J Balvin returns with his best smile

Balvin Dientes
‘Dientes’ is the first J Balvin’s work in two years.

By Gabriela Acosta, MWN

J Balvin arrived punctually for the virtual interview with Metro. The Colombian artist was in his New York hotel room, ready to dive into a conversation filled with revelations, previews, and good humor.

The global artist is back and has unveiled his latest single, bringing excitement to millions of his fans who have eagerly awaited his return. After a nearly seven-month hiatus in his musical career, J Balvin has a new creation, ‘Dientes.’ This musical endeavor features influential American singer and songwriter Usher and producer DJ Khaled as its godparents.

‘Dientes’ is the lead single from J Balvin’s album, ‘Sonríe estás en cámara,’ embracing the concept of “show me your teeth and smile.”

Metro sat down with Balvin to learn more.

Is ‘Dientes’ a clear example of J Balvin’s current mood?

Exactly! It’s about having a great time, ensuring that people enjoy the music we’re creating, and fostering positive energy. It feels brutal to reconnect with my fans through music. There’s a lot more music to come.

How was this meeting with Usher and Dj Khaled?

I always like to make music with people who inspire me and Usher had a lot to do with my inspiration to dedicate myself to music. Obviously, also in the hip-hop world of Khaled, who has always motivated me a lot. Collaborating with them feels like a luxury, fulfilling a childhood dream of working with the artists I’ve always admired. It brings me tremendous joy. It brings me tremendous happiness to be able to do it.

Was there a “war” of egos and ideas or did everything flow naturally?

Actually, everything went smoothly. I already had a very clear vision and I expressed it in such an easy way that when I gave them the proposal it was exactly what I told them. This is not a remix, but a new song, which does use a piece of the sample of the song ‘Yeah,’ a big hit in the 2000s. But I had the vision of it being like a reintroduction to a new sound and another audience. Usher just heard the song and immediately said, “That’s what I wanted,” and so did Khaled. The collaboration was a tribute to Latino music, and it turned out precisely as we envisioned.


What personal reflections did you have during your hiatus?

This time saw a lot of retrospection and I analyzed how I could be better. Also, what I can add to my music and what is the contribution that I make within the musical genre in order to continue to elevate the Latin culture. I think I have it more and more clear, starting with ‘Dientes’ which is really a song that transmits joy and a lot of positivism.

Recently, both Shakira and Karol G showcased Latin power in the music industry. What’s your view on the current landscape?

Latinos have been able to be the first in many historic moments in global music, that’s nice. We have to be grateful for what Daddy Yankee did for us, and then everyone unlocked different levels. To see how – every time – we are all contributing that grain of sand so that there is a whole for us, feels good. What is happening is already a reality that was dreamed of for a long time, now I think what it leads to is to normalize what I always said: you cannot divide us when it comes to music, whether it is in English or Spanish. In the end, it is a form of expression and it has to be valued, no matter the language.

Can you provide some insights into your album?

‘Dientes’ is the first warm-up single for the album. It’s just happiness and smiles. I don’t know if it’s a comeback because I never left, but it’s a new opportunity to express my sounds. I think it will contribute a lot to continue expanding the globalization of our music so that they continue to see that we take risks and that we go out of our comfort zone. Also,  it will inspire many young artists to explore different avenues while staying true to their unique sounds. The album is very advanced, but it’s easy to digest. The flows and the deliveries have a current sound but without forgetting the old-school reggaeton and afro beats.

Who is more restless, Jose or J Balvin?

Oh my God! We are both an earthquake and a hurricane with a tsunami combined. [*Laughs*] Actually we are both the same, but different because the essence is me. It is a storm of emotions.

You’re an influencer in both music and fashion, as well as an advocate for mental health. What can you share about these aspects of your career?

I view music as a means to an end rather than an end in itself. It has opened doors for me to collaborate with brands like Jordan and to be in fashion representing Latin America around the world at Fashion Weeks. About mental health, well yes, I have been very open about it, because I think the youth and the world need to be more open about it and have that awareness. There are concerns on the entire planet even though many silently suffer from it, we have to say that no one is exempt from falling into darkness, but there is always a way to see the light.

What keeps you grounded?

I think knowing the fragility of life, of seeing that today we are here, but tomorrow may be uncertain. I think all of that keeps you grounded, just like saying I’m humble doesn’t make me humble, but it grounds me a lot. You get to see how fragile we are when a health problem comes at any time and your life – absolutely – will change forever. I am very present and very grateful to be healthy, that humanizes me more. I can’t say I’m more humble, but it does humanize me more.