Reykon Talks First-Ever Professional Fight: ‘I’m Ready for Anything That Comes My Way’

For the past two months, Reykon has been training twice a day in Miami, preparing for what will be his very first professional fight against WBA International Champion Joe Fournier set to take place Saturday night (April 16) in Atlanta at the Triller Fight Club event.

Why the Colombian reggaeton singer is going in the ring to box Fournier on a fight card promoted by Triller, a company that is mixing hip-hop entertainment and boxing? Well, that gets a little blurry.

It all started back in February when both had an encounter at a nightclub in Miami. “He challenged me the next day and I thought, ‘I don’t even know this guy,'” Reykon remembers. “But I agreed because I want to prove that I’m ready for anything that comes my way. I know that training two months won’t equal all his years boxing, but I’m mentally prepared, and that’s where I’ll outsmart him.”

Besides training twice a day — once in the morning and again at night — Reykon has been consuming more calories and drinking lots of water. “My routine hasn’t changed drastically because I’ve played soccer all my life,” he says. “My training begins with a warm-up of jumping rope, which I learned to do because I’ve never jumped rope before, and then you start, then gradually we go into boxing routines with and without the gloves.”

Reykon, who spoke to Billboard three days before the big fight, is already feeling like a winner regardless of the outcome. “Boxing has really helped me connect with myself and focus on my life and career. The discipline I’ve learned is like no other. If this process has taught me anything, it’s that we should always have a plan B in life. In boxing, you always have a plan, but if a punch is strong enough to bring you down, you have to react fast in order to quickly make changes to that plan. It’s all about focus.”

But fans shouldn’t get used to seeing Reykon in this light: It’s not in his plans to stop singing and become a fighter. “My thing is music,” the “La Suite” singer says. “I accepted this challenge because I want to entertain people, that’s what I do. And there are many musical projects that I plan on releasing soon. So I want my fans to just sit back and enjoy the fight. I’m the one that’s receiving the punches.”

Triller Fight Club, which will also include performances by Justin Bieber, Doja Cat and Diplo, among others, starts at 9 p.m. ET. Tickets to stream the event can be purchased here.

H.E.R., Leslie Odom Jr. & More to Perform Oscar-Nominated Songs on Pre-Show, Not the Main Telecast

The producers of the 93rd annual Academy Awards had good news and bad news for the singers who are performing this year’s Oscar nominees for best original song. The good news: All five nominees will be performed in their entirety. The bad news: They’ll be featured on a 90-minute pre-show, Oscars: Into the Spotlight, which is billed as “the lead-in” to the Oscars.

Hosted by actors Ariana DeBose (Hamilton) and Lil Rel Howery (Bad Trip), the pre-show will air Sunday, April 25, at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT. The main Oscar telecast will begin at 8 p.m.. ET/5 p.m. PT.

The Oscars have struggled with how to include the five nominated songs without having a four-hour show. In a few years, none of the nominated songs were performed on the show. In others, some were, some weren’t. Or some songs were truncated. All of these approaches made music fans unhappy. This year’s approach, in which song nominees are relegated to a pre-show, will likely also make music fans unhappy.

In two cases, both co-writers of a nominated song will perform, rather than just the artist who performed it on the film soundtrack. Laura Pausini and Diane Warren will perform “Io Sì (Seen)” from The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se). Celeste and Daniel Pemberton will perform “Hear My Voice: from The Trial of the Chicago 7.

Individual artists will perform the other three nominees. H.E.R. will sing “Fight for You” from Judas and the Black Messiah. Leslie Odom Jr. will perform “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami… Molly Sandén will perform “ Husavik” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. (Actress Rachel McAdams lip-syncs the song in the film.)

“Husavik” will be recorded in Húsavík, Iceland. The other four performances will be recorded at the Dolby Family Terrace of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles.

According to an Academy statement, the 90-minute pre-show “will highlight the nominees’ journey to Hollywood’s biggest night [and] give fans around the world the ultimate insiders’ sneak peek into the party.” The show will feature an appearance by DJ Tara.

At the conclusion of the 93rd Oscars, there will be a third Oscar-branded show, Oscars: After Dark, hosted by actors Colman Domingo (Zola) and Andrew Rannells (The Prom) and featuring interviews by film critic Elvis Mitchell. The special will recap the evening’s must-see moments and showcase Oscar winners as they have their statuettes personalized.

“We’ve come up with some serious pre-game and post-game action to enhance our main event,” said Jesse Collins, Stacey Sher and Steven Soderbergh, who are producing this year’s main Oscar telecast. “Our suggestion is just tune in for the whole shebang, otherwise you’ll miss something really unexpected and fun.”

Both the pre-show and the wrap-up special are executive-produced by Michael Antinoro and David Chamberlin, alongside Collins, Sher and Soderbergh. Collins has worked on the Grammys production team for 17 years. This year, he was co-executive producer for the first time.

The 93rd Oscars will be held on Sunday, April 25, at Union Station Los Angeles and the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, and international locations via satellite.

