To say Juan Carlos “Ozuna” Rosado has had a successful year is an understatement.
His debut LP Odisea, which dropped Aug. 2017, shattered chart records after spending 45 weeks at No. 1 on the Top Latin Albums Billboard chart. Its also earned him his first Latin Grammy nomination this year under the Best Urban Music category.
Once known as “J Oz” upon launching his career in 2012, the Puerto Rican/Dominican phenom has since become the most dynamic Latinx artists around. Since releasing his breakthrough single “Si No Te Quiere” in 2014, Ozuna has helped bring the infectious “Latin Trap” wave to the forefront of the music industry. Not only has he collaborated with veteran Latinx acts like Daddy Yankee, Jennifer Lopez, and Arcangel, but he’s also bonded with the biggest names in hip-hop like Cardi B and Tory Lanez to churn out viral hits “La Modelo” and “Pa Mi,” which will appear on a joint album with the “B.I.D.” called El Agua.
Ozuna is also one of the reasons why this summer was more sweltering than usual. Months after “El Farsanté” got the remix treatment from Romeo Santos, Ozuna paid it forward by hopping on the remix to Nicky Jam’s “X” and Casper Magico, Nio Garcia & Darell’s “Te Boté,” the latter of which currently rules the top of Billboard’s “Hot Latin Songs.” Afterward, he kept Latin radio airwaves across North and South America scorching with his contributions to Natti Natasha’s “Criminal,” Reik’s “Me Niego” and Wisin’s “Quisiera Alejarme.”
It’s evident that Ozuna plans to heat up the fall by extending his reign at the top of the charts with his sophomore album, Aura. El Negrito de Ojos Claros calls on a unique mix of today’s Latin Trap stars like Anuel AA, Natti Natasha, and J. Balvin; OG reggaetoneros like Wisin Y Yandel and RKM Y Ken-Y; and hip-hop artists like Akon and Cardi B for 20 tracks that give the Caribbean islands a refreshing sound to dance to.
While currently in the swing of his Aura tour, VIBE VIVA chatted with Ozuna just before he hit the road. The 26-year-old finds solace in living his best life atop the rooftops of the glitzy SLS Hotel in Miami’s South Beach.
Below, we dive into the making of Aura, reuniting with recently liberated partner-in-rhyme Anuel AA, and his thoughts about international tour life.
VIBE VIVA: You just wrapped up your Odisea Tour in Europe. What was the most memorable part of the tour?
Ozuna: The most memorable part was seeing the young fans, the youth having such a good time with my music and seeing how they identify themselves with my music is something memorable that I will never forget.
Did you work on your upcoming album Aura while in Europe?
Yeah, we worked parts of it in Europe, had to do it because the tour was already in place. We had a short time, somewhat of a year’s time in total. So, during the time I would say I spent six months touring and six months creating the album all in between tour stops in Europe. We had to work with our colleagues from Europe and it went well. That’s when I realized people were really turned on to my work, respected my craft, and really believed in what I was doing.
Why did you decide to call the album Aura?
“Aura” is what one reflects in the heart, what you bring into the world, and what people want to learn from you. In this situation particularly, it reflects what I have learned from fame, from all this going around my life. I interpreted all that in this album. I made international collaborations, which is something that didn’t exist in the past.
One of those international collaborations was with Cardi B. Your single “La Modelo” helped put her on the map in the Latin music industry. You’re also close friends. How is working with Cardi B?
Super, that’s like my little sister! Cardi B really is like having a sister in the industry. She’s a real person, extremely humble. She’s amazing. There will definitely be more collaborations so be ready, mi gente!
On Instagram, people noticed you two were working with DJ Snake on a new song a few months ago. Then recently, you, Cardi, and Snake revealed Selena Gomez is on the song and posted photos from the video shoot. What can you tell us about “Taki Taki?”
It’s a surprise but it’s Cardi B, DJ Snake, Selena Gomez, and I. It’s a grandiose song. I created a few months back when DJ Snake sent me the rhythms. I know it’s a record that will make people talk.
On Aura, you have several songs with Anuel AA like “Supuestamente” and “Pasado Y Presente.” When did you make those songs with him?
We made the tracks when he was released from prison. We made four or five tracks and I chose two for my track, and he chose one for his album and another one for his project. That’s how we maintain ourselves with this relationship creating for each other in general. We just do it all and we don’t have that ego of who has more, who does more. Instead, we just make music that people will love.
You’ll be going around the United States for the Aura Tour. Will Cardi B, J. Lo, Tory Lanez or any other English-speaking artist join you on stage?
There are a lot of surprises coming. All I can say is pay attention to my social media for the tour dates. We have more than 35 dates all over the US. There are a lot of people invited but it’s a surprise. If I tell you now you won’t be so intrigued, so buy your tickets and don’t be left out because there is a surprise in every city.
You plan to leave your beautiful island of Puerto Rico to tour, but the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria is quickly approaching. How do you feel about the aftermath of the deadly storm a year later?
Well, we are still recovering from Maria, but I always say we are warriors and we are ready for any situation. Maria did teach us a lot, it taught us to value what we have: our friends, our neighbors, and those who helped us. I know my people in PR are active. It took us by surprise, but we are warriors and we are ready for any adversity.
What do you think about the island’s ability to survive another major storm in the upcoming hurricane season?
I can’t tell you 100 percent, but we are ready because we are holding onto God’s hand, our island are faithful believers in God and for that, we are very blessed so I know that we are ready for any adversity.