The most successful Colombian artist of 2020 told the Venezuelan media 'El Universal' how he has lived through a pandemic in which he has felt more the severity of the problems with mental health.
"Let's celebrate at home, save the dancing, the meetings for next year," said J Balvin right at the end of a difficult but successful year. "May this sacrifice be rewarded by embracing the next one and being united and sharing," he added.
J Balvin is the most successful Colombian artist of 2020, broke musical records, won more recognition and launched the Air Jordan, the tennis shoes produced in partnership with Nike. But the reggaeton player Paisa also suffered from severe COVID-19 and also speaks openly of the importance of treating mental illness, since he himself suffers from it.
How have you seen the role of music in these times of pandemic?
We were happy, we didn't stop working, most of our teams kept working, the only thing we couldn't have were the public shows. I had a virtual show, we all worked together, we took care of ourselves to bring joy and distraction to the people in their homes, to be in their house with them, which brought us closer together.
How has your relationship with music changed in this quarantine, and away from the stages?
We had to learn to work from a distance, from the house. Before, you worked at a very fast pace, between trips, tours, shows, interviews. Now you plan your days, you plan when you do more things more calmly, in my house I take the trouble to analyze more everything, because I can work on it and I have more time for that.
Do you need the scenarios?
Very much! The shows, seeing the people, their live reaction, their faces when they hear what I sing, that for me is part of being happy.
What does a year like this teach you?
To value a lot, to learn to live with passion every detail, to feel that we are vulnerable and that nothing we have is ours nor is fixed, that anyone can leave at any time, that what is most valuable is your life, your health, your peace.
With the distance given by time, how do you feel the process of publication and acceptance of your album 'Colores' was?
'Colores' has been very special since the idea was born, because it is a very elaborated concept, very worked, many people made it a reality, it was a dream the cover, the director of the videos, the message we wanted to take with each song, the way we made it known and then the pandemic arrives, everything changes and we manage to continue working by remote control (laughs).
You are about to turn 15 within the music industry, in a genre that, compared to others, is very new. Where do you feel urban music is going in the next few years?
To continue conquering spaces, to continue reaching the people of the world, to bring this Latin sound to every place and to show that we are a real race, with convictions and with music that makes us all dance.
Being one of its greatest exponents, what do you feel should change in a musical genre such as urban?
I have always thought, as the old people say, that unity is strength and I believe that we should improve in the fact that we seek to be more united and continue to conquer, not only the lists, but the hearts and tastes of the people.
How do you see the new generation of Colombian artists within the genre of urban music?
Very proud, there are many who are very good, very hardworking people, with ideas. The new artists need our support and we need that new current they bring. This is making music and betting on Reggaeton.
A genre where there is more and more participation of women, how do you see it?
I am one of those who have supported Karol G, Anitta, Rosalia, Cazzu, uff Cazzu, it is very hard! All! We are all equal and we all have to have the same opportunities.
How have your followers reacted to the subject of depression? Is it still a 'taboo' subject in a society like ours?
I decided to talk openly about this because just like me, there are thousands of people who suffer from this problem and thousands who still don't know they have it. I did not know that I had a problem with depression and that it was an illness. Seeking help, accepting it, going to a psychologist, going to a psychiatrist or taking medication is not a problem, the problem is not asking for help, not talking, letting this beat you and that's why I talk and that's why I'm clear and that's why I tell my experience.
This issue of mental illness, how have you seen it in these times of pandemic?
Very difficult, confinement is difficult for me, for anyone.
What are your plans for 2021?
There's an album coming out, it's called 'Family 2' or part two. It's a music meeting with friends and there are many more surprises coming.