Latin Grammys 2018

Willy William on His Hot 100 Debut & How 'Mi Gente' With J Balvin Became a 'Global Hit'

David Wolff - Patrick/Redferns
The single marks the Hot 100 debut of William (pictured) and Balvin’s highest-charting hit.

"Mi Gente" marks the Billboard Hot 100 debut of Willy William and J. Balvin’s highest-charting hit. Below, William chats with Billboard about the song's runaway success.

“Mi Gente” is a remix of your track “Voodoo Song.” Was the beat easy to construct?

I made this track in two hours. I’m not really used to producing this way -- just looking for different sounds. All of this was done almost by accident. That’s why everything about this song [being] on the charts is really crazy.

What did you learn from working with J Balvin on “Mi Gente”?

My vocabulary in Spanish is limited. We worked together on the melody in Miami one night in March, and he [suggested], “Why don’t you write some lyrics in Spanish? I think it’s better.” J Balvin helped me write my Spanish verse, and I did my best with the melody.

Why has “Mi Gente” been able to connect despite the language barrier?

I make music for the world, and I’m happy that I produced and performed on a song with such a meaningful title. We call it “Mi Gente” [“My People”] because it is for everybody, no matter what language you speak. It is a collaboration between a French and Colombian artist. It’s global.

This article originally appeared in the August 5 issue of Billboard.