Music

Don Omar Talks Growth of Reggaetón, ‘Back to Reggaetón’ Tour & More: Watch the Interview

The first time Don Omar went on tour in Spain, nearly 25 years ago, he had to sing his breakout hits two and three times every time he got onstage.

“I had no repertoire!” he admits to Billboard News with a laugh. Back then, Don Omar, real name William Omar Landrón, was a 22-year-old who was hustling. “I came from such a Puerto Rican genre, such a street genre, and then, those songs started to play everywhere.”

What a difference a quarter-century makes. On March 7, Don Omar kicks off his Back to Reggaetón Tour at the Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania, and will go on to play 25 major U.S. cities, ending April 21 at the Kaseya Center in Miami, before heading to Europe and Central America.

This time, there will be no need for repeat performances.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to sing my entire repertoire because I never have enough time onstage. But this tour demands two full hours of music,” Don Omar told Billboard‘s Leila Cobo during an exclusive interview prior to his tour. Back to Reggaetón, incredibly, is Don Omar’s first major headlining tour in a decade and his first since the Kingdom Tour with Daddy Yankee in 2015.

This time around, there’s also friends knocking at the door.

“Many are demanding, ‘Don’t leave me out of this!’” he says. “And I’m treating that like a privilege. If, after 25 years of career, your colleagues still feel love, happiness and the desire to share with you, you’ve done something right.”

While the specifics still need to be ironed out, expect to see the likes of Tito El Bambino, Zion y Lennox and Wisin and Yandel somewhere on the tour.

For Don Omar, it’s not a comeback; he’s been releasing a steady supply of music for the past two years. But, he says, it’s gratifying to see so many artists who he literally saw grow up to his music as established and still close.

The first one to believe fully in him, he recalls, was Ñengo Flow, who early in his career asked him to “present” him on his debut album. “It was the first time I realized, ‘They’re looking up at me.’ Ñengo was just getting started. But I was just getting started too.”

All these years later, “I have songs Jhay Cortez wrote for me 10 years ago. And those things make me see, I do have a responsibility. To see people like Jhay and Farruko, and everyone I have great respect and admiration for, say they wanted to be like me back in the day […] it’s one of the things I love most.”

Don Omar is also testing new ground. His new EP, Back to Reggaetón, is out on his own label, and he plans to print CD copies to sell as merch on tour, as part of a broader effort to bring his music and himself even closer to fans.

“Independence allows you to put your own ideas into practice,” he says. “I’m the product of a bunch of bad experiences that made me take action and learn the business. Today, I can be independent. Today I have the economic and intellectual capacity to do so.”

Watch the full interview above.

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