Despite the online hate that Camila Cabello received for leaving Fifth Harmony, her latest Instagram post clearly shows that her former life as a member of a girl group is a thing of the past.
The Cuban-American singer posted a sneak peek of her new collaboration with Pitbull and J Balvin on Instagram and it’s lit! The song is titled “Hey Ma” and it’ll be featured in the latest installation of “The Fast and the Furious,” which hits theaters on April 14.
Damn! We can’t wait to see the finished product by this trio. In a new interview with Billboard, Cabello said that her solo career isn’t about feuds or disrespect to her former bandmates of four years, but simply about her.
“I’m most looking forward to just finding more about myself as a person,” Cabello told Billboard. “In creating these songs I’ve really had to dig deep into what I want to talk about and what I want to say. And not just how I’m feeling but what do I want to tell the world about myself. Like who am I? My culture, my heritage. I just want to make music that I would want to listen to.”
You can’t hate on anyone for wanting to get what’s theirs.
J Balvin’s new documentary, ‘The Boy From Medellín’, shows the Colombian singer’s rise to fame, his mental health struggles, and how he deals with social responsibility amidst political upheaval in Colombia, and more.
In this up close and personal look into a week in J Balvin’s life, we see the global Reggaeton superstar prepare for the biggest concert of his life in his hometown called ‘El Niño De Medellín‘, the pressures of fame and having a platform amidst Colombia in crisis, and the stark difference between José, the person, and J Balvin, the artist.
Here are the 5 things we learned from watching the documentary.
At the beginning of his career, J Balvin lived in the United States as an undocumented immigrant.
Something that perhaps many people are not aware, is that J Balvin lived in the U.S. for a short period of time as an immigrant, hoping that he could make his dream of becoming a singer come true. He would work painting houses during the day and then perform at clubs at night.
J Balvin mentioned in the documentary how during this time period his anxiety and depression were at an all-time high. How the pressures of “making it” got to him, and he felt hopeless for going back home to Medellín empty-handed, with no signs of success in the US.
During a press conference, J Balvin said that his immigrant experience shaped him to never give up.
“Just as I worked illegally in the United States and had to go through many tests, here we continue to fight and work for it,” J Balvin says. “My message is one of struggle, not to give up but to continue insisting.”
The throwback videos in ‘The Boy From Medellín’ show a young José dreaming of the career he now has.
“People from Medellin know that I started from the bottom. It wasn’t luck. It was just heart, sacrifice, hard work, and a big dream. You may love me, you may not love me, but you gotta know I worked hard for it. That’s a fact.”, says J Balvin in the documentary.
While filming The Boy From Medellín in 2019, Colombia was dealing with protests, much as the country is doing currently, and J Balvin had to deal with social responsibility and using his platform.
Once José moved back to Medellín from the US, he started performing anywhere they’d let him: schools, corner stores, malls, anywhere where they had a mic for him. One of his very first radio hits happened with local duo Fainal y Shako called “Una Obra de Arte“.
In the documentary, there’s a full circle moment when J Balvin performs “Una Obra de Arte” and brings Fainal y Shako on stage during the ‘El Niño de Medellín‘ concert.
In November 2019, Colombians took to the streets to protest against the government. As ‘El Niño de Medellín’ concert approached, many concerts and events were being canceled or postponed due to some protests escalating and turning violent, with many people injured and deaths. At the time, many Colombians felt as if J Balvin was just living in a bubble, unaware of what was going on. In fact, The Boy From Medellín shows the “Mi Gente” singer scrolling through his feed, reading what people were saying about him.
One particular comment got to him from local Medellín rappers that felt as if he was “lukewarm” for not speaking up or taking the people’s side. J Balvin felt conflicted as he “didn’t sign up to be a politician”, but still felt compelled to find the right words to say something. In the documentary, we see Balvin change his views on using his platform to voice the opinions of his fellow countrymen, and standing up for what’s right.
In one scene, J Balvin shares a post on his Instagram account of young protestor Dilan Cruz, whose death at the hands of the police sparked outrage around the country. J Balvin’s manager, Scooter Braun, tells him that while it was right to share a tribute for Dilan, J Balvin failed to acknowledge the situation and who was behind Dilan’s death. Braun tells him: “J Balvin has a platform, but José needs to speak”.
During the press conference for the documentary, J Balvin reflected on his social responsibility: “It is still an apprenticeship because we did not choose to enter the world of politics. Our choice was purely musical and entertainment. What happens is that today we have a bigger and more powerful platform than that of any politician. That is when you have to begin to understand the social responsibility that you have as a public figure. It was not easy, it has not been easy, but here we continue to learn.”
