J Balvin headlining Lollapalooza is just another example that the world of music festivals is evolving.
The “Mi Gente” singer will be one of the eight artists headlining the music festival August 1-4 at Chicago’s Grant Park. More importantly, he’ll be the first Latino headliner in Lollapalooza’s 28-year history.
Latino artists have performed at the festival before but never as a headliner, which is what makes this year’s lineup different from the rest.
Like Beyoncé was for Coachella, J Balvin’s performance will show that Lolla finally recognizes there’s a large audience in the United States not only for reggaeton but for Spanish-language music.
Balvin is listed above other big stars – Lil Wayne, Kacey Musgraves and Janelle Monae, to name a few. And some of his achievements over the past year support why the “Ginza” and “Safari” singer deserves his time to shine at Lollapalooza.
His music transcends languages
Hailing from Colombia, Balvin received eight Billboard nominations this year, including top Latin artist, top Latin song, and top Latin album as well as several other categories for his work with Cardi B on “I Like It.”
The rapper, born Jose Alvaro Osorio Balvin, was one of the most-streamed artists on Spotify last year. He also has collaborated with other American music icons, including Justin Bieber and Beyoncé. And even then, you’ll rarely (if ever) see Balvin perform in English.
“Just because you are Latino does not mean you can’t be global,” Balvin told CNN last year.
That’s what makes him stand out from other artists like Luis Fonsi and Bad Bunny. And while some of his audience in the United States may not speak Spanish fluently, that’s not stopping him from performing the way he wants to be known.
Lollapalooza isn’t his first big music gig
Balvin has already played Coachella twice. He first performed at the California festival last year as a guest during Beyoncé’s headlining set, where he embraced his Latin pop flair while Queen Bey introduced HBCU culture to the Coachella crowd.
This year, the 33-year-old graced the stage on his own, celebrating the beauty and vibrancy of reggaeton music.
Last fall, Balvin kicked off his 27-day US tour, which included energetic dancers, several celebrity cameos and even dinosaurs.
“I don’t just make music for people who like reggaeton,” Balvin told Rolling Stone. “I make music for everybody. I’m down to change people’s minds, I’m down to just refresh the world.”
Music is just one factor for mainstream success
Even with No. 1 music hits, an artist’s success is also measured by their influence on consumers’ commercial power.
According to Nielsen, millennial Latinx consumers over-index in areas, such as listening to streaming music and following artists on social media when compared to non-Hispanics in the United States.
Balvin reaches audiences that brands are vying to engage with. His recent partnership with Guess is an example of that.
Balvin launched a seven-piece capsule of concert merchandise with Guess last year, named after his top-charting album “Vibras,” putting his mark on the fashion world. Fans could shop Balvin’s clothing line at select Guess stores near the concert locations days leading up to each performance.
“My partnership with Guess, a brand that has strong roots in the Latin community, not only aligns with my personal brand, but with my community and fan base as well,” Balvin said in a statement. “I am so excited to launch an exclusive collection of concert merch on tour and officially bring the vibe of our music to fashion.”