Erika Ender is a supernova in her own right. Her co-pen game helped the country’s now-hottest song and most streamed track ever take flight, bringing worlds together through the power of language.
Born in Panama, Ender is not only a Latin Grammy–winning songwriter and TV personality, she’s also the first woman songwriter whose résumé includes a No. 1 on Billboard’s “Hot 100” chart in Spanish. We sit down with Ender and discuss the significance behind “Despacito”.
Did you at all anticipate the success “Despacito” has garnered?
ErikaEnder: We knew we had a hit in our hands, but we never imagined how far and big this would become.
How do you feel about it now that it is as successful as it is?
ErikaEnder: More than happy, and way more than grateful. After 25 years of an amazing career full of wonderful achievements and also lots of difficult moments and lessons, “Despacito” came in as an unexpected crossover (since the song is in Spanish) and as the cherry on top for my amazing 25th-anniversary celebration. Fonsi, for example, is an amazing hard worker, and I do believe he really deserves this big success.
What doors do you hope this opens, both as an artist and for Latino communities?
ErikaEnder: As much as possible. We are rich in rhythms, in melodies, in lyrics… We have a very special flavor and a unique way of expressing. We are open, happy, and loving people. The world needs more of that.
How do you feel about Justin Bieber’s remix?
Erika Ender: It was a beautiful surprise that he decided to record the song, and even more that he did it mostly in Spanish.
You are the first woman songwriter to have a No. 1 on the Billboard 100 in Spanish. What does that mean to you?
ErikaEnder: I feel a great responsibility. From a special and humble place of my heart, I am encouraging them to believe in their dreams and letting them know, it is possible… You can do whatever you want based on all the good you can give. I’m not telling them “Do what I did” or “Be like me”… Simply is a way of showing them: If I could do it, you can too!