International hit “Despacito” is about to get even more global.
The track, arguably the biggest hit of 2017, will now get a Spanish/Mandarin makeover courtesy of Luis Fonsi with Singaporean star JJ Lin. The two got together with international songwriting-production team Tat Tong and Jovany Barreto — aka The Swaggernautz — and Harry Chang to co-write, sing background vocals, mix, and engineer the Spanish-Mandarin version of “Despacito” for China (The original Spanish version of “Despacito” has not been released in China.)
In it, Fonsi sings in Mandarin, and Lin sings in Spanish, for the very first time in their decades-long careers.
Billboard spoke exclusively with Lin and the producers and got the low-down on the Mandarin lyrics.
“I had immense fun working with Fonsi and The Swaggernautz on this project,” Lin told Billboard. “Music breaks all boundaries in a most pleasant way. I see this collaboration as a cultural bridge, as well as a tribute to a generation of free people.”
Fonsi and Lin had originally spoken about collaborating in a brand new song, but realized that creating a Spanish-Mandarin version of “Despacito” for China made a lot of sense.
“We’re incredibly grateful to the original writers and producers Andres Torres, Mauricio Rengifo and Erika Ender [plus Fonsi and Daddy Yankee] for creating this world cultural moment for us to build on,” Tong and Barreto told Billboard. “We’re so happy we got to be part of this truly cross-cultural moment.”
Work on the Mandarin-Spanish version of the song started in July 2017 but the onslaught of consecutive hurricanes in the Caribbean? ?threatened to derail the process at multiple points. However, between the labels, management and the artists, everything finally came together despite the difficult circumstances.
“JJ and Fonsi are amazing in the studio. It’s especially difficult to sing in foreign languages given the different vowels and inflections, but they both nailed their parts in very short order,” said Tong.
The Swaggernautz have worked with Kaskade, Luis Fonsi, T-Pain, Demi Lovato, Chyno Miranda, JJ Lin, LeeHom Wang and ShiNEE, among others, and their hits include Troye Sivan’s “Happy Little Pill” and “Get Dumb,” the K-Pop-Mexican pop collaboration between CD9 and Crayon Pop.
The track has yet to premiere, but meantime, check out the translation to the Mandarin lyrics below:
Your smile flashes at my 2-o-clock
While my eyelashes edit your every move
The rhythm in the air is like a solo performance
Let me accompany you
In my heart there are no seasons
As the heat of summer burns your face red
Your crystalline eyes are as clear as a romance novel
Passed to me to break the seal
Slowly, slow down your movements
Freeze frame, on your outline
Replay, savoring our every interaction
Warmly controlling the perfect temperature
Holding breath but our scents still mingle
Even if you’re not by my side you’ll still remember me
Your hazy gaze calls for me every minute, every second
Scent of roses swims into my heart
I must succeed in breaking into your maze
Music vibrates Floor vibrates
Heart vibrates Veins vibrate
Our atmosphere is unique
(The love I give is unique)
(The kiss I give is unique)
I wanna give you the sky, turn with you,
Dream with you, pamper you
Create a private universe that’s just yours