The Boy from Medellín: A Medellín Resident’s Review

The Boy from Medellín: A Medellín Resident’s Review

TLDR? In this documentary, you can learn more about the singer, his mental health, his music, his family, and his contact with his fans.

“The Boy From Medellín” is a documentary based on the life of singer José Álvaro Osorio Balvin, better known by his stage name J Balvin. 

The documentary, released in 2021, follows J Balvin as he fulfills a dream of performing solo in his hometown, and also highlights the political situation of Colombia at the time of feeling, as well as J Balvin’s struggle to deal with his health and lifestyle. 

If you’re interested in the film, read ahead! I’ll tell you my opinion. 

Who Is J Balvin?

J Balvin

Balvin is from Medellín, the capital of Reggaeton in Colombia and the birthplace of many other popular singers such as Maluma and Karol G. 

Currently, Balvin is 37 and married to Argentine Model, with whom he has a three-year-old son, Illamado Rio. 

Before becoming a musician, he studied international business and social communications until dropping out in his seventh semester to devote himself to his musical career. 

His career took off in 2004, and since then, he’s won a variety of international awards and released six albums, including a collaboration with the Puerto Rican Bad Bunny

J Balvin has toured the globe and is one of the most famous Colombian singers in the world. 

Awards and Nominations

Awards and Nominations

As with many Colombian artists, J Balvin began his career by winning local Colombian radio awards for his singles, which little by little gave him recognition in his home country. 

In 2010, his songs began to make their way into the US charts, and he would go on to win platinum records in different countries for maintaining the number one position on the charts. 

An example of this is his hit 6:00 A.M. in collaboration with Farruko, another successful reggaeton singer. 

Currently, the paisa singer boasts a wide variety of national and international awards, including: 

  • Latin Grammy: Best Urban Song(2015). 
  • Latin Billboard: Latin rhythm album of the year (2017).
  • MTV: Best Music Video(2018)
  • Latin Grammy: Best urban album(2020).

With thirteen nominations, Guinness World Records presented him with the distinction of being the artist nominated for the most awards at the Grammys. 

The Review of the Movie 

The Review of the Movie

Filmed in the year 2019, the film was released on the Amazon Prime Video platform in May 2021.

The film covers a week in the busy life of J Balvin as he prepares for his first sold-out solo concert in his hometown of Medellín. 

You may think this kind of documentary is only for fans, but you’d be mistaken. In this case, the film was directed by Oscar-nominated Matthew Heineman, who elevated the film above a simple music biodoc. 

J Balvin previously released a short film in 2018 called Redefining Mainstream where he opened up about mental health and meditation. However, The Boy From Medellín provides a more intimate look into the artist’s life. 

The film turns a large-scale concert into something much deeper, as Medellín was undergoing demonstrations and civil disorder at the time the documentary was filmed. 

This unrest was caused by political problems in Colombia surrounding intolerance, mistreatment by the police, as well as the death of a young boy, topics that morally affected the singer. 

The main purpose behind the documentary remained the concert, but Balvin’s frustration over the civil unrest in his country is clear, making the concert perhaps the most important one of his career. 

Important Aspects of the Film

Important Aspects of the Film

I think that it can be difficult for artists to show vulnerability as it can be misunderstood by the public, but J Balvin doesn’t shy away from discussing the importance of mental health in the documentary. 

Balvin states that he has suffered from anxiety and depression for years, but refuses to hide or feel ashamed of his mental illness. Instead, he wants to help destigmatize mental illness by being open with his struggles. 

He has a doctor and psychiatrist on his team and discusses different aspects of medication and treatment.  

One of the things I loved most about the film was getting to see J Balvin as a regular person. You get the sense that his life isn’t as perfect as it may seem. He remains extremely humble with his team and fans and talks about how he’s dealt with fame while keeping his feet on the ground. 

You’ll also get to see the concert at the end and hear all the songs you normally listen to on YouTube and Spotify live! 

