J Balvin Learned that 'Being Rich' Means 'Being Healthy, Happy and at Peace' After Surviving COVID
Chatting with PEOPLE ahead of his "Es Jose Time" collaboration with beer brand Miller Lite, the reggaetón singer, 36, opened up about the lessons he learned during the pandemic and why he's "just another human being on this planet."
"We're all the same, it doesn't matter who you are or what you do," Balvin tells PEOPLE. "I had COVID and it almost killed me. I don't want to go through that ever again. I learned how to value that being rich is truly just being healthy, happy and at peace."
"When you have those things, you're the richest man in the world because you're good with yourself. Once you're good with yourself, you're good with everything that surrounds you," he adds. "I think that's what I learned. I never felt so fragile and vulnerable and close to death than when I had COVID."
The "Un Día" singer says he hopes to use his platform to encourage more people to get vaccinated after what he went through.
"It's a big problem, because we all need to [get vaccinated,]" he says, speaking about the lower vaccination rates around the world. "I want to create awareness to help vaccines reach more people all over the world."
After being asked about what has kept the Colombian reggaetonero grounded, the "Rojo" singer's answer was simple: "I cannot tell you that I'm humble because if I say that I am, then I'm not humble."
"It's about empathy," he explains. "I'm surrounded by my best friends and they always just see Jose. I can be going out to my concert and they're going to slap me in the head and be like, 'Yo wassup. Are you dumb?' They're my boys! They know me."
"If you're classmates with someone who'll become the President, he could be the President but if he's around his boys, it's going to be the same guy for you," he adds with a laugh. "That's the way I am. My friends see Jose so I'm that all the time."
Though often packed with luxuries, Balvin's humility is often palpable on his Instagram where he candidly shares how he's feeling with fans as he connects with practically anyone. For Balvin, there's a simple reason: "I'm just another human being."
"I've made more mistakes than you, for sure," he says. "People say, 'Oh yeah he's famous.' I don't embrace that. I don't feel that. I just make music to make other people feel better and happier. I'm only human."
Balvin, who recently collaborated with Metallica for a Spanish rendition of their track "Wherever I May Roam," says collaborating with the iconic rock band was a dream as he's always been a huge fan.
"That was a huge slap for the haters," he says of some of the negative feedback the track received for reimagining the hard rock as a Spanish trap song. "[But] they gave me the green light. I'm really happy with what we did, it's a really great statement."
But who would he like to collaborate with next? "Coldplay," he says. "I think we can get something romantic but cool. Some reggaetón with guitars. I definitely know that we could do something really special."
"He became a great friend of mine," Balvin adds about Chris Martin. "We have a lot of things in common."
The interview comes as Miller Lite announced their new collaboration "Es Jose Time" with a campaign that takes fans behind the scenes of Balvin being simply Jose. Fans will be able to grab special, limited-edition cans with a collaborative design featuring Balvin's lightning bolt and neon aesthetic.
"It's about showing our brand and my human side which I think is great," he says. "They'll get to know more about me and what I do in my free time. I'm just another human being, like everybody else.."
"What I love about my partnership with Miller Lite is how we are showing my human side," adds Balvin in a press release. "At the end of the day, I'm Jose, a guy who loves spending time with his close friends, and 'Es Jose Time' shows just that. I'm proud to be working with a legendary beer like Miller Lite and I appreciate that they embrace me for who I am. Plus, I think it's beautiful to see my name on the can."
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