In the four years since he made his first music video, Nuno Gomes, 30, has lensed a staggering 145 more, collectively earning 5 billion-plus views on YouTube. The Venezuelan director attended Escuela de Cine y Televisión de Venezuela in Caracas and by 22 launched his own company, Compostela Films & Art. At 24, he was shooting TV commercials for HBO and Coca-Cola, but sought more artistic freedom and began directing music videos for local acts in Venezuela. Known for crafting elaborate storylines and hyper-romantic scenarios, Gomes, now based in Miami, has become a go-to for Latin artists from Ozuna to Daddy Yankee — and helped the genre reach a wider global audience. He explains four of his standout visuals.
1. Chino Y Nacho featuring Daddy Yankee, “Andas en Mi Cabeza”
Gomes’ celebration of old-school romance was filmed over five days in Miami and Caracas during February 2016. The video, which premiered in April 2016 and now has over 1.2 billion YouTube views, features couples and their “crazy marriage proposals.” One of them feels personal: Gomes cast his girlfriend and best friend to portray a couple getting engaged on a beach. “Everybody said, ‘Oh, man, you are sick — you [showed] your friend kissing your girlfriend!’”
2. Cali y El Dandee featuring Shaggy, “Lumbra”
In October 2016, Mexico’s government hired Gomes to shoot a tourism video. Inspired by the Julia Roberts movie Runaway Bride, he showed a woman fleeing her wedding for a road trip with a stranger; the main scene was shot in Guadalajara. The clip, which hit YouTube in January 2017 and has 74 million views, was especially gratifying: It was his biggest budget to date and featured a childhood idol. “I grew up watching videos with Shaggy,” says Gomes. “Directing him was a dream come true.”
3. Natti Natasha featuring Ozuna, “Criminal”
A day before Gomes started shooting at a recently deactivated prison in Puerto Rico in April 2017, an electrical storm hit the island and almost ruined his plans. “It was the worst filming day I’ve ever had in my career,” he recalls. “It was raining all day long, the trucks got stuck in the mud, the wardrobe got all wet.” But in the end, the video — which was inspired by Lady Gaga’s own jail-themed clip for 2010’s “Telephone” that featured Beyoncé — reached 1 billion YouTube views within five months of its release last August.
4. Ozuna featuring Cardi B, “La Modelo”
This ’90s-inspired video was filmed in Jamaica during “one hell of a day” a month before its release in December 2017. For the last scene, Gomes tried to convince Ozuna to hold a flare over his head, but “he was very scared to burn his hair like Michael Jackson in that Pepsi commercial” from 1984. Thankfully, Cardi B came to the rescue. “She overheard us and said, ‘Fuck it, I’ll do it!’” She grabbed the flare, held it up and the shoot was over. The video has since gotten 208 million views.
This article originally appeared in the May 19 issue of Billboard.