And he’s also an impressive songwriter with an aptitude for quick melodies. Speaking in English, a language he’s still learning, Ozuna said he writes songs “in five minutes, and it’s hits. It’s natural, I don’t know why.”
Ozuna was born Jan Carlos Ozuna Rosado in San Juan in 1992 to a Puerto Rican mother and Dominican father. His father, who was shot and killed when Ozuna was 3, was a dancer for three years with the Puerto Rican reggaeton pioneer Vico C.
Ozuna began making music as a teenager, and then moved to New York for three years in the early 2010s. “New York, for me, is university,” he said. When he returned to San Juan, he began focusing intensely on music, and success came blazingly quick. In 2015, he performed over 300 shows in Puerto Rico alone. (In a couple of weeks, he’ll perform two shows at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico in San Juan, Puerto Rico’s biggest indoor concert arena.)
“Odisea” takes reggaeton as a jumping-off point, but doesn’t stay there. It includes collaborations with J Balvin, Zion & Lennox and Nicky Jam, artists who have pushed the genre to new pop heights. (Twenty songs Ozuna appears on have more than 100 million views on YouTube.)
But with more success comes more stress, as was clear at the United Palace concert. Midway through the show, a security guard edged too close to the main part of the stage, and Ozuna took umbrage, punching him in the head with the same fist that was clenching his microphone, kicking off a brawl that almost brought the concert to an end.
“It didn’t bother me,” Ozuna said casually the next day. He later apologized on Instagram. (A spokesperson for the New York Police Department said that no complaints had been filed in connection with the incident.) A few days after that, he was present at the scene of a fatal shooting in Puerto Rico, according to Univision.
Perhaps that’s why Ozuna spoke of wanting to remain in the spotlight just a few more years, then retreat from public life to spend more time with his wife and two children. Earlier in the day, he’d been meeting with his financial adviser — in Puerto Rico, he’s invested in a restaurant, among other businesses — and said he was trying to be conservative with his money.
But there are still goals to be achieved, namely the English-language pop market. He identified Drake and Rihanna — both of whom move as easily between styles as he does — as ideal collaborators. In order to improve his chances, he’s been traveling with someone who only speaks to him in English. “I’m practicing,” he said. “I want to go for the crossover.”
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