Aspects to Improve

Aspects to Improve

If you’re a fan of reggaeton but don’t have a great handle on the language, you may have some trouble understanding the songs. The film does not provide subtitles for song lyrics. So, if you’re a non-Spanish speaker looking to learn what J Balvin’s lyrics are, you’re out of luck. 

There are subtitles for the film’s dialogue, however. So, you’ll still be able to understand J Balvin and get to know him as an individual through conversations with his family and team. 

This documentary isn’t focused on the songs that made the singer famous. Rather, it’s a summary of the situations that arose during the preparation of Balvin’s famous concert in Medellín.

Some Facts You Didn’t Know About the Boy from Medellin

Some Facts You Didn’t Know About the Boy from Medellin

If you’re a true fan of the Colombian artist, this information is golden. Find out who kidnapped him, what tattoos he has, and other curiosities you may not have known. 

Let’s get started! 

1. Beneficial Works

Beneficial Works

The singer has made different donations in the city of Medellín.

Although his not the type of artist to make his donations public, his economic contributions and donations to hospitals helped those suffering from COVID-19 during the pandemic

2. Was He Kidnapped in His Exchange?

Kidnapped in His Exchange

This may be hard to believe, but Balvin was kidnapped when he was 18 years old. 

After traveling to the United States as an exchange student to perfect his English, his hostess kidnapped him and stole his documentation, apparently out of a feeling of maternal love. 

His hostess removed the internet connection in the house and asked Balvin’s teachers not to let him use the internet either. 

Months later, Balvin was able to recover his documentation and escape with the help of a family friend. 

Crazy, isn’t it?

3. Mental Health

Mental Health

As shown in the documentary, Balvin suffers from anxiety and depression. However, he has used his fame to help others suffering from mental illness. 

He suffered panic attacks for years. This caused him to withdraw from the public eye from time to time to take a breather. 

In 2020 the singer announced he lost a close friend to suicide. He went on to say that the loss motivated him to openly post and talk about mental health struggles with fans. He encourages those suffering to seek treatment. 

The artist often posts about integrating meditation into his lifestyle and how it helps him control and maintain his mental health. 

4. Podcast


If Spotify is one of your favorite streaming platforms, you need to check out J Balvin’s podcast. 

The paisa singer launched his podcast “Made in Medellín” in 2020. There, he talks about his profession and personal life in his hometown. 

The podcast is mainly narrated by Balvin himself. He also includes conversations with people who have been a part of his life over the years. 

There are 8 episodes ranging between 3 to 14 minutes about different topics and interests related to the singer. Check it out! 

5. Economic Position

Economic Position

J Balvin was born into a financially secure family. His parents’ university careers allowed him to travel to the USA in his adolescence. From there, he was able to begin a career at one of the best universities in Medellín (EAFIT). 

6. Scandals


While J Balvin is rarely involved in scandals, he had a great difference of opinion with Cuban singer Residente in 2019. 

Balvin criticized the Grammy Award’s lack of reggaeton representation and nominations. And, Residente responded to Balvin’s claims on social media, comparing Balvin’s music to a hot dog cart. The paisa singer then hilariously posted a picture of himself next to a hot dog cart. 

7. He’s A Marvel Fan

Marvel Fan

Like so many people in the world, Balvin is a huge Marvel fan, and his favorite superhero is Iron Man. 

8. Musical Inspiration  

Musical Inspiration

Reggaeton has been famous for well over 20 years, and Balvin took a lot of inspiration from this musical genre.

One of his heroes growing up was Daddy Yankee. Balvin holds the Gasolina singer responsible for shaping him into the artist he is today. 

9. Tattoo Fan

Tattoo Fan

J Balvin’s love for tattoos began when he was only 12 years old. 

He currently has over 40 tattoos with personal meaning. One of his largest tattoos is the word familia written across his chest. 

Watch the Movie “The Boy From Medellín”

While I’m not J Balvin’s number one fan and only listen to his music from time to time, I loved the movie. I found it extremely interesting to learn more about this amazing artist and person. 

The Boy From Medellín has a great vibe, good content, and is very entertaining. Whether you’re a huge fan, a casual listener, or even if you’ve never heard of J Balvin, I recommend giving the film a watch! 

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