"Despacito" (American Spanish: [despa'sito]; English: "Slowly") is a song by Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi featuring Puerto Rican rapper Daddy Yankee from Fonsi's upcoming studio album. On January 12, 2017, Universal Music Latin released "Despacito" and its music video, which shows both artists performing the song in La Perla neighborhood of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico and the local bar La Factoría. The song was written by Fonsi, Erika Ender, and Daddy Yankee, and was produced by Mauricio Rengifo and Andrés Torres. A remix version featuring Canadian singer Justin Bieber was released on April 17, 2017, which helped to improve the song's chart performance in numerous countries, particularly in English-speaking countries.
Panamanian singer and songwriter Erika Ender (pictured) co-wrote "Despacito" with Fonsi
After two years without releasing new music, Luis Fonsi wanted to create "a fun track that had that Latin feel with a melody that I feel very comfortable singing and that will make people just dance." The lyrics were born in late 2015 in Fonsi's house after he expressed his desire to record a "swinging song" for his new album. Panamanian singer and songwriter Erika Ender, a Latin Grammy Award-winner, went to Luis Fonsi's house in Miami, who said to her that he woke up mulling about "writing a song called 'Despacito'." Fonsi sang the lines "Vamos a hacerlo en una playa en Puerto Rico", Ender replied "Hasta que las olas griten 'Ay Bendito'" and then they began to build the song. The Puerto Rico line was moved to the end of the song in order to not sound "so regional" and they started writing a story.
Fonsi originally composed "Despacito" as a cumbia and pop song with lyrics written as a ballad, but began to consider giving it an "urban injection" and contacted reggaeton artist Daddy Yankee through WhatsApp, who agreed to collaborate on the song after Fonsi played him the demo. Prior to collaborating on "Despacito", Fonsi and Daddy Yankee had worked together on "Una Oportunidad", released digitally in 2010. Daddy Yankee wrote his verse and the post-chorus or hook. He improvised his verse while thinking about his father playing bongos at his house, citing that as "percussion attacks." They recorded the song in Miami in 2016. The song was produced by Mauricio Rengifo and Andrés Torres; the former is known as a member of Colombian pop duo Cali & El Dandee and the latter is known for previously working with David Bisbal, Thalía, and Ricky Martin, among various Latin acts.
Originally, Luis Fonsi focused on other songs of his album after making the demo of "Despacito". After showing the track to his producers, they and Fonsi decided to focus on "Despacito" and leave the other works aside. He stated that both Daddy Yankee and he were surprised after hearing the final song because it sounded "powerful, fresh and different." Luis Fonsi said that he does not consider it a reggaeton song but feels that "it does have a reggaeton energy and an subtle urban beat." He also affirmed that Daddy Yankee's work was a plus to the song because "it needed that explosion that only he can bring to the table." Ender stated that the track "went through several arrangements" until Fonsi got "exactly the arrangement he wanted."
Fonsi stated that he made "Despacito" a danceable song because "Latinos are known for being happy people" and that he feels the need of happy music. He added that the "urban feel" in the song's rhythm is the type that "[us Latinos] breathe in and out" and that it is "a synonym of party." According to him, "Despacito" is a very melodic song that can adapt well to many other music genres. In an interview with Billboard magazine in April 2017, Erika Ender stated that the track "made a special connection" and that the collaboration with Daddy Yankee was "a great idea." She also said that because of the sensual nature of the song, they "needed to be responsible with a good lyric" and that her approach to writing for Fonsi was "to take care of how to say things with a good taste." During the 2017 Billboard Latin Music Conference, American-Puerto Rican singer and songwriter Nicky Jam revealed that the original version of "Despacito" featured him instead of Daddy Yankee.
A 22-second sample of "Despacito" featuring part of the chorus.
Mauricio Rengifo and Andrés Torres produced "Despacito" using Pro Tools and its final mix consisted of 47 tracks. The song begins with a Puerto Rican cuatro played by Christian Nieves, which is accompanied by an acoustic guitar when Luis Fonsi starts performing. Nieves plays salsa-influenced melodies during the chorus and the hook, which contains vocal samples and "old school pop" effects based on American producer Dr. Luke. Percussion instruments guache and güira were synchronized with a hi hat in order to highlight the track's cumbia influences. The song uses the side-chaining production technique in order to make the chorus "more prominent", silencing the music as the kick drum hits. It also makes heavy use of text painting when the music is slowed down as the word "Despacito" (slowly) is performed at the beginning of every chorus. Its percussion consists of guache, cowbell, timbales, güira, and sequenced drum patterns.
