Willy William never thought that his single “Voodoo Song,” released in 2017, would become a massive worldwide hit after J Balvin remixed it and flipped it into “Mi Gente” — a song that has amassed more than 1.9 billion video views on YouTube.
It was also one of former President Barack Obama’s favorite songs of the year. The song is currently nominated for best Latin video at the 2018 MTV VMAs. He also owes the song’s global success to an additional “Mi Gente” feature from Beyoncé. The Beyoné remix nabbed the song the No. 1 spot on the Hot Latin Songs chart and reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in October.
Now, in 2018, the French singer-producer is kicking off his career as an international DJ with the release of his new single “La La La,” a colorful track that fuses traditional African music with the Latin culture.
Billboard caught up with William to talk about life after “Mi Gente,” his new projects, and what he likes about Latin music. Read our Q&A below.
How would you say your life has changed after all of the great success of “Mi Gente” with J Balvin and then Beyoncé?
First of all, I am very thankful and feel very proud because all of this was a big challenge for me. This [collaboration] was good for me as a French artist because it was the first time that I broke into new markets.
You kicked off your international career as a DJ with your recent single “La La La.” Talk to us about this production.
I never expected to produce this type of dance music as I did with “Mi Gente” and even on the “Voodoo Song.” I was singing “La La La” to myself and wanted to put it in a song. I wrote the lyrics and it took me about one hour to make. I wanted to change my path as an artist with this single and show the world that I can make DJ music, electronic beats, and EDM songs. “La La La” is a dance song that I can bring to the world.
For the music video, you worked with 36 Grados, the same production company that brought “Mi Gente” to life. Why did you opt for the same company?
They did such a good job with all the colors in the video and an incredible job in “Mi Gente” that I felt it was normal to have them work in the “La La La” video, and who knows? Maybe even the next project. Working with 36 Grados is just natural.
Just as J Balvin did with “Voodoo Song,” what Latin artists would you like to see get on the remix of “La La La”?
What is it about Latin music and working with Latin artists that captivates you as an artist?
I am from the Caribbean so it’s normal for me to be captivated by Latin music. I think that’s why it’s easy for me to produce Latin songs. I’m able to do a bachata or a salsa song because I feel them. The rhythm in Latin music is catchy and fans around the world seem to enjoy them.
We know that you’re a producer, songwriter and singer, but what can we expect from Willy William the DJ?
My next step is to challenge myself. I would like to continue producing music and have more collaborations in 2019 but also tour with many music festivals as a DJ and enter the EDM scene with brand new songs.