OZ. (Source: Billboard)
Emerging Swiss producer OZ has made a name for himself with Travis Scott‘s “Highest In The Room” and chart-topping Drake collaboration “SICKO MODE.” With the current Billboard number-one single “Toosie Slide,” he’s continued to solidify his place in the music industry. He was recently interviewed by Billboard, where the rising star talked about working with Drake, finding inspiration as a producer, and more.
On making “Toosie Slide” in a day:
“‘Toosie Slide”‘didn’t take me very long. I made that in like… a day?, and sent it out to Drake in the middle of January… A week later, he told me he loves the beat and he told me, ‘Yo, this is magical.’ He had some ideas on it and when he sent it back, we all knew it was the single and that this was gonna be special.”
On the difference between networking then and now:
OZ was given Meek Mill‘s email almost a decade ago, and his name grew via word-of-mouth promotion. “People were talking about me in the studio. I’d have a record come out and everyone would hit me, ‘Yo, we need a pack too. We need some beats too,'” he tells Billboard. “Back then, everyone was saying that you have to live in New York or Los Angeles to make it. But now you’re one email or one text message away from a hit.”
On being inspired to experiment with different styles:
“I started making beats in 2005 or 2006… If I had just come up in the past couple years, maybe all I’d have seen and been inspired to make were trap beats. But thanks to that era, like with Pharrell too, I’ve tried my hand at rap beats, pop beats, dancehall beats, all of that.”
On looking up to Timbaland, Scott Storch, and 50 Cent:
“I was making more Caribbean type beats, and even tried more like New York, gangster type beats. Those guys were special — every beat was different.”
On building a name for himself:
“When you don’t have number ones or any name, artists aren’t gonna trust in your sound. They’ll shrug it off like, ‘Eh, I don’t think this is the one.’ But after having different number ones — ‘Highest in The Room’ is way different than ‘Toosie Slide,’ and ‘Sicko Mode’ was different too — I think they’ll believe in me more.”
Read the full interview here.
Bad Bunny at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, CA on Aug. 25, 2018. (Credit: Alan Hess)
Of the Latin artists that have crossed over into mainstream popularity, none have done it quite like Bad Bunny. The Puerto Rican native has taken a progressive, often controversial path to become one of music’s biggest stars. And he’s done it while singing only in Spanish.
In a new feature story in Billboard, writer Eduardo Cepeda describes how “el conejo malo” managed to take over pop music by taking “risks few young male Latin stars would.” Bad Bunny chimes in with insights into his mindset and discusses why he’s not afraid to paint his nails or call out social issues.
Bad Bunny released his critically acclaimed debut album X 100PRE in December. The project peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard 200 and currently sits at No. 19. It features the hit singles “MIA” featuring Drake, “Estamos Bien,” and “Solo de Mi.” The latest single is “Si Estuviesemos Juntos,” which the 24-year-old dropped on Thursday along with a music video.
Read Bad Bunny’s best quotes from the story and watch the video for “Si Estuviesemos Juntos” below.
Why he takes risks:
“When I came into this industry, I was never afraid to be myself … There were others who would advise me to tone down a bit, but I just always thought, ‘What’s the worst that could happen?'”
How calling out social issues comes easy to him:
“At the end of the day, these are basic messages .. Ultimately, I’m not doing that much. I’m only doing what a human being who feels wants to do — in my way, without stepping out of my flow, while staying in my lane. Without, I guess, boring people.”
Why he lets fans approach him in the street:
“That’s the whole point — that’s how it should be … Like, fucking trying to connect with people.”
Why he keeps his friends close:
“[It] makes you feel like you’re with family, makes you feel at home, makes you feel normal. It gives me that grounding I need to always stay within orbit and not forget Earth.”
Why he used the same two producers on X 100PRE:
“It influences not just the quality of the album, but also the sentimentality of it … That energy translates. You feel like you’re listening to an artist, not just music meant for radio play.”
