Cher is no stranger to ABBA music. The 73-year-old singer crooned the Swedish pop group’s tunes in the movie Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, and now she is covering their 1979 hit Chiquitita in Spanish. The single marks Cher’s first Spanish-language song of her 55-year career. Proceeds from the single will benefit UNICEF. “I actually started learning and rehearsing the song when I was in England last year but didn’t record it then. It was difficult!” she said in a recent interview with Billboard.
Singing a song that she has sung before in English was admittedly “difficult” for Cher because she is “a perfectionist.” The Grammy winner confessed, “Singing in another language, trying to make it emotional and getting the words right… they have letters that make a completely different sound than I’m used to or than is done in English. We don’t roll any of our R’s.”
Cher continued, “We recorded it four times while my engineer and the woman who taught me the song were both in England over Skype. I kept going back and back over certain lines. I don’t speak Spanish, but forty years ago I knew a teeny bit of it. Still, my pronunciation is pretty good.”
The singer’s single was released May 8, while the video streamed the following day on UNICEF’s COVID-19 virtual special, UNICEF Won’t Stop. “UNICEF called and I told them I would donate my proceeds from the song like ABBA did with their Spanish version,” Cher shared. “I shot my part of the video at home and they later sent me the final cut with children from around the world in it. It’s such a beautiful, optimistic experience. It’s great when you can see anything positive now because all of the turmoil we are in.”
Aside from raising funds with her ABBA cover, Cher has also teamed up with Dr. Irwin Redlener to create a charity called CherCares Pandemic Resource and Response Initiative (CCPRRI), which aims to distribute $1 million to “chronically neglected and forgotten people” during the coronavirus pandemic. “There are rural areas where people of color and Latinos and Native Americans were getting no services,” Cher said. “It’s not a lot of money — $1 million goes in the blink of an eyelash! — so now I’m trying to get my friends to make it a lot more so we can do something that will really meet people’s needs. A friend once told me, ‘When people walk in your path, then you know what you have to do.’”