Luis Fonsi Surprised with 'Despacito': "It Has Reached Territories That Are Not Natural For Me"

Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee
Omar Cruz

Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee

Puerto Rican singer-songwriter Luis Fonsi has made his return to music in an unexpected fashion. His latest single, "Despacito," a collaboration with Daddy Yankee, has gone viral and reached places where his music had never been heard before.

In Billboard, Fonsi and Yankee currently lead three charts: Hot Latin Songs (for the fifth week), Latin Airplay and Latin Streaming Songs, where it recorded 8.5 million streams in the past week alone, a record since Billboard began tracking streams. On Spotify, the song reached the Top 5 in the global list, and on YouTube, the clip became the fastest Spanish video to reach 300 million hits (in 35 days). 

In addition, Fonsi partnered with Smule's Sing!, a karaoke app where over 100,000 fans recorded and shared their videos, reaching an audience of 12 million on social networks.


Billboard spoke exclusively with the singer about the great reception to the song, his plans for this year and the arrival of his new baby, Rocco.

How do you feel about the song's growth?

Super grateful, and pleased that people found an honest connection with the song. It has been a blessing how quickly everything has happened. An achievement like this is very difficult with so much good music out there today.

What has surprised you most with this song?

What's happening outside my natural territories. Currently, the song is being played in countries where Spanish isn’t the first language. For example Switzerland, France, Italy Romania and Portugal;  there is a hunger for Latin music and "Despacito" managed to connect and it's something that fills me with pride.

Do you plan to go on tour to those countries?

Yes, I am. In fact the first week of April I will go on a promotional tour through Switzerland, France and Italy. We are also putting together what will be the official concert tour that will begin in Spain and Portugal and then go to America.

Did you ever doubt that the song would be successful?

When I first did the demo of this song, I put it to the side and continued working the other songs for the album. But, for some reason, this song always excelled before the others. When I met with my producers, they listened to it and that day we decided to leave the others aside and work on 'Despacito.' And when we heard the final song, both Daddy Yankee and I were surprised that it sounded powerful, fresh and different. But at the end of the day no one knows, it's simply the fans who decide whether a song is successful or not, and that's what makes this career special.

What do you feel when you see that children and grandparents have made videos with your song that have become viral on internet?

Every day I get a new video, a new parody and this is amazing. There are even soccer teams using the melody. It feels great.

Since we mentioned  children, how is your new baby Rocco doing? Well, we are very happy. My family is the engine of everything, and on a personal level I feel peace, stability, and they give me force, which is reflected on my work, my recordings and every time that I go out on tour. They are my base, my everything. My son has been a blessing and my daughter is more beautiful than ever and I am very happy.

Are you planning a remix with "Despacito"?

I've done several remixes, which we have not officially released yet. At the right time I'll share them, but I'll tell you that I did a salsa version with Victor Manuelle, which is impressive and I think people will enjoy it a lot. There will be many remix surprises. 

When will you release your new album?

We are in the final stages. It is already recorded, we are only providing the final touches. I don't have an exact date yet but it will be mid-year. Musically, it has many new sounds,  without leaving aside what I've always done: pop, ballads with rhythm and flavor. But I looked for new sounds that people want to hear.