J Balvin gets candid about his latest documentary, The Boy From Medellin
Call him the Prince of Reggaeton or simply J Balvin, José Álvaro Osorio Balvin is a legend of sorts and a host to several chartbuster music albums. The Colombian singer who is known to keep his private life rather discreet, collaborated with the award-winning filmmaker Matthew Heineman for The Boy From Medellin, a documentary that takes his fans back to an important week in Balvin’s life.
The movie transports us to the actual build-up that took place before Balvin’s dream concert in his hometown Medellin, Columbia. A fully-booked football stadium, political unrest in Colombia, and situations that weren’t handled properly take the centrestage. The star gets candid about how the documentary was filmed, making Latin music and the importance of mental health. Excerpts:
The Boy From Medellin is out now. Where did the idea to document your concert come from?
We did not plan it. We just wanted to record the concert and present it in a normal way. The social disorders that happened that week changed our directions. Matthew directed the process and here we are.
For the concert you return to your hometown, how did that feel like? Also, how important is creating music in your language?
Medellin is my home. It is the city where I grew up and it 100 percent inspires me. To return home is exhilarating.
I have desired to internationalise Latin culture throughout the world. So I continue and will continue to create music with love and passion.
We also see a side to you that you usually don’t talk about. But in the documentary, you revealed how you have been coping with depression. Was it easy to show your most vulnerable side?
Mental health is an important topic. We may not discuss it in the open, but in the end, it is the reality. Just like COVID-19, it is a pandemic and everyone across the globe is suffering from it — some in an acute way and others less acute. But we must learn to accept that it is our reality now.
Yes, there is vulnerability. It is a part of humankind, even if you do not wish to accept it.
Apart from mental health, what is that one thing the documentary will educate everyone about?
Everything. Everyone will have something that they can connect to. It will make someone understand what is happening around us and how the consequences will touch people. They will also see how it was my turn to learn and see how situations are handled. After all, political situations are not easy to face.
Streaming on Amazon Prime Video.