Juan Pablo di Pace made headlines last year when he co-starred in Paramount Network’s Dashing in December, one of multiple LGBTQ holiday films to premiere on TV in 2020. In addition to kissing cuties under the mistletoe and charming viewers on Fuller House and Mamma Mia!, the Argentinian actor is also an accomplished singer. Di Pace previously released singles “Broken” (2017) and “Just a Feeling” (2018), and now, he’s working on his new EP, Vascular. The first track off of the collection, “Fall on Me,” is an emotional piano ballad — and his just-released second single, “Te Sentí,” overflows with sultry flamenco vibes. What’s more, the accompanying visuals serve major “Take a Bow” energy.
Di Pace spoke with NewNowNext about his steamy new music video, what to expect from his upcoming EP, and if a Dashing in December sequel is in the works.
The “Te Sentí” video gives me major Madonna “Take a Bow” vibes. Is that what you were going for?
I love that you say that. Well, I grew up with those videos from MTV. I’m very influenced by them. And also I love treating music videos as films rather than just a promotional tool to sell the song. I really love just sort of thinking in detail what I want to say, because then of course, when the audience listens to the song in their head, they’re going to see the music video. It doesn’t hurt as well that I came to Spain to visit my folks just before I shot the video. It evolved into this flamenco fantasy because I was introduced to Peter Losada, who is a major flamenco musician here. And so I had to, of course, really dive into the same visual in the video.
What’s the story in the video? Is it a love triangle?
Take away whatever you want. I didn’t want to be too specific or too literal. You can interpret it as you want. I mean, obviously, there’s a love story between two men. The few people that have watched it, they all have a different take on what happens. So I’m good with all of them.
You co-directed it with Manolo Pavón. How did you two end up working together?
Well, Manolo and I have worked together as subject and photographer for the last, I would say, eight to 10 years. Every year or so, we meet up and he takes my pictures. He is also an amazing director of photography, and he works with Pedro Almodovar by being the onset photographer for his films. The first time we worked together on a music video was for my previous single, “Fall On Me.” I’m just really privileged that he was able to fulfill my vision because he’s got a great artistic eye, and it’s rare that you meet someone that you can totally trust who has what you have here and can make it into a reality.
Is this your first song in Spanish?
Yeah. It’s the first time I sing in Spanish, even though it’s my language.
Why did you wait until now?
Well, because I’m quite slow in terms of music. I’ve tried in the past to release songs that I wrote in English and then translate them, do that thing where you do the same song in a different language. And I just thought that’s disrespectful. If I do a song in Spanish, I need to write a song in Spanish. So I wrote this specifically in the language with Paulina Aguirre, who is a Grammy-winning songwriter. It was very important to do it in Spanish because first, I had never done it in a recording. And second, it’s a subject matter that also is very personal and is based on an experience that I have. Like most people, you fall for someone and the thing doesn’t end how you want it to end.
How does being a member of the LGBTQ community influence your songwriting? Were you ever hesitant to write about a same-sex love story in a song?
I think, to be honest with you right now, I feel like the more honest you are with your audience, the better. As an actor, I can always hide behind a character and a script and everyone knows that’s not me. But with music, you are opening your heart and it’s your taste in the material — how you’re singing it, what you’re singing about, the type of visuals that you want to accompany. It’s been a journey for me personally as well, to be very transparent with the people who listen to my music. That is both cool, but it’s also vulnerable because you’re dealing with feelings and emotions. Also, what I do love about music is that people will connect to themselves to it. Everyone will have their own reading. It’s beyond the words that are in the song. It’s the vibration if you want to say something metaphysical.
You said you’re slow with releasing music, but you have an EP coming out. Can you tell me a little more about that?
I’ve got an EP coming out around April, and I’m releasing each song with a special video. So this is the second one. I’ve already shot the third, and I’m shooting the fourth next week. The EP’s called Vascular, and it’s the system of the heart, the lymphatic system because every song touches upon a different kind of love. There’s the love for partner or the love for a family member, the love for the self, the love for the art. Each video talks a little bit about my interpretation of that kind of love. I’m also very interested in the life of artists in general. So the first video was about a photographer. The second video is about a dancer. The third video will be about a painter because I was born in a family of artists. My mom’s a painter and my sister’s an actress. My grandma was a dancer.
These are all things that interest me, and they’re all quite visual as well. So that’s why they end up in these videos — like with the flamenco, for example, yes, it’s a beautiful art form, but it also is very dramatic and it explains a lot without saying anything in just the way someone is, like, stomping the ground.
I have to ask about Dashing in December. What was it like being part of a project like that?
It was amazing. It was a really beautiful shoot. And then it had a relevance that we didn’t really know it would have. It was part of a very important conversation. I feel like these holiday LGBTQ+ movies were one of the positives of 2020. We get to the end of the year, we’ve had this horrible year, and all of a sudden it was time for us to reclaim the happy in a way. And Dashing was very much that. The general consensus of people who got in touch with all of us about the film, it wasn’t a film about self-loathing, it wasn’t a film about illness or anything, or finger-pointing. It was a movie about two men trying to see if they work together and falling in love and seeing that they’re very different, and sure you wrap it up with the Christmas bow, but I think that’s what connected to people. And a lot of people wrote to us saying, “You know, you are talking about me and my husband, what you’re saying in the movie is the adult kind of way to deal with love subject. It’s not like a teenager take on a romance story.”
Have you kept in touch with your co-stars and the director?
Is there any talk of a sequel?
Well, there’s always been a talk of a sequel. And the fact that we got nominated for a GLAAD award — it’s really like an extra nudge to Paramount [Network]. It would be nice. We’ve always fantasized with the idea of a sequel. What would happen with these two? Would the sequel be in New York? Would Andy McDowell’s character get married? There are so many things that could happen. So, yeah, there’s talk, but I’m waiting for that call.
I mentioned “Take a Bow,” and I saw you post a couple of Madonna-related things on your Instagram. So I have to ask, what’s your favorite Madonna album or Madonna era?
How long do you have? Well, before you continue, I’m just going to put it out there. If she wants to do another duet with a Latino man, I put my hand forward. Madonna has been like a great fountain of inspiration for a lot of people, for me, for sure. My favorite Madonna era I would say is the sort of Like a Prayer, I’m Breathless/Dick Tracy, “Vogue,” early ’90s. The album is Ray of Light. And also give me a Madonna ballad. I can listen to her ballads forever. I would like her to do a ballads tour.
So I’ll tell Madonna that you’re free…
Tell her to give me a ring.