Nicky Jam's 'Perdon' Made the Puerto Rican Reggaetonero a Comeback Kid: Anatomy of a Hit

Enrique Iglesias has yet another No. 1 on Hot Latin Songs, but this time he's just a helping hand for Nicky Jam, whose "El Perdon" has ruled the chart for eight weeks. The song is redemption for the Puerto Rican reggaetonero, 35, who found fame in the 2000s before he was derailed by drug and alcohol abuse. Jam and the song's other key players explain how he got his first No. 1.

1. The Comeback Kid: Nicky Jam

"I stopped doing music four years ago. No one cared about me -- I was an embarrassment. Enrique read about my story and he was obsessed with doing something with me, because when a reggaeton artist leaves, he doesn't come back. He reached out to me and we spoke for five hours about music and strategy. I promised God I wouldn't touch drugs or alcohol, and he's paying me back."

Billboard Latin Music Conference: Nicky Jam on Reinventing Himself to Find Success as a Latin Urban Artist

2. The Co-Sign: Enrique Iglesias 

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"Nicky's an amazing story. I researched everything about him, comparing careers: He has been in music as long as I have, through all his struggles. I called him, he sent me this song, and I loved it. I always write or co-write my songs, but I didn't care that I didn't write this."

Nicky Jam Scores First No. 1 on Hot Latin Songs

3. The Executive: Nir Seroussi, president of Sony Music U.S. Latin

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"We signed him on Thursday and dropped the song on Friday; we knew. It went viral first. [Soccer star] Neymar posted a clip singing it, and it got 600,000 likes in a day. If we didn't have digital first, I don't think radio would've broken it."

This story originally appeared in the May 9 issue of Billboard


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