EFEBy Nora Quintanilla New York

J Balvin is a reggaeton superstar and global icon but he recently morphed into Jose, a regular guy manning a traditional New York City neighborhood bodega, as part of his partnership with the Miller Lite beer brand.

The Colombian recording artist born Jose Alvaro Osorio Balvin gave away some free cans of a limited edition Miller Lite featuring his distinctive neon color and lightning bolt aesthetic in last week's sneak peek of the "Es Jose Time" initiative, which is a twist on "Miller Time" and is aimed at showing his facet as a normal human being, he told Efe by telephone.

The winner of eight Billboard Latin Music awards and five Latin Grammy awards took photos and drank beer with unsuspecting shoppers, who got a behind-the-scenes look at a man who says he "values time with his family and close friends over everything else."

The Miller Lite campaign comes after J Balvin opened a window into his life and struggles with depression and anxiety in the 2020 documentary "The Boy from Medellin."

"I like to take walks, ride my bike, watch a movie, dance with my friends, read a good book, take it easy and have a coffee, a good Miller Lite. I try to be a better person every day, obviously with my faults and virtues," the 36-year-old reggaeton singer said.

"I go about learning a little about everything," whether trying his hand at skydiving or doing something as simple as taking a stroll. He added, however, that he is "so focused on J Balvin that sometimes what Jose needs gets forgotten."

The recording artist said he greatly missed his time away from the concert stage during the pandemic.

But he is now back in action, having taken part in last weekend's Latino Mix Live event in Houston and now preparing for the upcoming Governors Ball Music Festival in New York in late September and the Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival in San Francisco in late October.

"I'm more of a fan of going to see people than people going to see me," he joked, adding that performing in front of a large crowd is "something you never forget" and that comes automatically to him like driving a car.

He also hailed the wonderful feeling of "immediately connecting" with the audience.

J Balvin noted that it is now a boom period for reggaeton and acknowledged that he has enjoyed success with recent video tracks that have gone viral on the Internet, including a pair of collaborations with Skepta and Skrillex, whom he described as "legends."

"They're really cool," he said, stressing the importance of "getting up and reinventing ourselves every day."

J Balvin, who also released the single "Ma' G" with a video recorded in his hometown neighborhood of Castilla in Medellin, said he would be putting out a new album soon "to give people more joy, more music, inspiration."

He also stressed the charitable aspect of his partnership with Miller Lite, noting that the beer brand will help support Latino-owned businesses such as bodegas and corner stores with a $50,000 donation to Accion Opportunity Fund, a non-profit organization that provides affordable capital, educational resources, coaching and networks to small business owners while advancing racial, gender and economic justice.

"There are lots of things we can do to support Latino culture, each and every one of us, supporting one another. With this campaign, we want to provide economic assistance to Hispanic family-owned businesses," the recording artist said. EFE

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