Release and reception
"Despacito" was made available for digital download on January 13, 2017 by Universal Music Latin. It was released physically on April 30, 2017 in Europe as a 2-track single including the original and pop version. Some music publications believed the single's success was influenced by a trend of combining Latin pop and urban music after the release of hit singles by Nicky Jam, Thalia, Enrique Iglesias, Carlos Vives, Ricky Martin and Shakira. Fonsi considered the trend to be "the new pop", and Ender said of it, "everyone is making this type of fusions." Luis Fonsi also stated that two weeks after the release of the song and its music video he started receiving calls from "people who normally don't call. People who only call when something different is going on." He got calls from "Ricky Martin, Juan Luis Guerra, Marc Anthony and other artists telling me it was a home run."
The song was well received from music critics. Doris Irizarry of AXS praised the fusion between "Latin sensual rhythms" and urban music, describing it as "masterful." Sebastian Wernke-Schmiesing of Dance-Charts electronic journal stated that "a simple 4/4 time, Spanish guitar sounds, a crisp bass, and the excellent vocals by Luis Fonsi and [Daddy Yankee] were enough to get a hit single from the start." He added that "'Despacito' has the magic it takes to reach the world" and that "works both on the dancefloors and on the radio." Buddy Iahn of The Music Universe described it as an "infectious tune" and expressed that its music video became very popular because it is "great music performed by two of the biggest stars in the Latin music business." Diana Marti of E! News said that "it is almost impossible not to dance to [it]." Caroline Soriano of Enstars magazine described the song's beat as "quite sexy and catchy" and defined the lyrics as "captivating." Brittany Spanos of Rolling Stone magazine described it as alluring, sexy and catchy.Leila Cobo of Billboard expressed that "Despacito" is "a great pop song", highlighting the "undeniable immediate catchiness" of the pre-chorus and the chorus. Cobo also stated that it "is a clever blend of romantic Latin pop with a reggaeton beat, subtly naughty lyrics, a rapper’s contemporary edge and an irresistible chorus that can be applied to so many situations."
Robert Joffred of Medium's culture blog That Good You Need stated in his review that the song has "something [very] interesting happening" and that it can be classified as a Latin-American song because of its composition and characteristics. He highlighted the use of a steel-string guitar to play flamenco-style melodies instead of a nylon-string guitar, on which flamenco is usually played, representing "a modern take on a historical musical style." Joffred also stated that what makes "Despacito" a "great song" is that it "throws decades of tradition to the wind in a very subtle way" because of the presence of "swung rhythms" when the word "Despacito" is sung at the beginning of the chorus. He referred to the text painting as "pretty genius." Petra Rivera-Rideau, author of Remixing Reggaetón: The Cultural Politics of Race in Puerto Rico (2015), said that she "really likes" the song and that it is "super catchy." She also stated that "what's great about 'Despacito' is that it shows reggaeton never really went away" and that the song's success "makes [her] really excited to see what’s going to happen next." Raisa Bruner of Time magazine described the single as "an infectious Latin melody ... amped up with reggaeton grooves" and "an irresistible dance tune."
Spanish record producer Nahúm García stated that "the way the rhythm breaks before the chorus is genius", referring to the first time Luis Fonsi performs the word "Despacito". He explained that "the brain realizes that there has been a rare breakdown and it catches its eye", and claimed that this "trick" in particular is not very common "and much less in pop music." García concluded stating that the song "is very well made." James Kellaris, composer and professor at the University of Cincinnati's business school, expressed that "'Despacito' contains earworm elements" for being "cheerful, simple, repetitive and having a sticky rhythm." Joshua Barrie of Irish Mirror gave a negative opinion about the lyrics after being translated to English, referring to them as "quite rude. And a bit creepy." and stating that "some people might find them offensive."
