This year’s Grammy Awards will be a big night for J Balvin. Not only is the reggaeton megastar is up for record of the year for his smash summer hit “I Like It” with Cardi B and Bad Bunny, but he’s also opening the show with a performance alongside Camila Cabello, Ricky Martin, Young Thug and Arturo Sandoval.
While “I Like It” marks Balvin’s first Grammy nomination, he was the most-nominated artist at the ceremony’s Latin version in November, where he took home the award for best urban music album for his ruthlessly creative, trap-splashed album Vibras.
Backstage at Universal Music Group’s Grammys showcase on Saturday (Feb. 9) — the night before he’ll take the Grammys stage — Balvin took a moment to give Billboard a sneak peek at what’s planned for his performance, what a win would mean to him and more.
How does it feel to be opening the Grammys tomorrow — and can you give us any details on what you have planned?
It’s a really big opportunity for Latin culture to be doing the opening. Right now it’s the perfect moment for our culture, that we’re really reaching in a global way, no matter the language. We’ve really connected with people, and they’re really catching the vibes and catching the emotions. It’s just been amazing. I’m doing one part of “Mi Gente.” It’s a mash-up. It’s Camila’s show, and we’re part of it.
With “I Like It,” you’re representing for the Latin culture in the Big Four categories. What does that mean to you?
I’m so grateful. The fact that there’s three Latinos on the song — Bad Bunny, Cardi B and myself — and we reached the Hot 100, it’s really beautiful. Especially with a song that is like, 80 percent Spanish, where the only thing that was in English was Cardi B’s verse, it’s really beautiful how people really connect with what we’re doing, even though they don’t know what we’re saying. They’re just feeling the vibe.
What’s going through your mind going into the Grammys?
I’ve always had big dreams. Life has beautiful surprises, and you never know. I’m going [to the Grammys] as a fan. I just want to do a great job in the show, and in the opening, and then see what’s up. I’ll keep making music to make my fans feel happy. That’s why I enjoy this process.
Fans are going crazy over a photo you posted with Maluma on Instagram. Can we expect a collaboration soon?
Yeah, absolutely. He’s been doing amazing, and he’s from my hometown — we’re both from Medellín, Colombia, so we’re ready. It was just a matter of time. We need to make the best song, so definitely yes, we are.
Lastly, you just launched a new Vibras capsule collection with Guess, where you’re the brand’s first male Latino lead. What’s it been like to see the project come to life?
I’m super grateful and happy. The fact that I’m the first man lead, plus I’m Latino, it makes a really big difference and a great statement. I love art, and finding ways to express myself, and fashion is one of them. So I’m truly grateful for Paul Maricano, who really believed in me. It’s inspired by Vibras, my album — I wanted to share different colors, so when people look at it, they think, “I feel happy.”