In an era full of multi-genre collaborations and world crossovers, Mexican trio Reik has managed to make a mark without losing its essence.
For a long time, they were a pop ballad group, born in 2003 with "Yo Quisiera" and "Noviembre Sin Ti" as its signature tunes. Fifteen years later, an organic sound prevails, with one more addition: urban rhythms, which the Mexican trio incorporated and placed at the center of synergies with other Latin artists. They didn't even have to switch languages to reach international markets.
"I love to think that you don't need to record in English to be a global artist, and that is what we are going to try to do," lead vocalist Jesús Alberto Navarro Rosas says. "Even though we're from the [Mexico-US] border and we speak English the same way as we speak Spanish, there is a sense of Latino pride."
Reik managed to transcend the times, adapt to current trends and position itself as a versatile, flexible and almost timeless band. Perhaps, it was this pop base that gave the trio some malleability to join voices with current urban artists, strengthening their essence. Recently, "Un Ano," performed with Sebastián Yatra, reached No. 4 on the Billboard Argentina Hot 100 and No. 12 on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs.
"We are happy because we are living at a super nice stage of our career, experiencing many things and jumping from genre to genre," Navarro shared. "We stumbled upon the surprise that, over the past 15 years, we have built some status, and many people surprised us with their willingness to collaborate. We have been able to do more in the last two or three years I think than we had done in the rest of our career."
Billboard Argentina talks to Navarro about their 2019 release, Ahora:
What does the album Ahora mean in Reik's career?
This album is a compilation of what we have experienced in the last year and obviously what follows. We are learning to navigate the new climate in the music industry where the thing is to be constantly making music, single after single. We're also seeing how not to neglect our record buying audience. This album will also set the guidelines for the upcoming tour.
How was the transition from pop to urban?
More than a transition, it is a stage. We do our version of what is happening in music globally and we have done so since we started. Back then, we didn't distinguish ourselves because we weren't a group that sounded so Latin; we sounded very Anglo because we came from listening to music that was different from what was happening in Latin America at that time.
We have been growing and developing. We have been experimenting and for the first time, at least in my life, there is a Latin genre topping the world. So, we are doing our versions of what we understand as urban music, and we already found a sound and a place in this world. But it's more about adapting, having fun and growing.
The impact that urban music has had on the world cannot be compared with the impact that a pop ballad in Spanish has. Historically, Latin artists made versions of things that happened in the United States, only with less production and less money. And I think we are now living a cool moment where we are leading, where Anglo artists are looking to work with us, which is an incredible position to be in, and it is all because of urban music.
What was collaborating with Lali on "Mi Ultima Cancion" like? What does she represent to you, and how do you see her as an Argentine artist who transcends borders?
One of the funniest things of this moment we are living in is that we are having the opportunity to collaborate with so many people. It is very funny because we don't necessarily feel old (we're in our 30s) but in the end, we are the industry veterans.
We have been working for 15 years, so it's nice to run into these people who have, yes of course, a lot of talent, but also a certain innocence and hunger that is very different to our own today, after all these years. And Lali was an example of this. She's an incredible girl, talented and eager to make it in the world and who is doing super cool stuff.
So, when we did the song, and Lali heard it, she asked to record it first on her own, and then suggested doing it together, to which of course we said yes. There are new, young people doing things that we are not doing. Those are opportunities we believe we must take.