J Balvin gives off all the right vibes
I met J Balvin in Las Vegas in November. It was the night before the Latin Grammy Awards, where he electrified an international crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, taking the stage with Steve Aoki, French Montana and Bad Bunny—artists that mirror his hit-making ability in dance music, hip-hop and Latin trap genres.
It was also just after his explosive single “Mi Gente” had peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, completing J Balvin’s evolution into a bona fide crossover star. He told me he wasn’t surprised that the track turned out to be a hit, but he was slightly shocked when he got a call from Beyoncé, who wanted to contribute to a remix. “I guess she was a big fan of the song and I’m grateful,” he said.
It seemed like I caught J Balvin at an all-time high, but he was just getting started. That’s the way it’s been for the Colombian-born reggaetonero: Every year gets bigger. He returned to Vegas in April for the Billboard Latin Music Awards, where he took home Latin Rhythm Song of the Year honors. He grabbed two MTV Video Music Awards in August and improved on the pop success of “Mi Gente” by collaborating on “I Like It,” the No. 1 chartbuster by Cardi B also featuring Bad Bunny.
The hits and awards keep coming but the artist remains focused on creating unique music. In May, he released Vibras, his fifth studio album and second No. 1 on the Top Latin Albums chart. He had developed an irresistible fusion of world beats and rhythms and was almost finished with the record when we met.
“I’m ready to make another statement,” he said. “I like to switch it up. I don’t want to sound like anybody else or sound the same, I always have to reinvent myself. I don’t want to be a follower, I want to be a leader and create new waves,” he said. Any time you put J Balvin and Las Vegas together, he’s always making waves. He did it in May when he helped launch Mandalay Bay Beach’s concert series and he’s no doubt ready to do it again on Sept. 28, when the Vibras Tour touches down at Mandalay Bay. This music is a colorful combination of influences from across the globe, but this performer brings them all together into a blend that demands nonstop dancing. Be ready.
Mandalay Bay, 8 p.m. Sept. 28, starting at $39.95 plus tax and fee. 800.745.3000 Ticketmaster