J Balvin continues to be open about his mental health struggles with anxiety and depression.
By far, J Balvin has been one of the main stars in the Latin music industry to be completely open about how he deals with anxiety and depression for many years. In ‘The Boy From Medellín‘, we see J Balvin talk openly about his anxiety with his team and family, taking his medication, and we’re even introduced to his spiritual advisor.
Even when it comes to checking his work schedule, José makes time every day to practice meditation and isn’t shy to ask for help or let his people know that he’s not in a good place mentally. Right before the biggest concert of his career, J Balvin made sure to meditate right before taking the stage.
One of the many struggles Balvin faces is separating J Balvin, the artist persona, from José, the human being, but he works hard in trying to find the right balance.
J Balvin’s favorite song is Héctor Lavoe’s “El Cantante“, and it makes so much sense.
J Balvin revealed in ‘The Boy From Medellín‘ that Hector Lavoe’s salsa anthem “El Cantante” is one of his all-time favorite songs because he relates to it so much.
“I was very young when I heard it and I never thought it was going to touch me, that is why it causes me a lot of nostalgia when I listen to it after I have grown up and realize that this message was direct for me and for many.”, J Balvin shared.
The song’s lyrics talk about people coming to see the singer take the stage, but people never wondering how’s that person doing. As an entertainer, J Balvin is aware of what his job entails, but just wishes that people could see him as another human being with feelings, that even with all the fame and money in the world, he also has moments of sadness and defeat.
“I am the singer popular everywhere, But once the show is over, I’m like any other human being”
‘The Boy From Medellín’ premieres on Amazon Prime on May 7th, J Balvin’s birthday.
Welcome to Nu Music Fridays, where we give you our best picks of the week in Latin music released on Friday, May 7th. Check out our full list below!
J Balvin – “7 de Mayo”
Just in time for his birthday and the release of his documentary, ‘El Niño de Medellín,’ J Balvin released a retrospective track about his career and life titled “7 de Mayo.”
Read: 5 Things We Learned From J Balvin’s Documentary ‘El Niño De Medellín’
Maná & Joy – “Eres Mi Religión”
Iconic Mexican band Maná continue their collaborations project that started in 2019 with “Rayando El Sol” with Pablo Alborán, “No Ha Parado De Llover” with Sebastián Yatra, and now with a new version of their 2002 hit “Eres Mi Religión” with Joy Huerta, from Jesse & Joy. Listen to the refreshed version.
Cuco – “Forevermore”
Welcome to the CMU, Cuco’s Cinematic Universe. “Forevermore” is a continuation of “Paradise,” Cuco’s release last month. The dream-pop single is all you need to take a ride with your windows down and the music blasting.
Ozuna – “Tiempo”
Produced by Sky Rompiendo, Ozuna is ready to kick-off the Summer with his new banger “Tiempo.” The music video was directed by Fernando Lugo, who keeps pushing the envelope with his visuals for Reggaeton artists, and “Tiempo” is a gem.
Niia ft. Girl Ultra – “If I Should Die”
Niia teams up with Girl Ultra for their bilingual alternative record “If I Should Die”, which pairs their beautiful voices together in the most sublime way. Watch the music video below.
Genre-bending star fusing Mexican regional with Latin urban music Victoria La Mala released her first EP Soy Mala. The 8-song EP has collaborations with Flor De Toloache, Jenn Morel, Chris Perez, Chiquis and more. Read our interview with Victoria and Chiquis here.
De La Ghetto – “Perdida”
De La Geezy proves he’s still an OG in the genre by showing off his flow versatility in his new solo release for “Perdida.”
Gigolo & La Exce – “De La Mata”
Puerto Rican duo Gigolo & La Exce take you back to the early 2000s when Reggaeton was just becoming a global phenomenon, with their new single “De La Mata.”
Producer-turned-singer Morelli released his very first single “Mala Conmigo.” The Colombian songwriter had special cameos from Mau y Ricky, Camilo and Evaluna, who also directed the music video. Now THAT’S how you do your first release!
Chicocurlyhead – “Dame Más De Ti”
Panamanian breakout singer Chicocurlyhead showcases his innate ability to transition between English and Spanish in his new single “Dame Más De Ti”.
Yari M x Randy x Brray – “Freshy Remix”
Newcomer Puerto Rican female singer Yari M recruits Reggaeton OG Randy and Brray for “Freshy Remix.”