Related: Watch Bad Bunny’s ‘Caro’ Video
Ozuna (Source: Instagram)
The Puerto Rican artist discussed many topics, including revealing that the project contains a Spanish-language track with Akon. He also confirmed that his Cardi B-assisted hit single “La Modelo” will appear on Aura.
Other topics covered include why he likes to collaborate often, his relationship with J Balvin, and the pressure of topping his record-breaking debut album, Odisea. Released in August 2017, Odisea is currently in its 45th week at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart.
Working with Akon:
“Working with someone who shares your vision, your work ethic, and who likes to create as you do makes it easy. When we got together, we made four songs in one day. There’s one song for his album and two for a future release. Yes, he sang in Spanish, and I even sang in English. He doesn’t speak perfect Spanish, and I don’t speak perfect English, but we understand each other.”
His relationship with J Balvin:
“He’s an extremely important person to me. I value his opinion and his presence in my projects. He has an impressive aura about him, he’s brilliant and intelligent, and he puts his heart into his work. He’s someone who always gives it his all. I can ask him for advice even when it’s not his song, and he’ll tell me what to fix.”
Why he likes to collaborate often:
“I like it because it’s like being in a group. Working with people like Reik, Anuel AA, Wisin & Yandel, and J Balvin, you get to do things like film videos. So we enjoy it because that’s where we can be free to be ourselves, talk, and create. I can’t walk down the streets of Miami without getting mobbed, for example. But I can be on set with Balvin and Arcangel and feel comfortable.”
Topping his debut album:
“It wasn’t about doing something bigger or better. I don’t like to proclaim things like saying it will be better because it might or it might not. It’s just that nowadays, people demand a lot more music. It’s not how it used to be when you didn’t need to put out so much music. But I’ve learned that each week, there are new sounds, new rhythms, new technology, new artists, and you have to evolve. Odisea made an impact, but the people want more music.”
Watch the interview, which was conducted in Spanish, below.
Maluma at Billboard’s Latin Music Conference at The Venetian in Las Vegas on April 25, 2018. (Credit: Nicole Pereira)
Latin music’s popularity is at an all-time high thanks in part to artists like Bad Bunny, Maluma, and Pitbull. They, along with other Latin stars, have topped charts and sold out shows in record numbers all over the world over the past year.
Now, they’ve all gathered together in Las Vegas for the 29th annual Billboard Latin Music Week. The event, which ends Thursday night with the 2018 Billboard Latin Music Awards, began Monday with a three-day conference.
Among the festivities at the conference was a series of individual Q&A and panel interviews with the top artists, producers, and executives in the game. Topics included a look back at the past year, how collaborations came together, and future projects.
We put together some of the best Q&As below, most of which were conducted in Spanish. The list includes interviews by the aforementioned Bad Bunny, Maluma, and Pitbull as well as Ozuna, Maná, and songwriter Descemer Bueno.
Watch them below.
Iconic Songwriter Descemer Bueno
Nicky discusses how he knew the track was going to be a hit as soon as Balvin played it for him and that he quickly realized he needed to be a part of it. He goes on to talk about how he kept Balvin from changing the original beat then describes the meaning of his lyrics.
Watch How It Went Down above and download “X” on DJcity.
As part of their A Brief History Of series, Billboard spoke with some of the biggest names in Latin trap music to discuss the history of the genre.
Puerto Rican rapper De La Ghetto agrees, saying in the video that Bunny is “the most important trap artist right now.” Bunny was recently featured on the remix of Major Lazer‘s hit single “Know No Better.” On Friday, rising New York rapper Cardi B enlisted Messiah for a remix of her breakout hit “Bodak Yellow.”
“[Trap is] the closest expression to the streets and to the way the new generation is living,” Farruko says in the clip.
“What people were doing was a small imitation of what American artists were doing,” Bad Bunny says. “They took American hits and turned them into their songs.”
Watch A Brief History Of below.
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