Why Selena Gomez & Shawn Mendes Wanted to Collaborate With Camilo

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Selena Gomez has reeled in Colombian singer-songwriter Camilo for her new Spanish-language single “999,” a rhythmic pop song with ballad at its core that dropped Thursday night (Aug. 26) via Interscope Records.

Produced by songwriter-producer Edgar Barrera along with A.C. and Camilo, “999” comes five months after Gomez released her first Spanish-language EP Revelación, which made her the first woman to debut at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart since 2017.

The collaboration, according to Barrera, was born organically after Camilo publicly expressed his interest in collaborating with Gomez.

“When the opportunity came, Camilo and I sat together to write many ideas, and we decided to look for a song with her in mind,” Barrera, who worked on Gomez’s “Baila Conmigo,” tells Billboard. “The objective was to find a different sound to what she has done before. To sound more intimate and find a balance between the essence of both artists.”

“999” comes on the heels of Camilo’s bilingual “Kesi” remix alongside Shawn Mendes, who, like Gomez, has recently started to dabble in the Spanish market.

For Gomez, teaming up with Camilo was “fantastic.” “He proudly wears his heart on his sleeve, which is something we connected on immediately,” she said in a statement.

Mendes, on the other hand, reached out to Camilo via Instagram DM, proposing he contribute a verse on “Kesi.” “It reminded me so much of why I fell in love with music in the first place, writing music in the first place,” he said in a previous interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1. “And in a completely different language; I was getting the feeling from him so deeply.”

The common denominator between Camilo and these two high-profile mainstream artists is the honesty that their songs have, Barrera notes. “These are three artists who are seen to be vulnerable through their music, and that makes fans feel not only identify, but make it their own. I also believe that among these artists, there is great admiration and respect; that is why these collaborations occur naturally.”

“In Shawn’s case, he and Camilo became friends and they send each other music that they are creating,” Jorge “Pepo” Ferradas, Camilo’s manager, tells Billboard. “With Selena, it was a continuation of that. These are artists who come together for the musical, but the good vibe they have makes everything easy, and that is why the songs end up going very far.”

“Thanks to the accessibility provided by streaming platforms and social networks, Latin music is having one of its best moments,” Barrera adds. “‘Baila Conmigo’ is a great example of how mainstream artists can bring Latin music to new markets and be discovered globally. I hope ‘999’ has that impact too.”

As for how Camilo feels about these two major collabs? Ferradas assures that it’s “without a doubt, very motivating for him.”

“It not only makes him grow as an artist but is also part of his learning process and constant artistic search,” he elaborates. “Above all, he always talks about the joy of having two new friends who are young, incredible artists with whom he shares the same career path.”

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