Luis Fonsi on his 'Despacito' success and the 'toughest part' of being on the road

By Alexandra Hurtado

Luis Fonsi’s life moves anything but despacito these days. The Puerto Rican singer wrapped up the European leg of his Love and Dance Tour earlier this week before traveling to New York City to celebrate National Rum Day with Bacardi on Wednesday, August 16. The 39-year-old sat down with HELLO!'s sister publication HOLA! USA where he opened up about his record-breaking song Despacito and why he isn’t concerned with outdoing the hit track, plus the “toughest part” about his life on the road and the reason his Bieber-loving daughter Mikaela is “proud” of her papi.

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Luis celebrated National Rum Day with Bacardi in New York City Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

HOLA! USA: It’s been such a huge summer for you. Despacito, how do you top that and is there any pressure to do so?
"I’m not concerned about outdoing Despacito. It’s broken every mold. It’s something that’s going to go down in history as a very special song, and you sort of have to just leave that alone and celebrate it and be grateful and thank God and thank my audience every day. The only thing I can worry about is just keep giving my audience great music. I can't release my next song thinking that I’m going to outdo Despacito because I’m not going to. This is very special and whatever happens from here on is gravy."

You remixed Kissing Strangers, which is bilingual as well. Is that your new formula with songs?
" Kissing Strangers is sort of a different release because DNCE and Nicki Minaj asked me to do a remix version of it. They wanted me to do sort of a Spanglish take on the song realizing how important the Latin market is."

Luis wants his children to have a "normal life" while he tours Photo: Instagram/@luisfonsi

Now you just returned from touring in Europe. How does your family — wife Águeda López, seven-month-old son Rocco and daughter Mikaela, five, — cope with your hectic schedule these days?
"That’s the toughest part. That’s the part that I will never get used to. Being away from my kids, my family. You just kind of just go day by day. It’s really the only way to do it."

Does your family ever go on tour with you or do you FaceTime with them when you’re on the road?
"They were in Spain for a little bit now during the summer, but now she started school [kindergarten]. I want them to have a normal life you know and touring is not healthy for anybody. We’re in a city every day. I’m doing soundchecks, interviews. I’ll tough it out, and I’ll let them do the normal traditional go to school, come back home, play with your friends kind of childhood which I think is very important."

Did you earn some brownie points with your daughter for recording with Justin Bieber?
"Yeah. I think she more than anything, she’s just proud because all the little girls in school are like 'Aww your dad sung with Justin Bieber.' But I asked her the other day, I was like ‘Mami who do you like better, Justin Bieber or papi?’ and she said ‘Papi.’ It was tough to ask the question because you never know what answer you're going to get. He’s a pretty cool guy. If she would have said Justin Bieber she would have broken my heart, but she answered correctly."

The singer partied on a bus in NYC with Bacardi in honor of National Rum Day Photo: © 2017 Startraks Photo/The Grosby Group

Is Mikaela growing up bilingual in Miami?
"You know it’s tough because school and everything is English but in the house there’s no English. It’s all Spanish. We want to keep our traditions and we want her to be completely fluent. I’m not going to say her Spanish is perfect but it’s going to be [laughs]. She speaks English to me and I’m like ‘Ah no te entiendo, no te entiendo.’ We’re trying really hard."

Does she like to sing?
"She’s very introverted. She’s very shy, but you know when she’s there in her room listening to music, she does a little dancing. In school she does recitals and she does ballet. [When] she sees me looking at her, she shuts down a little bit, but she’s so perfect. [I'm] so in love with her."

Mikaela is proud of her father's hit song Despacito Photo: Instagram/@luisfonsi

I know you can’t tell me who you're collaborating with right now, but if you could work with anybody, who would it be?
"There’s a lot of females out there. When I think about an amazing collaboration, it would probably be Rihanna, Demi[Lovato]. I think she’s great."

That’d be an amazing collaboration with Demi.
"That’d be pretty badass. Male? I think Bruno [Mars] is probably the coolest cat out there right now. Old school, working with Stevie Wonder, that’d be crazy. I’m a music lover. It’s so hard to just kind of name people."

Obviously it’s National Rum Day. What’s your go-to drink?
"I’m simple. I’m simple and traditional. Rum and cola. You can’t go wrong with it. If I’m feeling tropical you know a little piña colada will always do the trick, but rum and cola. I don’t know many people who dislike a good rum and cola."

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