Una evolución: How Jhay Cortez breaks boundaries in Latin urban music
Jhay Cortez is the most prolific songwriter of his generation having written on some of the biggest hits Cardi B’s “I Like It”, Natti Natasha’s “Criminal”, and even J Balvin & Bad Bunny’s Oasis album. His debut album Famouz charted top 10 on Billboards Hot Latin Albums chart for over 60+ weeks. His current single with Bad Bunny, “Dakiti” is the #1 song globally according to Spotify and Apple Music, beating out Ariana Grande’s “Positions” on debut week. Now with his new single, “Kobe en LA” is a push to break the boundaries of latin urban music and will be featured on his forthcoming sophomore album, Timelezz.
Galore Girl: I must ask, what fashion brands are you really into right now?
Jhay Cortez: I’m not really a guy to say if I love this popular brand or anything. I’m more into lowkey designers. Like this Puerto Rican kid Official Night Kids, he did all my custom stuff for “Kobe en LA”.
Galore Girl: What can you tell me about your new single “Kobe en LA”? What does it mean to you?
Jhay: This single for me is like an art. It’s been so long for me to create my own sound. Una evolución. To evolve. I wanna really show my producer side, my artist side. This is really a reflection of me, as a producer, as a writer, as a creative person.
Galore Girl: What are fans to expect in this album that’d contrast from your previous work?
Jhay: Famouz was for my music to get attention. For my music to be famous. I was still finding myself in Famouz. I mean, I was always showing myself, but not as deeply. This album will show more of my color, more of my personality, and more of what I represent as a creative person.
Galore Girl: Speaking of your music being famous. How does it feel to have the number 1 song in the world right now?!
Jhay: Hahaha! I mean it’s a dream come true. Like when I used to be a kid I always wanted to make history. Not just sing or be an artist. I wanted to really make history and break records.
Galore Girl: “Dakiti” is the first Spanish-only song by 2 Latinos in history to hit the top 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100, how does it feel to represent Latinxs on the global stage?
Jhay: I’m really proud, really excited, and happy about it. And I’m even happier because the second I heard it I knew it was a global hit. I wanted to celebrate that; “fuck I got it!” Even when Bad Bunny wasn’t in it yet. I knew it. I’m just happy now that my vision came through. “Dakiti” was one of those songs that I looked for 2 months for that song. Asking producers for beats and all that. I never found it. So I just started making the beat myself. And it came out! I asked the universe for it, and there we have it.
Galore Girl: How do you feel about Latin music, is it evolving in the American markets?
Jhay: I feel like it’s a more better mix now. It’s the same kind of beat. We have our own flavor but like even if you don’t speak Spanish, most songs have an American beat. So more people can fuck with it, y’know?
Galore Girl: During the beginning of the pandemic you were on a hiatus and little did the public knew that you were working on your new album, Timelezz. How was it creating music within quarantine?
Jhay: I mean it was hard. Every time it’s hard, it just means something great is coming. It was more hard for me doing the album when I was on tour. And now that I have to time to sit down. Now I can think about what I can do for this album differently and what I can evolve in this album that I wasn’t showing in my last one. How can I take my vision and put it on screen? I didn’t have time on tour to think about of a video like “Kobe en LA”. A seven minute video with 3 different transitions, 2 different female singers on the song, and different producers. It’s a really elaborate project. I’m happy I finally had the time to find not only myself, but find the music.
Galore Girl: What’s the future for Timelezz? Will there possibly be a tour next year or will you be part of the online concert trend?
Jhay: We’re still working on that. I hope we can make a tour. Not on the Internet or nothing. I really love being in person.
Galore Girl: Will we be seeing any other special collaborations in your new album?
Jhay: There’s this collaboration I’m really excited about this group called Buscabulla from Puerto Rico. I’m a really really big fan of them. They’re super creative. They’re a husband and wife duo. The wife sings and the husband produces. They’re creative genius. They helped me on an outro and interlude in the album, and helped me vocally a bit on “Kobe en LA”. The collaborations are not about big stars on the album. It’s about the big stars I fuck with.
Jhay Cortez for Galore by Keanu Orange