun
La Libertad – Alvaro Soler

This last sentence is an encouragement to give it full gas. La Libertad is an encouragement song actually.”

Do you feel that people who speak Spanish listen to your music differently from people who don’t have a clue about the meaning of your lyrics?

“Yes, I think they interpret it differently. I only get messages from people who have gone through the process of what I’m saying in my music. If you only listen to the melody, it stays more superficial.

In Spain, my music is part of pop music and here in the Netherlands I’m always the summer hit guy. I think that people who understand my lyrics have a very different image of me than people who don’t.”

What do you hope people get out of your music?

“I hope people get to have a good time with my music and that it lets them escape their problems. I sometimes hear that my music helps people through hard times, that’s something which is very powerful.”

Do you mind if people don’t listen to your lyrics?

“I can’t blame them if they don’t. I only started paying attention to lyrics when I was 16 years old and had started to write music. A whole new world opened up for me! But everyone is who he is and I’m also happy if they like my music. That’s a part of me as well.

I can’t expect people to learn Spanish, but I’ve heard that it happens sometimes using my songs and I think that’s really cool because I love languages. Languages are communication and communication leads to a better world. If my music can only attribute to that a little bit, then that’s a good thing.”

When I hear you talking and by knowing the story behind La Libertad, I feel you’re thinking a lot about life and society and that you have a strong opinion. Why don’t you share it in your music explicitly?

“I don’t want to be a political artist. I don’t want anything to be written about what I think of certain matters.

A song like Imagine by John Lennon is on the one hand political, on the other it’s not, because it’s about a general thing. The same counts for El Mismo Sol. It’s about uniting people, but I’m not specifically talking about North and South Korea for example.

To me music stands above politics. What I like about music is that everyone can interpret in the way they want and get out of it whatever is relevant to them.”

La Libertad and Mar De Colores – Extended Version are available via all streaming services now.

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Interested in more stories behind music of other artists? Read the interviews with Andreas Moe, Bastille and the Bear’s Den for their interesting stories!

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– La Libertad is written by Álvaro Tauchert Soler © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, 2018.

📸: Ben Wolf