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J Balvin is on a roll.
In March, just as the world shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Colombian artist released his fifth studio album, Colores. The project hit No. 2 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart and earned J Balvin thirteen Latin Grammy Award nominations, the most of any artist this year. Now, he is gearing up for another big moment in his career.
Balvin is announcing that he will be getting his own meal at McDonald’s. He joins Travis Scott as the second celebrity whose name will appear on the menu of the restaurant chain since Michael Jordan. And he is the first Latino artist who McDonald’s has worked with in this capacity.
“It is crazy because we’re talking about Michael Jordan and Travis Scott, so it’s a blessing,” he tells Complex. “I consider myself a global citizen, but I’m from Medellín, Colombia and this is the first time they’re working with a Latino. It’s a big campaign, so I feel really proud of it.”
Similar to the Travis Scott campaign, J Balvin and McDonald’s will introduce a signature meal, which includes a Big Mac without pickles, medium fries with ketchup, and an Oreo McFlurry. To commemorate the “The J Balvin” meal, the singer showed us a diamond-encrusted chain with a McDonald’s tray and meal on it.
During a Zoom call, J Balvin spoke with Complex about his new McDonald’s partnership, new music, dream collaborations, and more. The interview, lightly edited for clarity, is below.
Why did you decide to partner with McDonald’s?
I grew up with McDonald’s. I wasn't born in the States, but since I was a kid, I was eating McDonald’s meals. When I had my very first chance to go to the States, it was like a dream to me, coming from Colombia to my first time having a McDonald’s meal. It’s those types of moments that connect with me as a child. And when they called me saying that they wanted to work with me, I immediately said yes because it connects with me and my childhood. I’ve always been a big fan. It’s crazy to have your own meal. Basically, the meal that I have here is in this chain: a McFlurry, Big Mac with no pickles of course, medium fries, the ketchup, and tray. I just wanted to do something different with it.
You now join Travis Scott as the second celebrity on the McDonald’s menu since Michael Jordan. What does that mean to you?
It is crazy because we’re talking about Michael Jordan and Travis Scott. So it’s a blessing. And the fact that I’m Latino… I consider myself a global citizen, but I’m from Medellín, Colombia, and this is the first time they’re working with a Latino. It’s a big campaign, so I feel really proud of it. And yeah, I can’t wait to see people who wait in line and buy the J Balvin meal and support the culture. It’s really dope.
Your name will be in restaurants all over the world. How do you think it will impact your career?
It’s a win win. Connecting with McDonalds and people who love what I do, and connecting with people who don’t know J Balvin, it’s a win-win. It’s all about connecting to make this bigger.
You dropped Colores in March, and because of the COVID pandemic, you were unable to tour. Have you and your team discussed what a tour would like maybe next year?
Yeah, I think we have to wait for the vaccine and see what’s going to happen next year. We have to see which places will allow big crowds. We’re staying positive and we’re setting up the new tour, but it’s really not in our hands. We have to see what’s going on with the science and the vaccine. But hopefully next year. We’ll see. Right now, we’re doing a lot of music and a lot of things.
Bad Bunny just had a virtual concert in New York City. Would you ever do something like that?
We did a special program, kind of like a show for YouTube. It was a really cool virtual show. We’re going to keep pushing things like that, but we really can’t wait to go on tour.
Are you currently working on new music now?
100 percent. When quarantine started, I was like, I have to do music or I’m going to go crazy because I have a lot of free time. Normally, we would be touring, but the schedule has just slowed down, which is a blessing because it’s been more than 10 years since I stopped. But there’s going to be a lot of good music.
You’re known for having big collaborations. Is there anyone in particular that you would like to work with or are excited about working with in the future?
Oh man. When it comes to music, Bruno Mars, Drake, Rihanna, Post Malone. There’s some features that we haven’t done that would be cool.
Is there any chance you and Bad Bunny will do a follow-up to Oasis?
I think we should do another one. We have to see the schedule next year and how things are going. I’m always open to doing a second one, and he might be open too. It’s just timing.
You partnered with Takashi Murakami on your previous merch. Any chances you’ll be doing another collaboration?
Yeah, we’re going to have a lot of projects coming soon. We’re planning to do something with ABC. And in the future, we’re going to do more collabs.
What’s the most important thing you want people to know about you right now?
I mean, I just got off of COVID a month ago. So we should be really precautious and take care of ourselves. It’s not a joke.