Luis Fonsi and Rauw Alejandro

Luis Fonsi Talks Making 'Vacio' With Rauw Alejandro, Shares Behind-the-Scenes Footage: Exclusive

If you listen to Luis Fonsi’s upcoming single, “Vacío” (Empty), featuring Rauw Alejandro, you might hear some familiar strains.

Wait. Is that “A Puro Dolor?” The 2001 heartbreak anthem performed by boy group Son by Four spent 20 weeks on top of Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart.

Perhaps that’s why when Fonsi started writing a romantic track with longtime friends and producers Mauricio Rengifo and Andrés Torres (of “Despacito” fame). “Everywhere I went it would always come really close to ‘A Puro Dolor,’” Fonsi tells Billboard in an exclusive interview. Fonsi didn’t want to write a cover song, but he didn’t want to fight his instincts either.

“Long story short, we used a couple of lines from the song. It’s like when you sample a sound from an old song, but the way we did it, I think it’s a little bit different,” he continues. Fonsi actually only quotes four lines from the song — the very first line from the first and second verses, and the two lines from the pre-chorus — but otherwise, “Vacío” has different lyrics and melody, not to mention Rauw Alejandro’s participation, which gives it a more pronounced R&B tinge. The result evokes “A Puro Dolor,” with a contemporary edge.

“It’s not a remake, it’s not a remix. It’s a new song that has these moments that you go, hey, what? Especially because there’s a new generation of people that haven’t heard ‘A Puro Dolor,’ or have heard it but can’t pinpoint it,” says Fonsi.

But after finishing the track, Fonsi felt he his voice perfectly combined “the urban world with a very melodic and amazing tone.” The next step was calling original composer Omar Alfanno, a friend of Fonsi’s, and getting his blessing.

“I called him and said, ‘Maestro, I’m trying to write this song and I keep coming back to you. Is it cool if I use a couple lines from your song?’" Fonsi recalls. "He was actually very excited. He gets it. He understands music evolves and that these songs have influenced all of us and they can still be shared.”

The new “Vacío” will premiere on Feb. 18 during Premios Lo Nuestro, where Fonsi and Rauw Alejandro will perform it for the first time.

Ahead of its release, Fonsi and Rauw Alejandro shared exclusive behind-the-scenes footage with Billboard, and Fonsi even sang some of his favorite romantic songs for us. Watch the interview here: