How 2017 Became the Biggest Year for Spanglish Music Collaborations
By Liz Calvario
2017 was the year of the Spanish-English music collaborations!
Not since 1999, when the U.S. was introduced to Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez and Enrique Iglesias, among others, have we had a Latin explosion quite like this year's.
ET is rounding up the hottest Spanglish singles of the year. From "Despacito" to "Mi Gente," these are the tracks that set the radio waves on fire!
"Despacito" - Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee feat. Justin Bieber
It came, it saw, it conquered! The "Despacito" remix took over the charts since its release on April 17, topping the Billboard Hot 100 for a consecutive 44 weeks.
"Despacito" was not only a commercial but also a critical success for the Puerto Rican singer and rapper. The track won four Latin GRAMMY Awards, including Record and Song of the Year, and was recently nominated for three GRAMMY Awards. The song was infectious, and its music video went on to become the first YouTube video to hit 4 billion views and became the world's most streamed song of all time with 4.6 billion streams.
"It was a great call to know that Bieber heard the song," Fonsi shared. "He was in Colombia doing his tour and he heard the song. He saw how people reacted to it. He reached out to us and he's like, 'Hey, can I jump on the remix?' and we're like, 'Yes, sir!'"
"He did his thing, you know, he sang his verse in English [and then] he sang the chorus in Spanish. We were surprised," he said.
"Echame La Culpa" Luis Fonsi and Demi Lovato
Fonsi returned at the end of the year with another hit, this time with the help of Demi Lovato.
"Echame La Culpa" was released on Nov. 17. In the catchy song, Lovato sings in Spanish: "No me conociste nunca de verdad/ Ya se fue la magia que te enamoró/ Y es que no quisiera estar en tu lugar/ Porque tu error solo fue conocerme," which translates to, "You never really knew me/ the magic that made us fall in love is already gone/ and I wouldn’t want to be in your place because your only mistake was meeting me."
The artists pumped up fans a few weeks before the release when they began commenting on one another's Instagram posts and teased a future collaboration.
"Hey Ma" -- Pitbull and J Balvin feat. Camila Cabello
The Fate of the Furious soundtrack featured some killer tracks, including a Spanish-language version of "Hey Ma."
The single, and its accompanying music video filmed in Cuba, was released on March 10 and quickly drew attention to the former Fifth Harmony member for her sultry Spanish lyrics.
The song reached the fifth position on Billboard Hot Latin Songs, marking Cabello's first entry on the chart and the highest debut ever for Pitbull.
Cabello continued to embrace her Latin roots and released a Spanish version of her second single from her upcoming solo debut album on Nov. 12.
In the sexy single, Daddy Yankee adds his reggaeton flair and takes over Young Thug's verses, while the 20-year-old singer sings about a love she left back at the island.
Cabello performed a Spanglish version of the song at the Latin American Music Awards in October, receiving praise for her impressive dance moves.
"Por Favor" -- Pitbull and Fifth Harmony
Toward the end of the year, Pitbull collaborated with Cabello's former group, Fifth Harmony.
On Oct. 27, Dinah Jane, Normani Kordei, Ally Brooke and Lauren Jauregui released their steamy collaboration with Mr. Worldwide. The artists also performed the song during the 2017 Latin American Music Awards, and it was released as the girl group's third single from their self-titled album.
The music video was released on Nov. 27 and has well over 9.5 million views.
"Achy Breaky Heart" -- Billy Ray Cyrus feat. Jencarlos Canela
Country music artists also got into the Spanglish hype!
The country singer's iconic song received the Latin treatment in honor of its 25th anniversary.
In May, the Cuban-American singer and actor announced the reimagined tune by writing on his Instagram, "What a better way to show in my country that Latinos here are different colors, sizes, accents, flavors, and also part of American history. Let's add some Canela to country music."
This wasn't the only Spanglish version of "Achy Breaky Heart." The band Caballo Dorado also teamed up with Cyrus for their own playful twist!
"Just As I Am" – Spiff TV feat. Prince Royce and Chris Brown
A unique mix of genres!
A tune that flew under the radar in February was Spiff TV's collab with Chris Brown and Dominican-American singer Prince Royce.
The blending of genres works well for the track, especially with the Latin sound of bachata, which Royce specializes in. In an interview withVibe, Spiff TV explained how the artists all worked together to create a unique sound.
"It’s not an easy process to create a fused song like this with the two top artists in the market,” Spiff TV explained. “I introduced the song to Royce first, who loved it immediately. It took us a bit to figure out who would be the best fit on the English side. I have always been a fan of Chris’, besides the fact that he is my friend. When I approached him, we were in Vegas on tour and he immediately understood the album’s concept and the single’s vision. He was a fan of Royce’s work also, so it was a no-brainer."
"X" -- Prince Royce feat. Zendaya
Prince Royce also did a bilingual bachata tune with Zendaya for his latest album, Five, released on Feb. 24.
The singer had wanted to team up with the Disney star for a while, telling Billboard: "We thought it'd be great to have a girl on it. And there were already talks with Zendaya and her team about doing something together, so we reached out again and got back in touch."
Meanwhile, at the beginning of the year, Zendaya shared a behind-the-scenes clip of them working together. After she recorded her Spanish verses, she jokes, "Watch out, I'm about to do a whole album," even though she "has no idea" what she's saying.
"Amor Prohibido" -- Nicky Jam feat. Sean Paul and Konshens
Included in Nicky Jam's latest album, Fenix, were a mix of bilingual tracks including "Amor Prohibido," which translates to "forbidden love."
The slow-tempo tune has a Caribbean feel that's a perfect blend of each individual artist's sound. While the song didn't get airplay, it was a hidden gem in Jam's LP, which also featured collabs with J Balvin, Kid Ink and Enrique Iglesias.
"Hola" -- Flo Rida feat. Maluma
Released just last month on Nov. 17., Maluma and Flo Rida gifted fans with a hip-shaking tune and its equally fun and flirty music video filmed in Medellin, Colombia.
Maluma, 23, is among the hottest artists in Latin music and has been integral in shaping the direction urban pop has gone these past years. Among his recent collaborations are "Chantaje" with Shakira, "Vente Pa' Cá" with Ricky Martin and "Me Llamas (Remix)" with Piso 21.
"Buscando Huellas" – Major Lazer feat. J Balvin and Sean Paul
Electronic band Music Lazer invited a slew of artists to be part of their latest EP, Know No Better, released on June 1.
Among their collaborations is the Spanglish jam "Buscando Huellas" featuring the Colombian reggaetonero and Sean Paul. The hypnotic track has Balvin singing in Spanish, while the Jamaican rapper takes on the English verses.
"Mi Gente" -- J Balvin and Willy William feat. Beyonce