Watch Ozuna and Afo Verde: 2020 Billboard Latin Music Week

Superstar and super executive get real in insightful conversation

What is really the relationship between artist and executive? Superstar Ozuna, who just released his new hit “Del Mar” alongside Doja Cat and Sia, provides us a rare glimpse in this funny, insightful and uplifting conversation with Afo Verde, the Chairman and CEO of Sony Latin Ibera.

Here are some priceless nuggets from the interview, on the following topics:

Artists and business

Verde: Art has two divisions. You sell it, or you don’t. If we’re asking someone, "Hey, subscribe, download this song, stream this CD, buy this ticket," the artist and his team have another level of obligations. It’s fundamental for me that artists understand the world they’re in. [When we signed the contract with Ozuna and Sony’s entire team] Ozuna was there. We went line by line with Ozu sitting right there.

Ozuna: It’s art, but art needs administration, from beginning to end. I didn’t know anything when I started. I just made songs and posted them. But [with my Sony contract] I’ve been there from day one. I wanted to be there and learn. I’ve learned a lot about discipline, about why things are the way they are. Sony has taught me that you have to be patient. This is a long-term career. It’s a marathon. And today we’re better off than where we started.

The future of urban music

Ozuna:  It will continue to grow. It’s all about fusions. We did “Despeinada” with Camilo, for example. That collaboration has helped him a lot... and it’s helped us too. It helps us expand the movement. But the music will be here for a long time -- especially now that we need to make music with meaning, music people in their homes identify with, that children can listen to, that the entire family can be home and listen to.  I think that’s very important nowadays. It’s a global pandemic, it’s a global change, and we have to adapt and make music with meaning.

Their influences

Afo Verde: Lionel Messi. I love him as a footballer. I think he’s the best in history. But beyond that, his humility, the way he behaves. It’s a great example of achieving the top echelons of history, and remaining the same person who left Rosario as a child to fulfill his dreams. In music, I’ve always been a fan of Bob Marley. He took a very deep message to the world, and the world understood and sang and danced to it and still does. It’s two examples of people who came from places with problems, and are able to tell the world an important story that lasts forever.

Ozuna:  Michael Jordan and Daddy Yankee. Michael Jordan, I always saw him as someone who wanted to be a leader. I learned a lot from him in every sense. Daddy Yankee, aside of representing our Puerto Rico -- because of him, I learned that we are all the same. We can sing with Americans and Americans can sing with us. He was consistent. He’s been the leader of this movement for 25 years.

Their biggest achievement

Ozuna: After all this, keeping my family together. I’m 28 years old. I’m young. And after all the awards, keeping my family together is hard.

Afo Verde: I have no children of my own, but I have a beautiful roster of artists.  And perhaps the biggest achievement is seeing them go to houses they didn’t have before; see them fill stadiums they didn’t fill. Thinking about others is a good life decision.

Watch above.

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Billboard Latin Music Week