Luis Fonsi Featuring Daddy Yankee Carlos R. Perez, video director; Joanna Egozcue & Roxy Quiñones, video producers
In 2017, Billboard's critics ranked "Despacito" the fourth best song and the best Latin song of 2017 and the fifth best Latin song of all-time, referring to it as "one of the biggest hits in Latin music history" and "one of the biggest singles of all time."Rolling Stone positioned it as the seventh best song of 2017, stating that it became "your suburban grandmother's favorite Spanish-language song since 'La Bamba'."Time ranked it the third best song of 2017, closing a brief review by stating that "in a year where xenophobia reared its head worldwide, it inspires hope that the charts were dominated by such a universal, multicultural hit." The remix version alone was ranked the 29th and 38th best song of 2017 by Noise magazine and Spin, respectively; the latter stating that "it managed to transcend genre, time, space, and even personal taste in a way that was unprecedented." It was also ranked the 20th and 21st best song of 2017 by PopSugar and The New York Times, respectively. In November 2017, Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee were selected as the "Stars of the Year" by People en Español.
In July 2017, officials from the Government of Malaysia reported that "Despacito" was being banned from airing on government-owned broadcast stations as a result of public complaints. Government ministers said that the song was considered un-Islamic and that its lyrics were "not suitable to be heard."
In the United States, the single debuted at number two on the Hot Latin Songs chart on February 4, 2017, becoming Fonsi's highest-charting single since June 13, 2009, when "Aquí Estoy Yo" peaked at the top position. "Despacito" became also Fonsi's and Daddy Yankee's first number one hit single on the US Latin Digital Songs chart after selling 11,000 downloads sold on the week ending on February 4, 2017. It was Daddy Yankee's highest debut ever on the Hot Latin Songs chart, in which he marked his 48th career hit. "Despacito" succeeded Shakira's "Chantaje" featuring Maluma at number one on the US Hot Latin Songs chart on February 18, 2017 and remained there for 35 consecutive weeks until October 14, 2017, precedecing "Mi Gente" by J Balvin and Willy William featuring Beyoncé on October 21, 2017. It returned to number one for 17 more weeks from January 6, 2018 to April 28, 2018, preceding "X" by Nicky Jam and J Balvin on May 5, 2018. It is the longest reign at number one on the Hot Latin Songs chart with 52 non-consecutive weeks, surpassing "Bailando" by Enrique Iglesias featuring Descemer Bueno and Gente de Zona, which spent 41 consecutive weeks at the top position from May 17, 2014 to February 21, 2015.
On the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, the single debuted at number 88 on February 4, 2017, becoming Fonsi's third entry on that chart and Daddy Yankee's seventh. It subsequently peaked at number 44 on April 15, 2017 before the release of the remix version featuring Justin Bieber. Several weeks after the remix's release, "Despacito" reached number one on the Hot 100 for the week ending May 27, 2017, becoming both Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's first number one on the chart, and Bieber's fifth. It had topped the Hot 100 for 16 consecutive weeks, tying with "One Sweet Day" by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men as the longest-reigning number-one single in the chart's history. It preceded "Look What You Made Me Do" by Taylor Swift. It also became the first mostly-Spanish-language song to lead the all-genre US Digital Songs chart after selling 86,000 copies on the week ending May 13, 2017. On the Billboard issue dated July 22, 2017, it became the first non-primarily-English-language song to top the all-format Radio Songs and Mainstream Top 40 charts. On October 21, 2017, "Despacito" and "Mi Gente" by J Balvin and Willy William featuring Beyoncé marked the first time that two non-primarily-English-language songs chart within the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 simultaneously since the list's inception in August 1958. "Despacito" also became the single with most weeks at number one on the US Digital Songs and Streaming Songs charts with 17 and 16, respectively.
"Despacito" was the best-selling and most-streamed single of 2017 in the United States, with 2,692,000 downloads sold and 1,322,799,000 video and audio streams, adding up a combined total of 6,663,000 sales plus track-equivalent audio streams. It was also the sixth most-played song of 2017, with 608,000 spins across US radio stations and an audience of 3,076,935,000. It was the second best-performing song of 2017 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the best-performing on the Hot Latin Songs chart. Daddy Yankee was the best-performing artist of the 2017 Top Latin Artists year-end chart, which measures radio airplay, sales and streaming data for both singles and albums, touring revenue, Social 50 chart activity, and ringtone sales.