Taylor Swift Reveals the ‘Fearless’ Vault Song That Pointed to Her Pop Future

When Taylor Swift released her fifth album, 1989, in 2014, she made a point to announce that it was her first all-pop project. But the writing was on the wall for her genre transition long before then.

In a new interview about her re-recorded 2008 project Fearless (Taylor’s Version) with Audacy (formerly, Swift says the newly released “From the Vault” song “Mr. Perfectly Fine” made it crystal-clear that she had more than country music on her mind.

“‘Mr. Perfectly Fine’ is a song that I wrote alone,” she says of the track, which she recently co-produced with Jack Antonoff — a now-frequent collaborator whom she first worked with on 1989 — but was written back in her Fearless days. “It was definitely an early indicator of me creeping toward a pop sensibility. I’ve always listened to every type of music, and even though Fearless is a country album, there were always these pop melodies creeping in.”

Of course, Swift’s crossover to the mainstream really kicked into gear with the original 2008 release of Fearless, which spawned two of her biggest Pop Airplay hits to date — chart-topper “Love Story” and No. 2 hit “You Belong With Me” — and garnered her first album of the year win at the Grammys.

In addition to the pop vibes of “Mr. Perfectly Fine,” the song is also a pretty good indicator of Swift’s teen sensibility at the time she wrote it. “I think the lyrics are just wonderfully scathing and full of the teen angst that you would hope to hear on an album that I wrote when I was 17 or 18 or on that cusp,” she says.

“Mr. Perfectly Fine” was one of the most-talked-about previously unreleased Fearless songs thanks to fan theories that it’s aimed at Swift’s ex Joe Jonas.

Listen to the full Audacy interview, in which Swift breaks down more songs on Fearless (Taylor’s Version), below.

Shuttered Venue Operator Grant Applications Expected to Relaunch Next Week

The Small Business Administration has announced that Shuttered Venue Operators Grant applications are expected to reopen at the end of next week, after failing to launch on April 8. 

In a statement released Friday (April 16), the SBA said, “Over the next few days, our tech team and vendors will remain focused on testing the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant application portal” and assured possible applicants that nothing will change over the weekend.  

“We know this funding is urgently needed now and are doing all we can to reopen with the greatest amount of certainty as possible,” the statement continued. 

The SBA said the vendors for the portal, which launched and quickly closed on April 8, have fixed the root cause of the technical difficulties but discovered additional issues while testing the site. The newly identified issues are being addressed now before the portal reopens later next week.  

Independent venues, promoters and producers have been waiting to apply for the more than $16 billion in funds since the bill passed at the end of December, but the SBA was tasked with creating the program from scratch and has taken nearly four months to open the application process.

When the administration announced the opening date for the grant applications, they assured venues that funds would be awarded later in April. The SBA has not commented on whether or not that timeline has been interrupted by the delay.  

“We realize this is an enormous undertaking for the SBA and we appreciate everything the agency is doing to ensure this program is administered as Congress intended as expeditiously as possible. The opening can’t come soon enough,” said the National Independent Venue Association in statement earlier this week.  

In a letter sent to NIVA members today, the Association says it met with White House officials who “assured stakeholders that reopening the SVOG portal expediently and successfully was a top priority across the SBA.”

For more information on when the application portal will re-open, the SBA recommends independent venues follow the administration’s Twitter account 

DMX Memorial Service Set for Brooklyn’s Barclays Center

A memorial service for late rapper DMX will be held April 24 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, Billboard can confirm.

Though Barclays Center is big enough to accommodate 19,000 fans for concerts, it’s unclear how many people will be allowed inside the New York arena with current COVID-19 restrictions. According to a source close to the situation, Barclays is maxed at 10% capacity currently and the service will not be open to the public.

Further details for the service, first reported by TMZ, are still being ironed out, DMX’s former manager Steve Rifkind told the site. According to their report, the public service on that Saturday would be followed by a more intimate church service for just X’s family and inner-circle the next day, Sunday, April 25.

DMX died a week ago, on April 9, after suffering a heart attack triggered by a drug overdose. He was 50 years old.

Barclays Center opened its doors less than a decade ago, in September 2012, which was years after DMX’s late ’90s/early 2000s heyday, but the rapper hit the arena’s stage twice: once in 2017 as part of a Ruff Ryders reunion show and in 2019 at the Masters of Ceremony concert.

First Stream Latin: New Music From Sebastian Yatra & Myke Towers, Ximena Sariñana, More

First Stream Latin is a compilation of the best new Latin songs, albums and videos recommended by the Billboard Latin editors. Check out this week’s picks below.

