Alicia Keys and Miguel joined Pedro Capó and Farruko for a cheerful, springy performance of “Calma” at the Latin Grammys on Thursday. “Calma” is one of the biggest hits of 2019, and it won the award for Song of the Year earlier in the night.
“Calma” is a soothing throb of reggae with lyrics that conjure Instagram-ready beaches and ice-cold sangria. On stage in Las Vegas, Keys and Capó struck poses, Miguel strummed an occasional chord on an acoustic guitar and all four performers led the crowd in a feel-good sing-along of the final hook.
“Calma” has achieved a level of global commercial success that has eluded Capó for a decade. He’s a journeyman performer with four albums and a few modest hits on the U.S. Latin chart, but he never cracked the Top 25 before this year.
Capó wrote his breakout hit with Gabriel Perez and George Noriega. The original version was released in July — a seasonally appropriate time for a song that suggests, “Let’s go to the beach to heal your soul” — as a solo track. It performed well, earning 60 million plays on Spotify to date and another 178 million on YouTube. But when Farruko, known for his work in reggaeton and trap, hopped on a “Calma” remix in October 2018, the single reached a new level of ubiquity.
Alicia Keys also contributed to a third remix of “Calma” that came out this April. She sings a new verse in English, sticking close to the beatific themes of the original: “Sun pours down upon your face/I wake up, feel heavenly.” She also tries her hand at Spanish during the chorus.
Before Keys sang with Capó and Farruko at the Latin Grammys, she performed her new single, “Show Me Love,” with Miguel. While Miguel made his name with R&B hits like “All I Want Is You” and “Adorn,” the singer has Mexican roots, and this part of his heritage has inspired some of his more recent music. In 2017, he contributed to the soundtrack of Coco, the hit Pixar film inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead.
The same year, Miguel also visited Mexico for the first time, according to an interview with Remezcla. “I was able to meet family that I didn’t even know about, but I felt connected to them,” the singer explained. “To meet somebody you never met and [think], ‘Wow, I feel like I’ve known you forever. You know me.’ … I was like, ‘From now on I just have to write more in Spanish and create more music in Spanish.’”
He did exactly that earlier this year, releasing an EP titled Te Lo Dije. The five song collection included new versions of hits like “Skywalker” with Miguel singing frequently in Spanish.