In the United States, "Despacito" sold 2,692,000 downloads as of December 31, 2017 and received a diamond certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on January 27, 2018, for units of over 10 million sales plus track-equivalent streams. It became the first Latin and 18th overall single to receive a diamond certification by the RIAA.
Internationally, the original version topped the charts of Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Mexico, the Netherlands, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Combined chart entries for the original and the remix version featuring Justin Bieber topped the charts of Australia, Canada, Luxembourg, Scotland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. "Despacito" spent 26 weeks as number one in Spain, 20 in Switzerland, 18 in France, Luxembourg, and Portugal, 17 in Denmark and Germany, 16 in Canada and Sweden, 15 in Belgium (Wallonia) and Ireland, 14 in Greece and Italy, 13 in Australia and Belgium (Flanders), 12 in Finland, 11 in the United Kingdom, and 10 in the Netherlands. It became the longest-reigning foreign language number one in the United Kingdom. In Latin America, it broke the record for most simultaneous number-ones on Monitor Latino's charts with 11 on the issue dated April 2, 2017. "Despacito" also became the most-played radio song of 2017 across Latin America, with 580,450 spins between the 18 countries Monitor Latino measure. In July 2017, "Despacito" became the world's most streamed song of all time with 4.6 billion streams between the original and remix version, surpassing Justin Bieber's "Sorry". In February 2018, the remix version became the first Latin and eight overall song to surpass one billion streams on Spotify.
In the United Kingdom, it was the second best-selling and most-streamed song of the year, with 2.3 million combined sales. It was also the best-selling single of 2017 in Canada, with more than 300,000 digital sales. It was the best-performing song of 2017 in Argentina, Austria, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, Uruguay, and Venezuela. It was the second best-performing song of 2017 in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. It was the best-performing foreign and non-Portuguese song of 2017 in Brazil. According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry Global Music Report, "Despacito" was the second best-selling digital single of 2017 worldwide, with 24.3 million sales plus track-equivalent streams.
The success of the song and its remix version led Daddy Yankee to become the most listened-to artist worldwide on the streaming service Spotify on July 9, 2017, being the first Latin artist to do so. He later became the fifth most listened-to male artist and the sixth overall of 2017 on Spotify. In June 2017, "Despacito" was cited by Billboard's Leila Cobo as the song that renewed interest in the Latin music market from recording labels in the United States. Julyssa Lopez of The Washington Post stated that the successes of "Despacito" and J Balvin's "Mi Gente" is "the beginning of a new Latin crossover era." Stephanie Ho of Genius website wrote that "the successes of 'Despacito' and 'Mi Gente' could point to the beginning of a successful wave for Spanish-language music in the US." Ho also stated that "as 'Despacito' proves, fans don't need to understand the language in order to enjoy the music", referring to the worldwide success of the song, including various non-Spanish-speaking countries.
In October 2017, Xander Zellner of Billboard credited the influence of the single's commercial success for the Latin music domination in the US mainstream market during 2017, as eleven primarily-Spanish-language songs have debuted on the Hot 100 as of October 21, compared to two in 2016 and five in 2015. American songwriter Desmond Child and Cuban musician Rudy Pérez, founders of the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame, expressed that "not since Ricky Martin's 'Livin' La Vida Loca' has there been a song in any genre that has had the global impact of 'Despacito', changing the course of pop music forever and ushering in an explosive new era of unlimited opportunities for all Latin music creators." In December 2017, Lars Brandle of Billboard related the success of "Despacito" with the increase of Latin music's global popularity, as six out of the ten most viewed YouTube music videos in 2017 are for songs performed in Spanish by Latin artists. Brandle referred to it as "the 'Despacito' effect". Jeff Benjamin of Billboard stated that the success of the song represented that "English is no longer a requirement for mainstream U.S. success."
In December 2017, British Official Charts Company recognized "Despacito" as the song that "helped Latin pop crossover to the mainstream once again" and highlighted that "Little Mix, Matt Terry, Demi Lovato and Camila Cabello all released Latin inspired songs this year. Camila's Havana even spent five weeks at Number 1 on the Official Singles Chart." Writing for Nielsen's 2017 Music Year-End Report, Erin Crawford stated that "Despacito" had "a halo effect on several other Latin hits ripe for crossover success, most notably J Balvin & Willy William's 'Mi Gente,' which catapulted to the top of the Hot Latin Songs chart after Beyoncé made a 'Despacito'-esque cameo on the song in September to help raise proceeds for families affected by Hurricane Maria."
