J Balvin on taking his time to drop new music and how fatherhood has changed him
J Balvin is regarded as one of the leading artists ushering a new generation of reggaeton singers who expanded the global reach of Latin urban music, alongside genre giants like Bad Bunny, Nicky Jam and Ozuna.
Following a massive streak of successful hits like “Mi Gente” and "I Like It," the Colombian artist recently told NBC News that these days his main focus is on being a dad to his 1-year-old son, Rio.
"I’ll take my time to drop music later,” Balvin said in a phone interview. "I’m really focused on my kid," he said as he discussed becoming a dad for the first time. “My kid makes me want to be a better person.”
José Álvaro Osorio Balvin, known artistically as J Balvin, was born and raised in Medellín, Colombia. With dreams of becoming a rapper, 17-year-old Balvin sought out Colombia’s then-underground hip-hop and reggaeton scene. After several MySpace music campaigns and local performances, Balvin was signed in to the Universal recording label in 2013.
His breakthrough came the following year with the single “6 AM,” featuring Puerto Rican rapper Farruko. The song peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart, followed by hits “Ay Vamos” and “Ginza.”
Balvin's mainstream success reached new heights in 2018 with the release of his album "Vibras." It combined diverse music sounds, from romantic reggaeton styles to dance hall rhythms.
"'Vibras' changed the game, sonically," Balvin said. "That album helped us connect with the rest of the world. A lot of really huge songs that were in that album helped our genre and our culture, to keep elevating on them. Then the rest is history.”
He subsequently released "OASIS," a joint album with Bad Bunny in 2019, and a solo album titled "Colores" the following year. His last album "JOSE" came out in 2021.
At 37, the Latin Grammy-winning artist has reached stardom and become one of the music industry’s most in-demand collaborators while also becoming Latin music’s strongest cultural envoy with his colorful fashion sense.
His most recent collaboration “Nivel de Perreo,” alongside singer Ryan Castro, came out in June.
In an effort to look for new and innovative ways to express himself artistically, last month Balvin brought his music repertoire into a virtual-reality concert stage.
Balvin is now part of a Miller Lite initiative that aims to support Latino business owners and provide funding for up to 50 Latino business owners across the country in partnership with the nonprofit Accion Opportunity Fund.
“The fact that I’m Latino... It’s just in my blood," Balvin said. "The opportunity to help our people, it’s really beautiful, and I’m happy to do it.”
He said that since becoming a father, his outlook on life has changed.
“I'm thinking about how to give back,” he said. “I’m focused on how to help my community back.”
According to Balvin, children “make you humble and they make you ask yourself how you can be better. That’s when everything makes sense."
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com