Jhay Cortez, the reggaeton who wants to be eternal | Culture

Like I’m impersonating the lyrics of your song Dákiti, who launched with Bad Bunny and consolidated him as a star, Jesús Manuel Nieves Cortez, popularly known as Jhay Cortez (Puerto Rico, 28 years old), wants to “reach places where no one has gone and do what no one has done.” His latest album, Timelezz, It is one more step on his path, with which he intends to endure over time and become an artistic reference, just as others inspired him and his generation in the early 2000s: Don Omar, Héctor El Father o Cultura Profética, all of them also Puerto Ricans. At that time, reggaeton woke up timidly in the old continent, but in this new batch the story is different. His promotion – that of Bad Bunny, J Balvin, Karol G, Ozuna or Rauw Alejandro – has taken over the playlists of nightclubs and filled stadiums in its wake. And the latter wants to achieve Cortez with his new European tour, which begins this Wednesday at the Vista Alegre Palace in Madrid, continues on Thursday in Barcelona and then will take him to Zurich, London and Rotterdam.

He admits that the effort is great, although he is “mentally prepared for everything. You have to work hard to be able to have the luxuries ”. But it is inevitable to accuse the fatigue. On a brief visit earlier this month to Spain, the same morning that he attended this interview in a hotel in the center of Madrid, he had previously caught a train from Barcelona and showed up a bit late because he was tired, but happy to enjoy the croquettes – his favorite dish of Spanish gastronomy along with Iberian ham and suckling pig—, wine and from Spain: “It is a country that has supported me a lot, me and my music. So it is one of the first that I wanted to choose for tourear ”. As proof, the promotional video of his tour, in which he recreates a scene in a Spanish restaurant and is even about to order a potato omelette.

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With this there are already two full-length albums, and in each of them he has pointed to the place where he would like to be. “In Famouz, the first, I wanted to be famous, I wanted my music to be known ”. Now what he wants is to leave a legacy. Because Cortez was already writing songs “since he was 11 years old.” “It was then that I had a crush on reggaeton and connected with it, like when you like a girl but you don’t know why.” And this relationship was fruitful: at just 20 years old, he composed five of the 14 songs on the album. Invincible (2011) by his compatriot Tito the child, which won the Latin Grammy for Best Tropical Album. His first appearance as a singer would be two years later, as a member of the boy band StereO 4, which he left in 2016 to release solo.

After a decade as a professional, he recognizes that, for him, music is like flirting: “I’m going to have two girlfriends, the music and whatever I have. Thank God, now I have a partner and I am happy. I am in a beautiful stage of my life and my career ”. Cortez shares his love life with the former porn actress and activist Mia Khalifa, who has already appeared in one of his video clips. He would prefer that his private life not be so exposed and reconciles it the best he can, as well as the relationship with his two children (from previous relationships), although he assures: “One lives better surrounded by responsibilities, because one becomes more serious. and becomes more focused. Sometimes being alone is very distracting, parties and going here Y there”.

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The Puerto Rican Jhay Cortez poses in a hotel in the center of Madrid.
The Puerto Rican Jhay Cortez poses in a hotel in the center of Madrid.Santi Burgos

Music as competition

Cortez also approaches music as if it were a competitive sport. He likes to work hard to make the best record possible and compare it to his fellow professionals. He is grateful for this that the trend of singles is shifting towards more elaborate production albums and with more solid projects: “Everything is a balance. There was so much time for single Y single that now people want to make an album. Everyone wants to offer their musical proposal, and I don’t think that can be done with just one song. People want to make music and they want to show the world what it can do. I like that everyone is in the studio, recording, putting out an album and listening to this one and the other one. I’m super competitive and I like it ”.

Both he and J Balvin and Anuel AA have released reggaeton records this year that are over an hour long, and Bad Bunny released up to three records last year. But despite the quantity, Cortez emphasizes that they do not skimp on quality, and that reggaeton is not a simple genre: “Anyone who says it’s easy to hit a reggaeton song and then we’ll talk. We can paste songs from other genres: a ballad, a dance, a trap, a sauce, a meringue, and we’ve done it. Now, on the other hand, I don’t think they can say the same ”.

He defends with conviction that both he and his teammates have evolved, leaving a “very complete and varied” genre in their wake. It refers to the tests of concerts, where more and more artists incorporate live instruments and bet on offering a worked staging, increasingly leaving aside the sober stages and the backing vocals —Pre-recorded voice of the artist himself playing in the background, allowing you to avoid having to sing at all times of the song. “We are growing and learning. The show it changes, the concept changes and now it is different. The human will always want to evolve, know and learn. And I think the worst thing anyone can do is doubt someone else. “


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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