Luis Fonsi has given Justin Bieber full credit for turning his Despacito hit into last year’s biggest crossover Latino megahit.
The Puerto Rican superstar is convinced the track wouldn’t have been as big as it was had it not been for Bieber’s interest and his agreement to sing in Spanish.
“When the song was released, the instant feedback from the world was incredible and, four months in, Justin Bieber calls and expresses his interest,” Luis tells Billboard. “What he brought was just a different layer, a different angle, his smooth vocals.
“I sing it coming from my Latin background and he sings it more coming from his Canadian-American style. It’s really nice to have that different point of view and it was great to have him and his special sauce.
“He added a new verse, but, at the end of the day, the song is pretty much the same. Having him sing half of the chorus in Spanish really opened up a lot of doors, because here is this household name singing in Spanish for that (English-speaking) audience that normally doesn’t really speak the language. I think they really appreciated that. It was like telling them, ‘Hey, if he is singing in Spanish, you can sing in Spanish, as well, even though you don’t know the language’.
“It’s OK now to listen to songs that are in a different language, and that, to me, is a different picture. That, to me, is the biggest thing that Justin Bieber brought to the table… He is an incredible and talented performer and vocalist. Him being there opened up a lot of doors for us and for Latin music.”
Fonsi admits the song turned himself and Justin into friends, who often hook up to chat about the success of their song.
“We are still in contact,” he says. “Every time something happens with the song, we get in contact.
“This has been a huge song for his (Bieber’s) career, one of the biggest, and it’s ironic that it’s in Spanish. It is important for him, for us, and there is definitely a friendship. I hope one day we can work together again, maybe even perform Despacito together.”