Everyone knows that Luis Fonsi’s”Despacito,” a perfect, bilingual fusion of reggaeton and pop, has become this summer’s unofficial anthem.
What most people don’t know is that Fonsi actually wrote the song two years ago, but it didn’t even make the cut for his latest album at the time. The Puerto Rican singer, who grew up in Miami, recently spoke with CNN and revealed that even then he “knew it was special song.”
“Despacito” began as a rough demo of Fonsi playing the guitar and singing the melody. At the beginning, Fonsi said he did not really know which way to go production-wise, but he knew that this song was important to bring to his label.
“Let’s not sleep on this song. It has something,” Fonsi told his label. “Finally, I got together with my producers and that’s when the track came to life and really the song came to life.”
Fonsi explained that he felt the simplicity of the song was what made it so magical.
“This song, it had the correct ingredients — a very catchy melody, a very interesting lyric because it’s very sensual, but it’s sort of poetic at the same time,” Fonsi said.
His version was a total hit.
Justin Bieber agreed. After hearing the song at a nightclub, Bieber wanted to do a remix. Fonsi, who was in Europe at the time, got a call from his record label at 2:00 A.M. telling him that Justin heard the song at a nightclub and wanted to do the remix the next day.
“Of course, I said yes,” Fonsi said. “He did his thing. A day later, I get that first cut and one more day goes by and we released it.”
Now, the remix of the song, featuring Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber, has been on Billboard’s Hot 100 list for eight weeks straight, the first Spanish-language song to do so since the “Macarena” two decades ago.
Fonsi has had top songs on the Latin Billboard Charts, but this is his first on the Billboard 100. He told CNN that it’s not very easy to make the Billboard 100 when the lyrics are a different language. For him, this is a very meaningful accomplishment because he broke the language barrier and was able to connect with people through music.
“From a career level, it’s very important,” Fonsi said. “But to me, I’m just very proud that Latin music has grown so much and people are just really connecting to it.”
This achievement also has political significance for Fonsi. In terms of timing, the song started climbing up the charts right around the time that a certain powerful political figure was talking about building a wall, attempting to demonize immigrants and the country was reaching a bit of a divide.
“It makes me smile,” Fonsi said. “I think it’s just kind of beautiful timing. It just says that we just all have to come together and unite, not divide, not separate, just come together. It’s beautiful to be able to speak different languages in America. I think we all benefit from coming together.”
We have to agree. If there’s one thing that brings everyone together, it’s “Despacito.”