Artist Q&A: Catching Up with Nicky Jam

Artist Q&A: Catching Up with Nicky Jam

No matter what happens at the 2017 Billboard Awards on Sunday, May 21, Nicky Jam will already have had the kind of year recording artists dream about.

After a decade of personal struggles, Nicky Jam hit the studio and dropped Fenix. Fans embraced the new album – and Nicky Jam – like a long-lost friend. Fenix rose to No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Latin Album chart.

And then the awards began to roll in. The reggaetón star won six awards at the Billboard Latin Music Awards in April. “Hasta El Amanecer” earned him four awards – Hot Latin Song of the Year, Digital Song of the Year, Streaming Song of the Year and Latin Rhythm Song of the Year.

He also won Hot Latin Songs of the Year (Male Artist) and Latin Rhythm Songs Artist of the Year (Solo).

He may not be done yet. He earned a nomination for the 2017 Billboard Awards Top Latin Artist.

And he got married!

The title of his album, Fenix, couldn’t be more appropriate for someone making a comeback – he rose from the ashes and he continues to soar higher.

In between the awards and the recognition, Nicky Jam was gracious enough to share his thoughts with us on the new album, his marriage and “the year of Nicky Jam.”

SoundExchange: Congratulations on your recent marriage to the lovely Angelica Cruz! We read that it was a beautiful ceremony. You are a family man now. Do you think that will influence your music, and do you and Angelica plan on having children?

Nicky Jam: Thank you for your good wishes. I have always been a family-oriented man, and everything around me influences my music – including my family. My wife and I are enjoying our time together.

SoundExchange: We also need to congratulate you on your nine Billboard Latin Music Award nominations. That’s more than any artist except Shakira, who also received nine nominations. Which nomination are you most proud of and why?

Nicky Jam: Thank you. All of my nominations are special because I work hard to earn each one.

SoundExchange: E! News called 2017 “the year of Nicky Jam.” How does it feel to experience so much success after having struggled in your personal life?

Nicky Jam: I feel thankful for everything that I’m experiencing in my life now—professionally and personally—and I thank God every day.

SoundExchange: “El Ganador” explores some of those struggles. Was it difficult to write such a profoundly personal song? Or does it help in some way to sing about that part of your life?

Nicky Jam: The most difficult experience was when I recorded the video and seeing how I was back then.

SoundExchange: What words of wisdom can you share with others who also have experienced hardship?

Nicky Jam: I could tell them to stay humble. Watch my story in “El Ganador” and don’t fall like I did. Work hard for your dreams. If you really want them, you will reach them.

SoundExchange: Fenix recently debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart, and that was your first album to debut at number one. Billboard wrote that your last studio album to chart was The Black Carpet, which reached No. 24 in 2008. Did you have any idea that fans would like Fenix as much as they do? Or, as an artist, do you just cross your fingers when you release new music?

Nicky Jam: Well, as an artist I knew that I had a good product. I streamed some songs on my social networks before the debut, and the reaction of the fans was amazing. But of course, there is always concern people won’t like the album. Thank God, there was a good reaction!

SoundExchange: In terms of music, what’s next? Have you been writing? Or are you remaining focused on touring to promote the album?

Nicky Jam: I have been doing a bit of everything — writing, producing new songs and promoting Fenix.

SoundExchange: You have a role in the new Vin Diesel movie, xXx: The Return of Xander Cage. How nervous were you on your first day of shooting? And is acting something you want to try again?

Nicky Jam: Well, I was very nervous! I didn’t meet Vin until the day of the shoot, but he made me feel welcome and gave me some words of advice that helped me a lot. Yes, I think I will act again, and I have a couple more auditions.

SoundExchange: Fans love streaming because it gives them unprecedented access to music. But how important is streaming to recording artists in the digital age, and how important is it for artists to register with SoundExchange?

Nicky Jam: Digital is the future, so it’s important for all artists to register with SoundExchange.