He's the best-selling Spanish music artist in the world, with 40 million albums. And that number is about to go up. Enrique Iglesias's new record, "Insomniac," features a catchy mix of ballads, rock and pop—the song to download is the single "Do You Know (the Ping Pong Song)." Iglesias is on tour now, but he's stopping in Germany this Saturday to take part in Live Earth, Al Gore's series of concerts aimed at bringing attention to global warming, with acts that include Madonna, Duran Duran, Paul McCartney, The Police and Kelly Clarkson. Iglesias spoke to NEWSWEEK's Ramin Setoodeh.
NEWSWEEK: Why is your name album called "Insomniac"?
Enrique Iglesias: I've always had insomnia, since I was a kid. I'm a nervous person, so it takes me a long time to go to sleep. It sucks. I think it's genetic. My mom has it. I remember growing up with my dad, he'd never go to sleep until 5 o'clock in the morning.
Do you sleep in a lot?
The ironic thing about me is that I love daylight. I love waking up and going to the beach if I have the day off. I hate it when it's raining, it depresses me. But I can't fall asleep with any noise or light.
What do you do when you can't sleep—do you write songs?
I write songs. Or I pop a few sleeping pills.
Aren't they bad for you?
Oh, man. I take them every day. Obviously, it's better to sleep without a sleeping pill, but when you're touring, what the hell do you do?
You're not afraid of getting addicted?
They say Ambien, for example, is not a narcotic, it's not addictive. If you think it's addictive, it's in your mind. I feel like I've overused the drug so much, I'm immune to it. The worst is when you take a sleeping pill, you double up on it, and you still can't sleep. I pull all-nighters all the time. Like last week I was doing "Regis and Kelly." I got to New York City at 11 o'clock. By the time I went to bed, it was 12:30. I look at the clock: 1:30, 2:30, 3:30, 4:30. I'm supposed to be up at 5:30. You think, I'm going to pull an all-nighter. The next day, I have to work 14 hours straight. I'm telling you man, it's the worst. You get so tired you can't even fall asleep from how tired you are.
Where are you right now?
I'm in Miami. It's my first day off in two months. I've been traveling like crazy. I'm going to L.A., then New York, the Middle East and Germany. I won't stop touring until Christmas.
Do you have a favorite country for your tour?
Not really. Believe or not, they stick you in the room wherever you go. It's the same thing.
Didn't you perform at a gay club in London?
Oh, yeah. I was at G.A.Y. I actually had a good time. It was my first time performing at a gay club. But I didn't know what to expect. You get nervous, you have this adrenaline, you're going to perform for 3,000 gay men—you don't know if they're going to be silent, if they're going to boo you.
I doubt they were going to boo you.
But you don't know. You truly don't know. But I loved it. It's funny, the owner called my manager and said, "We figured Enrique is probably going to say no...." And I said, "Yeah. Are you kidding me?" I know the gay audience is very loyal. The guy that I work with, produce all the records with, he's gay. The first person I called was him. I was like, "Man, guess what we're doing." He was like, "We gotta do it. It's going to be great." When I went on stage, they were singing so loud I couldn't hear myself. My ears were ringing for two days, I promise.
What songs do you have on your iPod?
You know what, lately I've been listening to a lot of albums that I grew up listening to. Anything from Tom Petty to Bruce Springsteen. Police to Pink Floyd. The other day I went to a Roger Waters concert. I also listen to ... what else? I listened to some Spanish artists. You wouldn't know who they are.
Say their name. I'll put it in anyway.
Tam Tam Go.
How did you get involved with Live Earth?
I saw "An Inconvenient Truth" a year and a half ago. I wasn't really the biggest Al Gore fan, but when I saw the documentary, he's so passionate that you truly respect him. When I heard about the tour, I called my manager. It's not like they call me. I wanted to do it. But it's a little strange, because with all the concerts they're wasting a lot of energy.