"They should give a little more attention to our genre," says Noriel. "The number-one genre right now is the urban genre." 


Before Noriel became the artist behind hits like “Duro y Suave” and “Cuerpo en Venta,” he was just a teenager with a dream. “I knocked on doors and met people until we reached the right person … and here we are today,” he tells People CHICA. After years of writing and singing, he recorded his first song at the age of 14. “My first check was from a show and it was for $300,” he says. “The reality is that I spent about $100 on food. The other $100 was for the DJ who played my songs and the other $100 I owed to my mother.”

He never gave up, though, and it eventually paid off. Now he's working with the same artists he grew up idolizing — Daddy Yankee, Wisin y Yandel and Arcángel. “I thank God for those who were my idols at some point,” he says. “I can call them my colleagues now.”

Now 25, Noriel has also collaborated with contemporaries like Bad Bunny, Anuel AA and Maluma. The young Puerto Rican built a friendship with the latter after being part of his hit “Cuatro Babys,” released in 2016. “That song marked a before and after in what Latin trap really is,” says Noriel. “I'm super grateful for him and happy with the results that this hit had.” He also tells CHICA that he's recorded a few songs with the “Pretty Boy” that haven't been released yet, so keep your fingers crossed that those eventually see the light of day.

“Piropo,” his latest single, brings back the essence of reggaeton from the early '00s. He says this single “is very different” to what he is accustomed to, but hopes that people enjoy the song as much as he does. The video, released late last month, was filmed in a bodega in Miami. “All Latinos love bodegas,” he explains. “We love to go to a bodega to buy candy or soda — that's how the entire concept came about.”

Asked about the controversy over this year's Latin Grammy nominations, Noriel says that he supports his colleagues. “They should give a little more attention to our genre even if they have their musical criteria. I would dare say that the number-one genre right now is the urban genre.”

As a Puerto Rican, Noriel also felt the pain during the #RickyRenuncia crisis earlier this year, but thinks that people are ready to see big changes on the island. “What we had to do, we did already, and whoever is in power at this moment will think twice before doing something wrong,” he says. “Education is one of the most important things right now — education should be a priority.”