Sebastian Yatra & Myke Towers, “Pareja del Año” (Universal Music Latino)

If there’s one track that can perfectly marry pop and urban music it’s “Pareja del Año,” the new collaboration between Sebastian Yatra and Myke Towers. Produced by Grammy winners Andrés Torres and Mauricio Rengif, the song fuses both artists’ signature sound laced with live string instruments. The song is about an impossible love that if it were to come true, it’d be dubbed the “couple of the year.” The elegant music video was filmed by Daniel Duran in Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center, starring a mysterious yet perfect love story. — JESSICA ROIZ

Los Rivera Destino & Pedro Capó, “Castigo” (Sony Music Latin)

The Puerto Rican band has teamed up with compatriot Pedro Capó for “Castigo,” a song that finds them reminiscing on nights at the club where you could dance all night long. The track starts off as a bolero but quickly transforms into a dembow. “This song unites two musical genres that have a long history when it comes to couples dancing close,” Los Rivera said about their new song, which finds them collaborating for the first time with Capó. “It brings the bolero to the modern club. We wrote this song before the pandemic, at a time when we could dance close together. It feels like torture as we wait for the next time to dance again.” “Castigo” “Castigo” is the second single off the band’s upcoming debut album, which will be released this summer. – GRISELDA FLORES

David Bisbal & Danna Paola, “Vuelve, Vuelve” (Universal Music Spain)

Collaborating for the first time ever, David Bisbal and Danna Paola join forces in a song that reflects modern-day, long-distance relationships that have been impacted by COVID-19. The pop track narrates the story of a couple, one lives in Spain and the other one in Mexico, that is rekindling after a breakup but can’t travel to see each other due to lockdowns and canceled flights. “Come back, come back before it’s too late … without you I’m a disaster and not seeing you hurts me,” sings Bisbal. The music video, which also dropped today (April 16) ends on a more positive note with one of them finally able to catch a flight. – G.F.

Sech, 42 (Rich Music)

Sech dropped his third studio album 42, a set he says was born “fully in the pandemic” and a tribute to his Afro roots. Released under Rich Music, the set is home to 11 tracks, including collaborations with Wisin, Yandel, Arcangel, Nicky Jam and Rauw Alejandro. The number 42 pays tribute to Jackie Robinson, the first African-American baseball player to play in Major League Baseball and Panamanian baseball star Mariano Rivera. “This album is all me, without thinking about numbers or the industry. It’s me opening my heart,” he tells Billboard. “My brother found a notebook of mine where I would write my feelings when I was younger and I decided to turn those feelings into songs. The first one I wrote was ‘911.’ All of these songs are real and part of my life.” Stream and listen to it below. – J.R.

Ximena Sariñana, “A No Llorar” (Warner Music México)

Stunning, both visually and lyrically, Ximena Sariñana’s “A No Llorar” is a synth-pop track about standing strong after a few heartbreaks and blows to the livelihood of women. “And although it’s hard to breathe sometimes, I prefer to have cried than not having cried at all,” the Mexican singer-songwriter sings in the feminine anthem. Inspired by feminist movements in Mexico and women who have long fought for their equality and equity, “A No Llorar” was created by women for women. Written by Sariñana at a songwriting camp with other female songwriters representing different countries such as Venezuela and Perú. The song’s music video was also directed by women with directing duo Iglú at the helm. According to a statement, “A No Llorar’s” royalties will be donated to Fundación Crescendo con la Música. – G.F.

Ricky Martin & Carlos Vives, “Canción Bonita” (Sony Music Latin)

It’s hard to believe that these two superstars hadn’t collaborated in the past, but at last, they’ve joined forces to deliver the uplifting anthem “Canción Bonita,” which translates to “pretty song.” The danceable track celebrates Carlos Vives’ Colombian and Ricky Martin’s Puerto Rican roots. In fact, the picturesque music video was shot in Old San Juan directed by Carlos Pérez. Written by Mauricio Rengifo and Andrés Torres, along with Rafa Arcaute (VP of A&R at Sony), Vives and Martin, the happy song was set to be released before the pandemic hit. “It was a party song. We couldn’t release it at that point,” Martin told Billboard. The track officially dropped April 13 and the pair performed their joyful song for the first time on television at the 2021 Latin AMAs. – G.F.

Omy de Oro, “Millones” (Young Boss Entertainment / Share That Music)

After launching his music career on the Freestyle Mania platform and collaborating with artists such as Bad Bunny, Rauw Alejandro and Yandel, Omy de Oro is out to challenge all his haters on the new single “Millones.” “Laundering money, with what we sing, we avoid a problem but if they want, we fight,” the Puerto Rican artist chants on the raw trap song produced by Chalko and Ammunation. In the music video, directed by AJ Films, Omy lives up to the movie, surrounded by money, luxurious cars and his faithful entourage. – J.R.

Boza, Ella (Sony Music Latin)

After his viral success with “Hecha Pa’ Mi,” Panamanian newcomer Boza dropped the three-song Ella EP, marking the next move of his career and a preview of his upcoming album. Produced by Irving Manuel Quintero Valdez (Faster), the title track is a hip-swaying, sugary reggaeton that highlights everything he likes about a girl. If “je ne sais quoi” had a song, it’d be “No Se Que.” On this track, he brings it down a notch in a futuristic, slow-tempo urban bop about a girl who’s simply irresistible. Offering another musical proposal is “Por Ti,” where Boza fuses a sensual dancehall melody with other Caribbean beats. Listen and stream the three songs below. – J.R.