With the release of his newest album, Colores, J Balvin connects the dots of music, art, culture and superstardom to create a product of pure happiness.
'Colores' is J Balvin’s sixth set, and his first album with no featured artists.
Over 100 million people watched the Super Bowl halftime show. What does it mean for you, as a Colombian reggaeton artist, to have been a part of that moment?
It means a lot. I’m always looking to elevate our culture; not just the fact that I’m Colombian, but the fact that I am Latino. Just keep leveling it up. It was perfect timing. Our culture and our movement is just going up and up and up. The fact that J.Lo gave us the call to be in the show was a blessing. And Shakira and Bad Bunny—it was the whole Latino Gang there. It was a great moment. There is never going to be a culture-breaking show. We are going to keep working and keep dreaming to create the legend.
Tell me about the Latino Gang.
When I refer to the Latino Gang, it’s more than a group of people—it’s a movement. We want to show the new face of Latinos. They used to put us in a box. You are Latin and so you are there in that box. Don’t put us in a box. Our music reaches the world. Numbers don’t lie. We are the most listened to artists on the planet, and our reach is only getting bigger and bigger. I want to show the word that it’s a cool generation. We have a healthy lifestyle; we have good taste. I want to elevate our culture. I want to show that we are a cool gang.
'Blanco,' the first song on the album, pays homage to Medellín, Colombia, where he was born.
Let’s talk about your new album, Colores.
The idea is that every song is a different color, a different mood, a different sound. Colors are a universal language, like numbers. It is going to be beautiful to see how people speak about the album. I love purple or white. It will be amazing to bring to life in a tour.
The album art is insane. How did it come to be?
My relationship with artists like Kaws and Master Murakami is amazing because they know I love what they do. And I am their customer too. It is important to show the world, as Latinos, that we are global. I want to teach the new generation about art. When they buy the physical album, they will have a Takashi Murakami original cover. This is about how to connect all the dots— music, art—and make a lifestyle and culture with one album.
You have collaborated with so many artists on the rise. Who was your mentor?
Working with Anitta and Rosalía and J Cortez and Bad Bunny— to see them grow makes me happy. We do it with love and respect, and now they shine. I love to be part of that history. For me, Pharrell Williams has always been a mentor. He is always believing in me. But a lot of the mentors I have are not related to music. They are the people who make me a better person when it comes to spirituality.
What advice do you have for young artists?
Accept that you don’t have to be in a box. Stay true to yourself. Be open and be humble. Don’t think that social media is enough. You have to work imagining that there is no social media—go old school. Work hard, but remember that you have to be happy.
Photography by: courtesy of Universal Music Group