If the world knew nothing of the Latin trap and reggaeton singer, Nicky Jam, of Puerto Rican descent who was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, then all that changed in 2018 when he unveiled the official theme of the 21st FIFA World Cup. The event was a significant milestone in the comeback of the artist, whose career was once considered dead.
Nicky Jam’s story, as a high-flying career person who lost it all to drugs, is a story that most people around the world are familiar with. However, not many of them can say they came back to reach the heights they were before their drug issues. Discover how Nicky reinvented his career after a long battle with drug addiction below.
How Did Nicky Jam’s Drug Addiction Affect His Music Career?
Nicky Jam, whose real name is Nick Rivera Caminero, was a teenager when he first found success as a musician. The Massachusetts-born rapper had been discovered at the age of 10 by a customer, while he worked at a local grocery store in Puerto Rico. Four years later, he released his debut album, Distinto A Los Demas, kickstarting a whirlwind of success that saw him open for famous Latin music stars, many of whom were decades older than he was.
His growing success, which should have been a source of joy for Nicky Jam, quickly became overwhelming. To cope, the singer took to drugs and alcohol, both of which he abused to a great extent. Jam formed a friendship with fellow reggaeton star, Daddy Yankee. The two of them worked together well into the turn of the millennium, releasing tracks like Guayando and En la Cama.
Unfortunately, Nicky Jam’s inability to check his addiction led to their separation, a bitter experience that included diss tracks made for each other. Eventually, his addiction took a toll on his career. He struggled to find musicians who would work with him, ultimately forcing him out of the spotlight and into hotel gigs, singing cheesy pop covers in Puerto Rico.
Overcoming His Drug Addiction and Career Comeback
During the months and years in which he struggled with drug addiction and survived by singing in hotel lobbies, Nicky Jam became overweight and was depressed. But this low point in his career also turned out to be the lightning rod for his comeback.
Having started his career as a rapper, Nicky Jam’s hotel gigs brought out a side to him he did not know existed – a singing talent. With his newly found skill, he headed back into the studio. But rather than relaunch his career in Peurto Rico, where his past failings still haunt him, he moved to Medellin, Colombia.
After his arrival in Medellin in 2007, it did not take long before Nicky Jam found venues that booked him. With his career on the rise, he changed his lifestyle. He began eating healthy, quit drugs and alcohol, and focused on recording his music. He released a few local hit tracks before he found global success again in 2014 with Voy a Beber. With the record, Nicky was part of a new wave of reggaetoneros, and his career has been on the rise ever since.
Since 2014, he has released charting songs like Travesuras, signed a record deal with Sony U.S Latin, and recorded the superhit, El Perdon, with Enrique Iglesias. El Perdon spent 30 weeks at the top of the Hot Latin Songs chart. Other successes have come in the form of his 2017 track, El Amante, whose video has more than 1.2 billion views on YouTube.
His comeback was solidified in 2018 when he recorded Live It Up, the official song of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Not only has he returned to the summit of Latin music, but he has also rekindled his relationship with Daddy Yankee, a symbolic recognition of the errors of his past. His other achievements since he overcame his drug addiction include getting nominated for more than 105 awards and winning at least 30 of them.
His Relationship with Angélica Cruz
For 18 months, Nicky Jam was married to Angelica Cruz. The two of them reportedly met online, sometime in 2016. Shortly after, they got married in a two-part ceremony in 2017. First, in a civil ceremony in January 2017 and later in a lavish ceremony in Medellin, Colombia, in March, which was attended by major celebrities across Latin America, including Vin Diesel and J. Balvin.
However, 18 months into their union, Nicky Jam, and Angelica Cruz filed for a divorce. According to the filing, the couple cited irreconcilable differences as the cause of their breakup. The two of them do not share any children. Nicky does, however, have four children from two previous relationships. Among his children are three daughters, namely Yarimar Rivera, Alyssa Rivera, Luciana Martin, and his only son, Joe Martin.
Contrary to the popular assumption that she is an actress, Angelica Cruz is a social media model who rose to fame on Instagram. She has modeled for several high-end lifestyle brands in Colombia, where she was born. She is also the co-founder of the jewelry company, Crisalida USA.