The reggaeton music business, as we know it today, is mostly a Puerto Rican one; the most successful artists in reggaeton are Puerto Rican. So you can imagine how the dynamics of the genre could change if someone from another culture or country tries to join the club. It has the potential to become unpredictable. This is what Colombian reaggaeton star José Álvaro Osorio Balvín - a.k.a. J Balvin - arguably one of the hottest reggaeton stars around right now, is striving to overcome. He believes that being a Colombian is not a hindrance but rather a refreshing quality that can add a different dimension to the sound of a successful and still evolving international music genre.
That philosophy has been a beacon of light for J Balvin as he seeks to revitalize this Latin urban music category - and he's well on the way. He has already scored two #1 Latin Airplay Billboard singles, opened for one of the biggest tours of 2014 with Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull, won various Latin music awards, and has collaborated with some of the top mainstream artists such as Ariana Grande, Rihanna and Pharrell. He is also one of the most followed Latin artists in social media - period. He is so incandescent right now, he is even planning to headline his own tour this Fall.
Before his performance on this week’s Premios Billboard on Telemundo, where he is nominated in 11 categories, we had a chance to sit with J Balvin to discuss the reason his audience has connected with his songwriting so deeply, his relationship with social media, the significance of “familia” in his music and personal life, his thoughts on singing in English and the onerous task of proving a Colombian can reach the pinnacle in the Puerto Rican reggaeton industry.