The year was 2007. Beyoncé geared up for a crossover that would take the Texas-born singer into the homes of millions of new Latin American, Latino and Spanish fans. As part of her exploration into Latino culture, Beyoncé recorded eight songs – one of them becoming the singer’s official entry into Latin music.
“Amor Gitano” – her duet with Mexican singer Alejandro Fernández – premiered as the theme song for Zorro: La espada y la rosa, a Telemundo novela, in February 2007. The single was a play on flamenco pop, produced by Beyoncé and Cuban composer Rudy Pérez. To this day, “Amor Gitano” is the best-selling single of all time in Spain. Still, it only reached No. 23 on the US Billboard Latin Pop charts.
And while her love for Latino culture wasn’t surprising in 2017 when Beyoncé hopped onto J Balvin and Willy William’s “Mi Gente,” it came as a surprise 10 years before. But it didn’t come out of nowhere. Beyoncé’s Latin crossover was influenced by her Texan roots, with Selena and her childhood best friend, who is Mexican, serving as inspiration. She also took Spanish class in high school and tapped into Tejano culture and performed at rodeos, just as Selena did before her. In a 2007 interview with People en Español, she said she felt connected to Latino culture because of her Houston roots. “Just the heart and the rhythm of the music and the drums and the spiciness it reminds me of Creole,” she said. “It reminds me of my heritage and where I come from.”
Since then, Beyoncé hasn’t released another Spanish-language album (though we’re definitely holding out hope for that) and hasn’t toured Latin America since her Mrs. Carter World Tour in 2013 (though she did visit Spain during her On the Run II tour with Jay Z this summer). But Bey’s short-lived romance with Latin and Spanish music remains one of the best stages – or at least, most memorable – of her career, with “Amor Gitano” setting the stage. Below, check out five facts about “Amor Gitano.”