My Music Moments: Nicky Jam Shares the Soundtrack to His Life

In celebration of his new song and movie, Nicky Jam exclusively pulled back the curtain on the albums and artists that have shaped him.

By Tierney Bricker Mar 21, 2021 1:00 PMTags
Watch: Nicky Jam Reveals Unexpected Musical Influences: My Music Moments

Nicky Jam is ready to dance with somebody. 

And it's easy to understand why the reggaetón singer, whose real names is Nick Rivera Caminero, is in the mood to celebrate: Not only did he just release his hew song "Fan de Tus Fotos" with Romeo Santos, but he also voices Butch Cat in Tom & Jerry, which is now in theaters and streaming on HBO Max. Both projects had major significance for the 40-year-old artist. 

After collaborating with Romeo for the 2017 track "Bella y Sensual" with Daddy Yankee, Nicky was ready to do "a song alone" with the Bachata "king," telling E! News, "I'm a huge fan of Romeo Santos, I mean there's not a Spanish person that's not. He's a legend in our music, in Spanish music, in general."

But it took a little convincing, with Nicky showing Romeo several options before they found the "perfect song" in "Fan de Tus Fotos."

"It's meeting halfway," he explained, adding that it combines "the sexy romantic poetic vibe" and "the reggaetón urban beat."

Musicians Performing Live on Stage

As for taking on the part of Butch Cat in the live-action/computer-animated slapstick comedy Tom & Jerry, Nicky revealed someone very close to him was blown away when he landed the gig, even more than when he was in Bad Boys For Life and xXx: Return of Xander Cage.

"It's one of my dad's favorite cartoons ever," he shared. "He called me, 'I'm so happy for you, I'm so proud of you.' I'm like, 'Dad, what do you mean? I've done movies with Will Smith and Vin Diesel. What are you talking about?' He's like, 'None of those guys are bigger than Tom and Jerry.' So I feel that when you make you dad proud of something, it makes you enjoy the project more."

In celebration of his new projects, E! News asked Nicky to pull back the curtain on the songs and singers who have influenced him throughout his life and career. From the track you might not expect him to love to the one he wishes he'd written himself, this is the soundtrack to his life.

Erick Fernandoq

The song/album that reminds me of childhood: I would have to say Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody." It reminds me so much when I was seven, eight years old, my mom being young and crazy. You know, going out to hang out and listening to that song while she gets dressed. It was, like, happy times. It can't be more iconic than Whitney Houston and her voice. It was the first time the world saw somebody with so much magic and it was the first time I saw it as well. I think I was raised in a good era. The '80s was one of the best years, one of the funnest years. That song reminds me a lot, good things 'cause I had a hard past. I had a very dark past when I was a kid. Even when you live in a dark moment and hard past, you always have good moments. That song represents those good moments. 

The first album I remember buying: Actually it was Kris Kross. They were a group. I don't know if you remember Kris Kross, they were rappers that would dress with their clothes, like put their pants the other way around, the shirt as well. That's why they were called Kris Kross. I was a kid rapper back in the day, I started singing when I was eight or nine years old. So, of course, they caught my attention and that was my first album I bought. 

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The song/album people might not expect me to love: The thing is I listen to every type of music. I would have to say Otis Redding, the song is "I've Got Dreams to Remember." I like the rhythm and blues. I love old school music. I think it has more feelings. The lyrics are a little more simple, but they will hit your soul.

I listen to any type of music and I just love music. Anything that will give me goosebumps, I'm for it. In a weird way, I even enjoy these sad songs that a lot of people don't like. I love those songs that hit the heart. Songs that make people cry, that's the type of music I like to write myself. It's funny 'cause that's not the type of music I sing. I sing music that makes people dance. That's the art of art.

The song/album that makes me think of falling in love: I got to say Ed Sheeran. "Thinking Out Loud" hit me hard ‘cause it has the old-school vibe and Ed Sheeran is just amazing. You can tell he was the shy guy in high school that nobody knew he had magic. When he touched that guitar, it was just that. I respect everything about him, I don't think there's a more romantic guy than that guy. I mean, when you have that magic, when you sing like the way he sings, I respect what he does with music. I heard he does, like, 20, 30 songs with just the same chord. It's insane. He's just magic. So, he's very romantic and he has that voice that touches your soul. You're probably not even in love and you want to call somebody and tell 'em you love them. He gives you that type of vibe.

The song/album I turn to when I'm at my lowest: I'm gonna be hones with you, when I'm on my lowest I'm not a guy to really look for songs to hide. I do my own music. I start producing and writing my own music. I'm a singer, so I have my art, my own talent. I can go myself and write a song myself, that's what I do. I'm not really the guy that sits down and listen to music when I feel a certain way. Even though it's not a bad thing to do, it's just not me.

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If I could only hear one song for the rest of my life, it would be: I would have to go with "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" by Whitney Houston. I mean, it's just a happy song. It makes me so happy, so I want to hear a song that makes me happy.

The song/album I hope I never hear again: Oh my god. [starts singing "Gangnam Style" by PSY.] What's that guy's song? Oh my god, it drives me crazy! I'm sorry man, the song drives me crazy. I'll probably listen to other music he does for respect for him, but that song drives me crazy.

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The song/album that's guaranteed to get me turned all the way up: I go back to "I Wanna Dance With Somebody." There's a lot of new songs that I could listen to and they will. There's a new song called "Whoopty" [by CJ], every time I hear that track I want to play basketball, I want to go hard.

The song/album I wish I wrote/recorded: "Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran. The Weeknd has one called "I Feel It Coming," yeah, that track I would want to be the one who wrote that track. I think The Weeknd is another genius too.

My own song that I'll never get tired of performing: I would have to say "El Perdon" (with Enrique Iglesias) is a song that I have a lot of connection with the song and when I'm on stage I just enjoy it so much.

My own song I'll be happy to retire: I'll plead the fifth on this one!

The song on my new project that I can't wait for fans to sing along with me on tour: These two last songs that have been out—"Polvo" (with Myke Towers) and "Fan de Tus Fotos" (with Romeo Santos). I mean, these songs are amazing to perform on stage and I can't wait to do it.

Nicky Jam & Romeo Santos' new song "Fan de Tus Fotos" is out now and Nicky's film Tom & Jerry is in theaters and streaming on HBO Max.