The Recording Industry Association of America reported in April 2018 that Latin music revenues grew 37% in 2017, "driven primarily by music streaming," whose revenue increased 84% compared to 2016. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) reported that revenue in Latin America grew 17.7% in 2017, "driven largely by a 48.9% increase in streaming revenues that helped offset a 41.5% decline in physical revenue." "Despacito" has been described by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry as "a game-changing hit from Latin America to the world" and declared it "the song of 2017." IFPI's chief executive Frances Moore described the song as a "global smash hit" and related its success with "the broadening appeal of Latin music."
Shortly after the release of the single and its subsequent success, an Argentine band composed of football club San Lorenzo de Almagro's fans reworked the song in order to chant it during matches, and its positive reception on the Internet rebounded in fans from other Argentine clubs, such as Independiente and Boca Juniors, and other countries, including Brazil, Uruguay, Tunisia, Israel, and Korea, to make their own version. Martino Simcik of The Guardian referred to the situation as "the song's rebirth as a football anthem" and stated that "while the antics of a forgetful pop star created a divisive association with the song, football fans have made it an ode to our collective passion." In Argentina, the melody of the song was also used to protest and during mobilizations.
In July 2017, it was reported that tourist interest in Puerto Rico increased by 45% since the worldwide success of the song. Tour operators cite the song's music video for increasing interest in locations such as Club La Factoría and La Perla district in Old San Juan, which were featured in the video.
The music video for "Despacito" was directed by Puerto Rican director Carlos Pérez and produced by Joanna Egozcue and Roxy Quiñones. Filming took place in December 2016 in La Perla neighborhood and the popular bar La Factoría in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Carlos Pérez had previously worked with Luis Fonsi on "Corazón en la Maleta" (2014) and also with Daddy Yankee on clips including "Gasolina" (2004), "Rompe" (2005), "Gangsta Zone" (2006), "Descontrol" (2010), and "Ven Conmigo" (2011), among others. Thomas Marvel was responsible for the video's cinematography.
Wanting Carlos Pérez to direct the clip, Luis Fonsi reached him the song and wanted to make "something special." According to Fonsi, Pérez was impressed with the track after listening to it, and showed interest in the project. Fonsi then called Miss Universe 2006 winner Zuleyka Rivera and said to her "You normally don't do music videos, but just hear the song. Listen and imagine us doing something really historic in the streets of Puerto Rico, with Daddy Yankee, myself and you representing the Latina powerful woman, and please listen and tell me if you want to be a part of this." She called him back 10 minutes later and replied that it was "the best song she'd ever heard."
According to Luis Fonsi, the music video celebrates Latin American culture, saying that movement, dancing and rhythm are "engraved into his bones." He also affirms that part of the song's success was the reception of the fans, capturing the best of Fonsi's romantic ballad and danceable facets. Carlos Perez stated that the clip "directly supports the vibe of the song" and that it "is a video that has soul to it." Jorge Muñíz Ortíz of Agencia EFE stated that the music video "highlights some of the main cultural and folkloric symbols of [Puerto Rico]" by showing its "splendid beaches, the colorful landscape of [La Perla], the rattle of the Puerto Rican cuatro and the barrels of the autochthonous genre of bomba, even Zuleyka Rivera's hips movement, and a pair of men enjoying a game of dominoes."
On April 10, 2018, Luis Fonsi's YouTube Vevo account was hacked by an anonymous group, who removed the music video for "Despacito" from his channel for hours before becoming available again.BBC News reported that clips from more than a dozen Vevo channels, including those of Drake, Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez and Shakira, were also affected. The hackers stated that "the act was not malicious, but just in good fun."
