Nicky Jam is one of the few artists who truly started from the bottom, overcame real adversity, fell back again and then bounced back bigger than ever. Born to a Dominican mother and Puerto Rican father, the Reggaeton legend never had much as a kid and worked odd jobs to help feed himself and his family growing up in a poor neighborhood. It wasn’t until Nicky found his calling in music when he knew his voice would be his way out of poverty.
Though he released his first album, Distinto A Los Demás, in 1994 when he was just 13-years old, it took the singer/rapper another 7 years to really come through with consistent solo albums. Nevertheless, Jam’s ability to weave hardcore Spanish raps and melodic pop harmonies together made him a global superstar. Combined with his early work with another pioneer, Daddy Yankee, his status in Reggaeton rivals few other artists.
As the singer’s current smash single “X” with J. Balvin breaks streaming records and wins him over new fans — see Will Smith — Nicky has even more in store for 2018. With his new album Fénix racking up sales, the charismatic underdog is also ready to debut his Netflix/ Telemundo drama series El Ganador, a new remix with Jaden Smith and much more.
“El Ganador is the story of my life,” Nicky tells VIBE. “How I battled drug and alcohol addiction, my mom and dad had the same problems [and] how we all got out of it. We’re trying to tell the youth and the world what route to take. Right now, there are a lot of kids that need to get out of that street/thug mentality and make it right. I am living proof that if you do right, right will come to you.”
Watch Nicky’s full interview above.