On February 12, 2016, J Balvin made history.
Italy’s prestigious Festival di Sanremo is one of the most important music festivals in the world. Taking place in Sanremo, a coastal city in western Italy, the 5-day-long singing competition has a 40 +-year history and has launched the careers of both Laura Pausini and Eros Ramazzotti.
As a guest on the fourth night of the Festival, Balvin became part of its legendary story when he performed his international hit "Ginza." The viral track had an historic release last year, hitting No. 1 in 15 countries—including the U.S., Puerto Rico, Colombia, and Ecuador—seemingly overnight. More recently, it reached No. 1 on iTunes in Italy, where it is now certified platinum.
So, it comes as no surprise that he brought "Ginza" to the stage at the Ariston Theatre, where the Festival has taken place every year since 1977. Although Sanremo has seen performances from Latin artists in the past—among them Menudo (1986), Juan Luis Guerra (1995), and Aventura (2004)—Balvin was the first reggaetonero to perform on that stage. And he nailed it!
Balvin’s appearance at the Festival proves the growing popularity of música latina all over the world. In Italy, Latin music, including reggaeton, is especially popular right now, and its biggest hits are finding success there (Nicky Jam & Enrique Iglesias’ “El Perdón” and Alvaro Soler’s “El Mismo Sol” both consistently topped the charts last year), while fans eagerly await the arrival of Latin artists como los bachateros Prince Royce and Romeo Santos this spring.