After the release of “Despacito” last year, International superstar, Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi led another overwhelmingly strong Latin music tide globally, hitting every continent, even all the way over the Pacific Ocean to Asia. Not only Justin Bieber gave the song a new life with his remix, but Singaporean pop singer JJ Lin also reintroduced the song to the Mandarin world earlier this year. With a long-awaited debut performance in China, Fonsi ended his Love + Dance World Tour at Shanghai last month.
“It’s exciting to be here to sign the year off and to celebrate in the other side of the world. It’s such a beautiful country,” said Fonsi, sitting with Billboard Radio China in Shanghai a few hours before the show, excited to make his first appearance to his Chinese fans, “I’m happy to be part of the Latin movement; I’m honored that I get to travel the world singing in my native language; I’m blessed that countries like China have opened the door for me and my team.”
Like it did everywhere else, “Despacito” was a phenomenon that took over the charts, radio and streaming platforms in got everyone singing and dancing whether they can speak Spanish or not. Fonsi believes that his success in Asia is accredited to Latin dance music being an universal language:
“I’m so happily surprised that Latin music has reached so far, and it has been growing so fast in Asia in general, because, of course, there is always that language barrier, but there is one thing that Latin music does, it just makes you move, and it makes you want to dance, and it makes you want to have a good time.”
Recently, he pushes the presence of Latin pop further by crossing genres internationally, featuring on English EDM band Clean Bandit’s “Baby” with Welsh singer Marina. They joined in on an uptempo song that disguises a story about heartbreak with reggaeton beat and Spanish-style guitar.
“They asked me to be a part of it … which is really cool, I’ve been a big fan of Clean Bandit,” Fonsi shared, “I think it’s so important for me to just branch off and work with different kind of artists.”
His has also collaborated on “Échame La Culpa” with multi-platinum singer Demi Lovato, “Calypso” with British rapper Stefflon Don, “Impossible” with Latin trap singer Ozuna in the past year. Together with “Despacito”, these hit singles have already set the tone for his full album release at the beginning of 2019, making it one of the most anticipated record. “Finally for people to hear the rest of the record,” announced Fonsi.
Latin music is entering a new generation, rising in the international mainstream, and Puerto Rico is on the map with artists like Luis Fonsi in Latin pop and Bad Bunny in Latin trap.
After 20 years of navigating in the Latin music scene, releasing 8 albums, Fonsi looks back on his journey, “I started very very young … but it feels like it's been like a year, It feels like I just started yesterday. It’s just like growing up, just liking being a 20-year-old, you go through all these things, and all you can do is just learn and try to always give your best.”
In 2019, besides the release of his full album, Fonsi will continue taking a seat on The Voice in both the U.S. and Spain until April, followed with a tour starting in May. To know more details, listen to the full interview with Benson Zhang on Billboard Radio China.
Author: Zhuoyi Anthony Zhang