The video shows both artists performing the song while participating on different parties on the island, featuring model Zuleyka Rivera. The clip starts with shots of La Perla's coast during daylight while showing Zuleyka Rivera arriving at the shanty town on foot. Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee perform the song in a street while elders are playing dominos, a child is getting his hair cut, two people are talking while listening to the radio, and couples are dancing in the background. The video intercalates with shots of Fonsi and Daddy Yankee singing in front of a car with people sitting on it and dancing next to it. As Daddy Yankee is finishing his verse, Zuleyka Rivera enters La Factoría bar while the artists are performing and dancing alongside other people, and men are playing bomba drums. Fonsi proceeds to dance with Rivera as the song ends. The outro consists of Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee singing the hook a cappella with the people at the bar.
Performance and accolades
The official music video on YouTube was released on Fonsi's channel on January 12, 2017 and amassed one billion views in 97 days, becoming the second-fastest video on the site to reach the milestone behind the music video for Adele's "Hello". The video received two billion views in 154 days, surpassing Justin Bieber's record of 394 days with the music video for his song "Sorry" to become the fastest video on the site to reach the milestone. The video became the first on YouTube to receive three billion, four billion, and five billion views on August 4, 2017; October 11, 2017; and April 5, 2018, respectively (dates are based on UTC). It has received over 5.1 billion views as of May 3, 2018 and has been the most viewed video on the site since August 4, 2017, when it surpassed the music video for "See You Again" by Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth. It is also the site's most liked video, with over 27 million as of May 3, 2018. On Vevo, the music video received 5.14 million views in its first 24 hours of release, which the website reported as being the most for a Spanish-language video's first day on its platform, surpassing J Balvin's record with the music video for his song "Bobo".
The first stage performance of "Despacito" was by Daddy Yankee solo in Merida, Mexico on February 27, 2017, while Fonsi performed the pop version on the L Festival on March 18, 2017 at the Pico Rivera Sports Arena in Pico Rivera, California. Justin Bieber performed the remix version in Puerto Rico on April 18, 2017 on his Purpose World Tour with Luis Fonsi as guest. Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee performed "Despacito" live together for the first time at the 2017 Billboard Latin Music Awards on April 27, 2017. They performed together again on The Voiceseason 12 finals featuring contestant Mark Isaiah on May 23, 2017. On June 12, 2017, Luis Fonsi performed solo on Conan, a talk show hosted by Conan O'Brien, being his first late-night television appearance in the United States.
Daddy Yankee included the song on the setlist for his Tamo En Vivo Europe Tour, which lasted from June 2 to July 9, 2017. Fonsi also included "Despacito" on his Love + Dance World Tour, which began on July 1, 2017. On September 14, 2017, Luis Fonsi performed the single on the American talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Erika Ender also performed an acoustic version of the song during a Billboard session on September 18, 2017 in order to promote her album Tatuajes. On November 16, 2017, Luis Fonsi performed the song featuring Puerto Rican musician Victor Manuelle, Colombian band Bomba Estéreo, and American disc jockey Diplo at the 18th Latin Grammy Awards. Erika Ender and Brazilian singer-songwriter Roberto Carlos performed an acoustic version featuring drummers and dancers from Beija-Flor Samba school in Brazil on November 29, 2017.
On April 17, 2017 a remix version featuring vocals by Canadian singer Justin Bieber was released, who sang in Spanish for the first time in his career. The remix was released as a single by Universal Music Latin, Republic Records, Def Jam Recordings, RBMG and School Boy Records. The song maintained the original rhythms and Luis Fonsi translated some lines to English, singing a verse in Spanglish, while Daddy Yankee's verses were kept from the original version. It was the first collaboration between Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee with Bieber. The remix's official audio video garnered 20 million views on YouTube on its first 24 hours, making it the third-highest debut for a music-related video in 2017 as of September.
Justin Bieber and American songwriters Jason Boyd and Marty James co-wrote the version. Colombian musician Juan Felipe Samper was hired to help him sing in Spanish. According to Fonsi, Bieber wanted to record the remix version after seeing how people reacted to "Despacito" in a Colombian club. The song was recorded in Bogotá, Colombia on April 13, 2017, four days before its release. His participation was arranged via his manager Scooter Braun. Bieber's vocal producer Josh Gudwin flew over Bogota in order to record his vocals, and mixed the song, in part in a departure lounge on Miami Airport. The whole process took less than a week. Justin Bieber was not able to sing the song during live performances, and was caught replacing portions of the lyrics with the word "blah" during one performance, in a much publicized incident. Fonsi has defended him for not knowing the lyrics, saying he has to be given "a little bit of a pass" because Spanish is not Bieber's main language.
