Nicky Jam’s friendship with J Balvin produces a new hit: “X”

Nicky Jam says there’s no need to record albums to make it in the music industry anymore _ and with “X” he proves the theory again.The Latin Grammy winner’s new single with Colombian reggaeton star...

Nicky Jam says there’s no need to record albums to make it in the music industry anymore _ and with “X” he proves the theory again.

The Latin Grammy winner’s new single with Colombian reggaeton star J Balvin, released earlier this month, leads the Spotify and Apple Music lists from Argentina to Spain and beyond. Its video already has more than 288 million views.

“I love to release lots of songs for people to enjoy,” the US-born Puerto Rican artist said in a recent phone interview. “I feel that many times the songs get lost in an album, ‘cause when the time comes to play them on the radio people have already heard them and it’s no longer a surprise.”

He released “Fenix” in 2017, he said, because it had been years since he put out an album and he wanted to give one to his fans. The album included three big hits: “El Pedon,” “Hasta el Amanecer” and “El amante.”

“If they asked me to, I would make and release another album, but in the meantime I keep releasing just songs. I worked practically six, seven years with only singles and it’s been stupendous for me,” he said. “It was only last year that I put out an album.”

Jam, who has been busy working on a Netflix-Telemundo biographical series on his life, “El ganador” (“The Winner”), said he is pleased that after almost a year without releasing a new song, “X” is been doing so well.

It’s something he attributed largely to Balvin, who proposed the possible single. Jam accepted _ but said he’d do it only if they recorded it together. The pair had collaborated in the past, in remixes of hits such as “Bonita,” “Ginza” and “Ay vamos.”

“I knew that if J Balvin was going to do it, it was going to be a hit,” said Jam, 37. “(‘X’’) is a completely new sound for me, being Nicky Jam known for his romantic songs and all that. I think that also helped, the change of image, the change of music, the new sound. It’s all … something fresh.”

The music video, filmed in Miami under the direction of Jessy Terrero, shows Jam and Balvin dancing _ alone, together and with backup dancers _ in colorful outfits, a departure from Jam’s usual black outfits.

“The steps were steps that I already had saved in my dancing library. I said ‘Wait, let me use these little steps that are the only four or five I know ... It’s gonna be insane.’ And that’s what we did,” he said, laughing.

Ultimately, “it was our friendship what made this song a hit”, he said.

“El ganador,” which will debut later this year, will highlight the ups and downs of Jam’s life, including the years he spent battling addictions to drugs and alcohol that kept him away from music for about a decade.

“It’s the real story of Nicky Jam and of Nick Rivera Caminero,” he said, mentioning his real name. “You’ll get to see my childhood, you’ll get to see my darkest moments, and also the moments of glory.”.

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