Who knew Justin Bieber could sing in Spanish?! That was the question we were all thinking when the Canadian cutie made girls around the world weak in the knees after the remix of the already highly successful Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee track “Despacito” dropped. It went on to become one of the biggest songs of 2017 and you really couldn’t go anywhere during the summer without hearing JB’s voice singing to you in Spanish. And hey, we weren’t complaining, that song is and always will be a fire hit. And now, we finally know how the Biebs ended up singing on it in the first place.
In a new interview with Billboard, Luis and Daddy Yankee sat down to share the story of how they came up with the jam, with Luis saying he just woke up one morning and how he kept thinking of the word “Despacito” and when he reached out to Daddy Yankee, he came and worked his magic and together they made the song no one could get out of their head. Then, enter Justin, who asked to be on the remix all on his own.
“About four months in, “Despacito” was already tearing up the charts in Latin America and Europe and I got a call from Justin Bieber’s camp saying that he heard the song at a nightclub and that he wanted to do the remix. So I said of course,” Luis explained. “So we sent him the session and he did it on his own. He added his texture, a verse in the beginning in English and then he sang the song just like we did, just with his flavor. I think it’s amazing that such a big, worldwide act wanted to appeal to the Latin audience, wanted to take the time to get the pronunciation right in Spanish so I tip my hat off to him. It added just a different layer to a song that as already big and I’m just really grateful that he believed in the song and that everybody’s enjoying it.”
How crazy is that? Justin fell in love with the song after first hearing it during a night out, and once Scooter got in touch with Luis and said Justin wanted to contribute to the song, they got it all done within 48 hours. And the rest is history. The song simply is unlike anything Justin had ever done before. Of course, he’s collaborated with some of the biggest names in the music industry, but this combination of culture and music really is something special. Not only has it become a hit, it also reaches out and acknowledges his Spanish fans. We love that he took the time to learn some of the language and actually sing the lyrics, which sound so beautiful coming from his voice.
Luis chatted with Legend magazine and said it was Justin’s idea to sing in Spanish even though he doesn’t know the language very well. He said, “The funny thing is we actually have a version of the song fully recorded in English, and he knew that. Instead of using that, he decided to use the Spanish version, even though he doesn’t speak Spanish himself and made sure he was phonetically pronouncing the words correctly.”
Justin has been criticized for not singing “Despacito” live in concert before though, but Luis always has his back. After getting slammed multiple times, Luis said that it’s okay Justin doesn’t really know the lyrics and sometimes those words are even hard to pronounce for a native Spanish speaker. He said, “I mean, obviously I would love for him to…learn it. I don’t blame him not knowing [the lyrics], and I think we have to give him a little bit of a pass because that’s not his main language. We can’t expect the guy to just out of the blue get it perfectly. I mean, it’s obvious when he was recording the song he had the lyrics in front of him. So I actually applaud the fact that he took the time in the recording studio to do it, and he did a great job.”
When Scooter Braun teased the collaboration on Instagram, no one really knew the firestorm that was about to be “Despacito.” Scooter posted this photo with the caption, “The world has no idea!! @justinbieber ?.” He wasn’t kidding, either.
The world really had no idea this was about to go down and it was probably the greatest surprise ever. For those Beliebers that don’t speak Spanish, we decided to translate exactly what Justin says. First of all, the word “despacito” means “slowly.”
“Slowly…I want to slowly breathe in your neck
Let me tell you things in your ear
So you can remember when you’re not with me
I want to slowly undress you with kisses
Firm in the walls of labyrinth
And turn your body into a manuscript.”
The lyrics are super sexy and JB pulled it off perfectly.
There’s no telling if the “Sorry” singer is working on a new album at the moment since he’s been busy reconnecting with his faith, reuniting with Selena Gomez, and just living his life, but we have a feeling he’ll keep giving us hit after hit. As he always does.
Watch: Justin Bieber Forgets the Lyrics to “Despacito”