Hilton Dresden of Out magazine described it as "unexpected and delightful" and that "Justin Bieber singing in Spanish is a highly sexual experience", defining the results of the collaboration as legendary. Caroline Soriano of Ernstars magazine stated that Bieber's voice "sounds appealing with the song", whose remix version make it sound "a little bit better."Latina's Daniela Galvez described Bieber singing in Spanish as "amazing."
Other remixes and cover versions
The first two official remixes for "Despacito" were released on March 17, 2017: a solo pop version by Fonsi and a salsa version featuring vocals by Puerto Rican musician Victor Manuelle. On May 5, 2017, two other remixes were released: an electronic dance version produced by American trio Major Lazer and Colombian DJ MOSKA and an urban version remixed by Colombian producer Sky. A Portuguese-language version written by Erika Ender and performed by Luis Fonsi featuring Brazilian singer Israel Novaes was released on July 14, 2017. A banda version by Luis Fonsi with Mexican group La Bandononona Clave Nueva De Max Peraza was released on September 1, 2017.
A Spanish/Mandarin version by Luis Fonsi and Singaporean singer-songwriter JJ Lin was released on January 26, 2018 in order to introduce "Despacito" in China, since the original version was not released in the country. It was produced by The Swaggernautz, a production duo composed by Singaporean producer Tat Tong and American singer and producer Jovany Javier, and was co-written, mixed, and engineered by Harry Chang, who also provided backing vocals. Work on the song started in July 2017, with the process being derailed at multiple points as consequence of consecutive hurricanes in the Caribbean.
In an interview with Billboard magazine in March 2017, Luis Fonsi stated that there are several remixes for "Despacito", including an urban and a club version, mentioning that "there are some great DJs who have shown interest." He also expressed his desire to perform an acoustic version. In June 2017, English musician Ed Sheeran revealed that he wanted to record a remix version of "Despacito" but Justin Bieber "advantaged him." He also stated that he likes reggaeton music, saying that it has a "good rhythm" and that "everyone enjoys it."
The song has also been remixed, with altered lyrics, for political purposes. It has been used in Argentina by Florencio Randazzo, Evert Van Tooren and Agustín Rossi for their respective TV advertisements for the 2017 midterm elections. Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro used it to call for voting in the controversial Constitutional Assembly election. Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Erika Ender showed their displeasure with the unauthorized use of the song for political purposes in Venezuela, criticizing Maduro's government and describing the use of the song as "propaganda." Fonsi said that he was never consulted or have he authorized the use of the song for political ends, "less so in the context of the deplorable situation affecting a country that I love so much as Venezuela." He also stated that his music is "for all of those that want to listen to it and enjoy it, not to use it as propaganda that tries to manipulate the will of the people that are crying out for their freedom and a better future." Despite the criticism by the artists, President Maduro continued to use the remix promoting the election, using it during a cadena. On August 16, 2017, English television host James Corden remixed the song to comment on American President Donald Trump during his talk show The Late Late Show with James Corden.
Appearances in other media
A Spanglish parody titled "El Patito" (The Rubber Duckie) by American children's television show Sesame Street was published on August 21, 2017. The song was featured on a TV commercial by Spotify and Chilean retail multinational Falabella starring Ciro Priello, Fabio Balsamo, and Gianluca Fru, three Italian comedians who gained notoriety through a viral parody video about "Despacito" on YouTube. "Despacito" is one of the songs included on Ubisoft's dance video game Just Dance 2018. Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee had a brief appearance in "YouTube Rewind: The Shape of 2017", a short video that features the trends on the platform during the year. During the 2018 Winter Olympics, "Despacito" was used by three separate teams (China's Xinyu Liu and Shiyue Wang, South Korea's Alexander Gamelin and Yura Min, and Poland's Maksym Spodyriev and Natalia Kaliszek) as the soundtrack for their ice dance performances. The song is also featured in the Netflix film Ibiza (2018).
^ ab"Guld- och Platinacertifikat" (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. Retrieved January 5, 2018. Type Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee (feat. Justin Bieber) in the top right search bar. Click on "Sok" and select Despacito (Remix) and see certification.
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