J Balvin penned a lovely tribute to his friend and collaborator Anitta. TIME enlisted the 35-year-old Colombian singer to honor the 27-year-old Brazillian star for their 2021 TIME100 NEXT list. “I always knew Brazil had a queen in Anitta,” the “Colores” crooner began. “We have a lot in common—like me, she’s self-made.” Balvin went on to reveal the unorthodox way they met and wax poetic about the powerhouse that Anitta is.
“We met on Instagram and started talking,” José continued in his three paragraph note. He said he soon realized that they shared another quality: “we don’t let anyone else do our jobs. We like to do everything ourselves.”
Balvin went on to call his friend a “true hustler who turned her movement into an empire.” Touching on her skills, he said: “She took the sound of Brazil—funk music, which is like our reggaeton—and took it to another level so the sounds are for everyone. She represents mi gente, el pueblo, las masas, the dreamers, the hustlers. And through her music, she’s opened doors for others—not just to be an artist, but to be what they want to be. She gives hope to the ones that didn’t think they could make it.”
He added: “Behind her superhero-like facade is a real, sensitive human being who gives so much to people. I want people to connect with the amazing human being behind the great music. She’s got enough talent to keep conquering the world.”
J Balvin and Anitta worked together on the Grammy-nominated song “Downtown.” In reference to the TIME honor, Anitta wrote on Instagram: “I‘m honored to be part of this group!” That group includes fellow Latina powerhouses Dua Lipa and Ana de Armas. Congratulations to all!