Balvin’s music is naughty, but not rude. His style helped push reggaeton further into the mainstream. After rock came soft rock. After salsa dura, came salsa romántica. J Balvin is in the vanguard of reggaeton romántica.
José Álvaro Osorio Balvin
José Álvaro Osorio Balvin was born in Medellín, Colombia on May 7, 1985. After spending his late teenage years in Oklahoma and New York, Balvin went home and started playing Medellín clubs.
Medellín is Colombia’s business and cultural capital, just as New York City is America’s business and cultural capital. Most Colombian New Yorkers are “paisas” from Antioquia Department (the state of which Medellín is capital).
Even though he is one of the music world’s hottest stars, Balvin is happy staying in Medellín and singing in Spanish. As an artist who can do whatever he wants, both decisions are kind of cool.
Balvin was a New York Fashion Week ambassador in 2017.
J Balvin in New York City
J Balvin brings Colombian reggaeton to Barclays Center in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn on Wednesday, May 22, 2024.
J Balvin Arcoíris Tour brings Colombian Reggaeton to Madison Square Garden in Chelsea, NYC on Sunday, September 29, 2019 at 8pm. From $58.
J Balvin plays Barclays Center in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn on Saturday, October 20, 2018 at 8 pm. From $39.
J Balvin Albums
- “Colores” (2020)
- JOSE (2021)
- “Oasis” with Bad Bunny (2019) won Billboard Top Latin Album
- “Vibras” (2018). The lead singles were Machika and Ahora.
- Energia (2016) won Billboard Latin Rythym Album of the Year.
- La Familia (2013)
Classic J Balvin
Balvin released “Mi Gente” (My People) featuring French DJ Willy William in 2017.
It’s a beautiful video that captures the vibrance and diversity of the people of Colombia, including its large and influential French Diaspora.
The song is a play on Héctor Lavoe’s Puerto Rican anthem Mi Gente. Balvin cites Lavoe as a key influence. The most famous singer of the 1970s New York Salsa generation influenced everyone. “Que canta mi gente…”
Beyoncé remixed “Mi Gente,” giving Balvin his first top ten single in the U.S.
La Familia’s second single Ay Vamos hit number one on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart in 2015, and won a Latin Grammy for “Best Urban Song.”
The video featuring Colombian actress Laura Archbold (La Niña) is one of the most watched Latin music videos of all time.
“6 AM” and “La Familia”
Balvin’s breakthrough was 2014’s “6 AM” featuring Farruko. It’s about trying to remember what happened after a wild night of partying. The song peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart, and drove sales of his debut album “La Familia.”