Rauw Alejandro, Like the Rest of Us, Has A Big Crush on J.Lo
Every hot, sticky summer demands an equally exhilarating anthem. Enter Rauw Alejandro, summer 2k21’s breakout Puerto Rican reggaeton star. With “Todo de Ti,” an infectious pop-disco-reggaeton hybrid that has raked in more than 207 million audio and video streams, Alejandro has positioned himself to take the dance floor by storm all year round. The single, one of many move-your-body bangers off of his sophomore album Vice Versa (out now), signals Alejandro’s mastery of the music industry’s holy trinity, blending early aughts reggaeton beats with self-aware lyrics and Tik Tok-worthy dance routines. At 28-year-old, the artist has already collaborated with some of the biggest stars of the moment, from Farruko to Selena Gomez. Yesterday, he was featured on Jennifer Lopez’s new song “Cambia El Paso,” an empowering nightclub track that already feels like a classic. Before Alejandro kicks off his world tour, the artist took a moment to answer a few questions for us about his love of blurring musical boundaries, his steady rise through the industry’s ranks, and his dream date (it is, of course, J. Lo.).
ERNESTO MACIAS: Tell me about your album ViceVersa, what was the inspiration behind the album and that name?
RAUW ALEJANDRO: I like to be inspired by my life’s situations, I also get inspired by other people’s situations. I’m always navigating feelings and emotions. Also, the girls, for sure. Musically, ViceVersa is an album that has so many types of music. It’s not an album of reggaeton, it’s a mix of cultures, you can find Afro, you can find house music, you can find disco, ‘80s—this is an amazing album. I did it for the summer. It’s just a rollercoaster of emotions, some days you feel this type of way, then the next day, you feel different. It’s a new Alejandro. I’m hoping that the fans love it, I put all my heart in it.
MACIAS: “Todo de Ti” is everywhere. Did you expect it to have this big of an impact?
ALEJANDRO: To be honest, I didn’t. When it became the number two song in the world, I was like, “What?” USA, Europe, Asia, around the world, and you see that you’re in competition with all of these big artists, you say “What’s going on?” But it’s amazing. I feel blessed, I feel happy.
MACIAS: I want to ask you about the song you allegedly sampled—a very big song—on “Todo De Ti,” can you tell me about that?
ALEJANDRO: It’s funny that you’re the first guy that put that topic in an interview. I’m gonna be honest with you, we never talked about Fergie. I swear to God, we never talked about it. But musically? You got 12 notes so it can happen, but that’s it. It was funny because there are so many songs that start that way, like Bruno Mars’ “Lucked Out of Heaven.” Music is music and “Todo De Ti” is totally different. That can happen, but there’s no sample in it.
MACIAS: What did you have for breakfast?
ALEJANDRO: Bro I love the classic American breakfast. Scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, pancakes, waffles, cornflakes, oatmeal. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.
MACIAS: How were you discovered?
ALEJANDRO: I’m not an artist that went from zero to 100. I was zero to 10, to 20, to 30, and every year was better than the last one. I covered all the steps. I started collaborating with artists at the same level. Then I jumped into the other one, starting to collaborate with people like Nicky Jam in 2018. Then Chencho Corleone with “El Efecto.” Then Farruko with “Fanstasía.” My first huge single was “Tattoo” and it was amazing, then I did the remix with Camilo and that was crazy too. This year we did a collaboration with Selena Gomez. Every year we got a better version of Alejandro.
MACIAS: Do you dream?
ALEJANDRO: When I’m sleeping I don’t remember any of my dreams because I’m a deep sleeper— I fall on my bed, and the next day I don’t remember anything. But I have big dreams. I wanna do albums, I wanna win Grammys, I want to represent my island, Puerto Rico. Just have a legacy when I die, so that people remember me and hear my music.
MACIAS: Is there anything you regret not doing?
ALEJANDRO: Kissing that girl, that time, that day [Laughs]. I don’t know man. My mom raised me good, teaching me all the time to never to be afraid of trying. It doesn’t matter if it works or not. For example, I used to play soccer and I tried with all my heart. Sometimes you know you need to make decisions where you don’t know what’s going to happen. That’s life, you learn from mistakes. I think that needs to happen to all of us, todos nosotros.
MACIAS: When do you get nervous?
ALEJANDRO: 15 minutes before the stage. I get so anxious and nervous. But once I touch the stage it disappears. When I fly too. I don’t like flying.
MACIAS: What do you do to calm down before a flight?
ALEJANDRO: I take a pill to go to sleep. I sleep like a baby. When I have short flights it’s hell because I can’t go to sleep because then you’re going to be sleeping the whole day, so I put classical music on. I just pray the whole way.
MACIAS: What’s your favorite movie?
ALEJANDRO: I’m always watching movies. I don’t get too attached. I love The Lion King, Scarface, Carlito’s Way, and Mission Impossible.
MACIAS: Who’s your dream date?
ALEJANDRO: My dream date. I think J. Lo, but we have a song together [Laughs]. I got a list, a big list.
MACIAS: What’s the craziest thing a fan has ever sent you?
ALEJANDRO: A box full of girls’ underwear. I don’t know the girl. I put it in the laundry right away. Fans are crazy, man, but I was a fan once too. I did dumb stuff when I was young.
MACIAS: It’s part of the game.
ALEJANDRO: I saw a girl that had a tattoo of my logo on her butt and all this stuff. She came to my concert and showed me.
MACIAS: Are you ever going to get used to that? Does it become normal?
ALEJANDRO: I don’t know man, it’s so spontaneous that you never know what to expect. You always see different kinds of crazy stuff in every city.
MACIAS: What do you think about love?
ALEJANDRO: I think love is the most important thing in life. I’m a big fan of team love. I promote love. Like I said, my mama raised me good. Love en el mundo, all over the world, bro. It can be friendship, romantic, anything. It’s the most important thing.
MACIAS: Do you get eight hours of sleep every day?
ALEJANDRO: Nope. Four, five.
MACIAS: And how do you keep going?
ALEJANDRO: Sometimes I just take a day off to sleep for like 12 or 14 hours before going nonstop for another two weeks. That’s my routine.
MACIAS: What are you most proud of?
ALEJANDRO: Sometimes I just go to the mirror and start talking to myself. I say, “I’m proud of you, you’re working hard.” There’s a spirit inside me, something that moves me. I’m proud to be able to help my family, to work with my brothers and my homies from school, to have a big team and employ people, all of that. For me, being able to give happiness to people is my biggest goal in life.
MACIAS: What do you like to do when you’re not working?
ALEJANDRO: Train my dog. Chill at home, watch some Netflix. Have some beer, go to the beach. I do so many things. I do sports, I do mixed martial arts. And I go to parties all the time. I try to be active and just enjoy life. Man, life is too short.
MACIAS: Always a good thing to remember. Do you believe in the American Dream?
ALEJANDRO: The American Dream. What is the American Dream? To retire young? Or to be rich? For me, my American Dream is to be able to support my family and not depend on the government. To do what you love in life, to be free, and help other people.
MACIAS: Vice Versa is coming out soon, you’re going on tour, what else is next for you?
ALEJANDRO: I got my first show at Coliseo de Puerto Rico in October, so I’m really happy to be able to perform in my city. For reggaeton culture, that’s the most important stadium. I’m nervous but so excited and ready. I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s gonna be awesome.