Justin Bieber Once Revealed the Secret to Recording His Hit Spanish Songs: “I Don’t Speak Spanish”
Spanish fans of Justin Bieber must have always been curious about his fluency in Spanish. In 2020, Justin Bieber admitted that, while a large amount of his song La Bomba is in Spanish, the Canadian singer does not actually speak the language.
The third episode of Justin Bieber's YouTube docuseries Justin Bieber: Seasons, which debuted in 2020, featured footage of the then-25-year-old honing his Spanish pronunciation in the recording studio. He did, however, concede that he is far from fluent, reported Insider. "I don't speak Spanish. Singers are good at imitating, so I guess I'm just good at imitating," he said. "I can hear it and then repeat it."
Josh Gudwin, a producer and mixer who worked with Justin Bieber in the studio, vocalized the lyrics to La Bomba so that the singer could repeat them into the microphone. While he was recording his song, Bieber was practicing words like "Hasta de la noche de mañana yaya," and he asked Gudwin, "'Hasta,' you don't pronounce the 'h?'" Gudwin corrected Bieber once and advised him to change the focus of the sentence as the two continued to work on polishing the lyrics. He said it again, "De la, de la."
In January 2017, Luis Fonsi featuring Daddy Yankee released the song “Despacito”. Considered one of the biggest singles of all-time, the remix version with Justin Bieber is credited as instrumental in popularizing Spanish-language pop music in the mainstream market.#weareHIFI pic.twitter.com/87UHtki4ae— HIFI (@wearehifi) January 11, 2022
Bieber replied, "Okay, bro, I'm just..." and Gudwin apologized quickly, "Sorry, sorry." Bieber then reassured him, "It's okay, I know you're excited."
The song is not the first that Bieber has recorded in Spanish. He contributed to a 2017 remix of Despacito, the No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 list for 16 weeks, which was written by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee. Fonsi said to Billboard in 2017 that after hearing the original song in a nightclub, Bieber wanted to make a remix.
“All he did was add his texture, he added a verse in the beginning in English, and he sang the song just like we did, just with his flavor,” Fonsi continues. “I think it’s amazing that such a big worldwide act wanted to sort of appeal to the Latin audience, wanted to take the time to get the pronunciation right in Spanish, so I tip my hat off to him. And I think it added a different layer to a song that was already big, and so I’m really grateful that he believed in the song and that everybody’s enjoying it.”
It's fair to say that Luis Fonsi is a little gentler than other fans have been in his comments about Bieber not knowing the song's Spanish lyrics. The singer told ABC Radio, per Capital, “I mean, obviously I would love for him to…learn it. I don’t blame him for not knowing [the lyrics], and I think we have to give him a little bit of a pass because that’s not his main language. We can’t expect the guy to just out of the blue get it perfectly. I mean, it’s obvious when he was recording the song he had the lyrics in front of him.”
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