Jhay Cortez Reflects on "The Price of Fame" at People en Español's Festival
In addition to getting the audience hyped with his music at this weekend's People en Español Festival, Jhay Cortez opened up about his struggles and how he deals with success. The Puerto Rican urbano star appeared on a panel titled “The Price of Fame” with Mexican telenovela actress Geraldine Bazán and Mexican TV personality and motivational author Rosie Rivera.
“Fame is the repercussion of success, the recognition of your work and being known by a whole country, by the entire planet,” the reggaeton singer said. Rivera defined fame as a “platform to send out your unique message” while Bazán described it as “a possibility for people to see what you do and listen to what you have to say. It can be a double-sided weapon, depending on how you use it.”
Cortez started in the music industry writing songs for reggaeton artists like Tito El Bambino. “I started in music really young and was able to meet many people I admired,” he recalled. “I was able to see the good and the bad, because there is both in this environment, but one of the people that inspired me the most was Don Omar.”
He says he feels blessed to have worked with the “Pobre Diabla” singer. “I always wanted to be an artist, to make music. I dreamed of doing concert tours, to talk to the press, to make music videos, that was always one of my dreams,” he said. Now that he is a recognized solo artist, he misses the anonymity he enjoyed earlier in life when it comes to his personal life. “You are not in the same mood every day, you have your bad days. I was more introverted and music helped me to bring out that extroverted side of me and communicate with people. It's all about practice in life to improve.”
Having to travel more now as a performer and being away from the recording studio, where he enjoyed staying up until sunrise creating when he had more free time as a songwriter, is one of the high prices of fame. “I left home when I was 16 pursuing that dream of being an artist, staying at recording studios and sleeping here and there. Now I achieved my independence,” he added. “When I have a break I go see my family, I spend a little time with them, but I usually travel alone.”
Meanwhile Rosie, who is the sister of the late Queen of Banda Jenni Rivera, grew up in a family of famous musicians, but remained behind the scenes until after Jenni's death in 2012. She then took the reigns as chief executive officer of Jenni Rivera Enterprises, overlooking the late singer's business empire.
The former ¡Mira Quién Baila! contestant — and author of My Broken Pieces: Mending the Wounds From Sexual Abuse Through Faith, Family and Love — sees fame as a way to help and guide others. “I didn't want fame, I avoided it. I dreamed of having a 9-to-5 job and being a normal person,” Rosie admitted. She has become more extroverted, though, and now appreciates having the spotlight and an influential voice. “Now that the world, that God, that Jenni gave me this platform, I feel I am more passionate about my values, about my message.” She has found her purpose in bringing empowerment to other survivors of sexual abuse and women in general. “A year ago I decided to embrace my life, to love it with all the good and the bad,” she reflected, “and now I'm living one of the best times of my life.”
Bazán, whose recent divorce from telenovela actor Gabriel Bazán created a media frenzy, admitted that fame can be cruel. She has had to have an open dialogue with her two young daughters at home and explain that not all that they hear about their famous parents in the media is accurate. However, “living inside a bubble” is not an option for her girls, she said, so she encourages them to be confident and face the world they live in. She even supports her daughter Eliza in her dream of becoming an actress one day like her parents.
Cortez, who said his mom has been a big influence in his life, also wants to empower women through his songs. “Thanks to the love and affection my mother gave me, all the values she instilled in me and the things she taught me, I can push that forward and make other people learn it, feel it.”