Interviews

Reggaeton Singer Feid Is Loving Life — and Flanigan’s — in Miami

Colombian reggaeton star Feid
Photo by Shady Like Haunter
Colombian reggaeton star Feid
Feid wasn’t ready for Miami the first time he visited at age 20. The Colombian songwriter-turned-reggaeton star felt the city was “all business” and, well, he wasn’t. Coming from Medellín, Colombia, Feid (real name Salomón Villada Hoyos) was used to a more laidback way of life. The thought of spending all his time recording in the studio or hustling outside of it didn't sound too appealing to him at the time.

“It was like swimming with sharks,” says Feid tells New Times over Zoom from his home in Miami. “I’m good with that now, but it was hard to change my ways. I was more of a hippie back then. I was like, ‘[Music] is my hobby.’”

Music would eventually become so much more than that for the 28-year-old after he penned songs for Latin music heavy-hitters such as Maluma, Nicky Jam, CNCO, and Thalia. But it was the 2015 J Balvin hit “Ginza,” which Feid cowrote, that truly put him on the map.

After Feid released his debut album, Así Como Suena, in 2017, the drive that he lacked early on in his career kicked in. Like so many Latin artists before him, he felt he’d have to move to Miami in order to grow in stature. So a now-more driven Feid left Medellín in late 2019 and moved to the Magic City, welcoming the all-business mentality that once turned him off.

“I was always getting beers with friends in Medellín and having fun,” Feid says. “I was chilling at my mom’s house. There I’m Salomón. Here, [in Miami], I’m Feid 24/7. I’m going to the studio when I wake up and not picking up the phone when I’m working. That’s a hard thing, but it’s a cool thing too. It’s given my career a boost.”
Feid's second and third albums, 19 and Ferxxo (Vol. 1: M.O.R), respectively, were nominated for Best Urban Music Album at the Latin Grammys. And his star-studded "Porfa" remix, featuring J Balvin, Maluma, Nicky Jam, Justin Quiles, and Sech, was a testament to the relationships he's built and the respect he's earned in the industry.

Expectations for his upcoming fourth album, Intershibuya La Mafia, named after the famed Shibuya Crossing intersection in Tokyo, are high. The album was originally scheduled for a spring release but was pushed back to August 6 out of respect for the civil unrest taking place in Feid's native Colombia.

During the pandemic, Feid made the most of all the time spent at home, taking longer than usual to nail every detail on the album. He says the sound goes back to his musical roots but the ideas are clearer, resulting in a more singles-heavy disc.

The first single, "Chimbita," produced by Sky Rompiendo, has notched over 32 million views on YouTube. Feid's label, Universal Music Latin, has high hopes for the latest single, "Fumeteo," which dropped last week.
Feid credits Miami for inspiring him and driving his hunger during the recording process for Intershibuya La Mafia and keeping him from getting complacent.

“I would go out in Miami and see all these people having fun listening to reggaeton, and I thought, Yo, I want to make music these people will listen to," Feid explains. "In Medellín, I’d go out and hear my music on every corner. That’s cool. It was my dream to be that artist that reps the streets of Medellín. But being in Miami forced me to push myself more on this album."

That's not the only perk to living in Miami.

Feid is a big fan of the South Florida institution Flanigan's and calls the restaurant chain's baby-back ribs his "favorite ribs in the world." This unlikely love affair goes back to before he was even living in Miami. He says he used to think about Flanigan's ribs and garlic bread when he was on the plane coming to visit.

Now that he lives in Miami near two Flanigan’s locations (presumably a coincidence), he can get his Flanigan’s fix whenever he pleases. And apparently, he pleases pretty often.

“I go once a week,” Feid says. “It’s my special place.”

As hard as it was to leave his friends Medellín, two years in, Feid is happy in his adopted home city. He says he's "living that Miami life" and is doing what he set out to do.

In fact, he's already thinking about releasing a second album in 2021, giving him a whopping four albums in a span of two years.

“I’ve listened to [Intershibuya La Mafia] so much that I need to do another album," he says. "I did the mixing for a month and a half, and right now, I want to listen to new songs. I just love to make music. I don’t know when that feeling will end.”