James Reid and B.I share the story behind their collaborative track Jacuzzi, how their friendship started, what it’s like working together, and more.
What happens when two talented singers, songwriters, and producers decide to come together for a joint slay? For James Reid and B.I, you get the song Jacuzzi. The feel-good pop track brings together Filipino and Korean talent to create a playful crossover of house and pop. Brimming with dynamic synths and upbeat electronic elements, the song encapsulates the spirit of a club anthem and how spending time with each other is filled with excitement and luxury in a never-ending loop of fun. It all makes for a fitting team-up and a natural extension of two artists who went from being fans of each other to good friends.
FROM FANS TO FRIENDS
In the small but growing list of friendships between Filipino stars and K-pop idols, James and B.I’s bond is one that has won many fans over with how seamless it is. True enough, when James first met B.I, the connection was instant. “We met backstage at a concert in Seoul, and I was happy when he asked me to perform with him for his concert here in the Philippines,” recalls James.
As a fan of B.I, James was understandably excited to meet the soloist. The feeling is mutual for the idol. “James is very kind, sweet, and considerate. Our first meeting was nothing but smiles, and all I can recall is the warmth of that moment,” shares B.I. Even if the two met as established stars, there was nothing but mutual respect from both sides.
“B.I is so talented and such a rockstar, but at the same time very humble and down to earth,” expresses James. Add B.I, “James Reid is an incredible artist. I used to sing his songs and this time, I had the opportunity to collaborate with him – I had so much to learn from him. He’s not only a kind and cherished friend but also a dedicated professional in his craft.” Naturally, their mutual stanning soon led to their professional and personal relationships blooming, which then led to one of their first songs together.
HAVING FUN AT THE JACUZZI
While James and B.I are no strangers to professionally working together, Jacuzzi hits different because it serves as one of the first times the two combined their musical prowess in one track. On first listen, Jacuzzi sounds like if the idea of fun was turned into music. And that was the memo for James the moment the inspiration for the track arrived to the multi-hyphenate star.
On using music as an avenue to have fun, James elaborates, “Capturing how enjoyable music is was what was on my mind when writing this song. I wanted to make a simple, fun, banger that captures just that and sitting in a jacuzzi, laughing in the moment with the people I love. Life can be difficult and serious, but sometimes, it’s just a jacuzzi.”
With James visiting South Korea more frequently, he was able to cross paths more often with B.I. Soon, a request for collaboration came calling. “I was struck by the refreshing and highly contemporary quality of his music,” says B.I on James asking him to do the song. “I’m glad to say that our collaboration has been nothing but upbeat and energetic.”
As two maestros when it comes to production, the duo found working on Jacuzzi a breeze. “His verse fit the energy of the song perfectly and I’m grateful he was able to feature on this song despite his busy touring schedule,” effuses James. “It was a smooth and quick creative process thanks to the amazing beat and melody James crafted,” voices B.I.
Collaborating with Grammy award-winning producer DJ Flict, who James describes as an “icon”, the track was mostly recorded in Los Angeles, with B.I sending over his recorded verse to complete the song. With B.I’s versatility in singing and rapping and the two’s common background in R&B, there was no friction when it came to combining their talents in a nearly three-minute bop.
It goes without saying then that James and B.I have nothing but kind words for each other for their collaborative moments. “It’s been a true pleasure, and the process has been smooth sailing thanks to his accommodating nature. I’m eagerly anticipating our next collaboration,” muses B.I. Adds James, “I’m honored to be able to collaborate with B.I on our projects, and it’s been fun because the two songs are so different. It’s been a really inspiring experience.”
NOTHING BUT LOVE FOR THE PHILIPPINES
As exciting as this team-up is, the moment is also the latest addition to B.I’s memorable moments in the Philippines. Whether it be holding concerts in the country or breaking the internet with his unexpected attendance at the Vogue Philippines Anniversary Gala, it seems that B.I can find himself at big moments in Philippine pop culture. It’s a connection to the country the musician feels and appreciates.
“Every time I fly over, I’m greeted by a large crowd of fans, and the concert atmosphere is truly amazing. I always feel very excited whenever I have the chance to go there. Just talking about it now makes me eager to perform in the Philippines as soon as possible,” he gushes.
On what he has to say to his passionate Filipino IDs, B.I shares, “I wish for all of you to be well-nourished, well-rested, and in good health. As for myself, I’m determined to complete my album preparations promptly and head over to the Philippines. Here’s to many more enjoyable and unforgettable moments we’ll share together in the future!”
And just like with the memories he makes with his fans from the Philippines, it’s his IDs from around the world that make B.I’s latest world tour so fun. “So far, the tour has been joined by countless fans, and it’s been a true blessing to share this journey with them.” Speaking of traveling, while album and tour preparations have limited how much B.I has been able to get those frequent flier miles, he did have a special moment on his many adventures this year. “I can confidently say that one of the most unforgettable moments was when I traveled to Busan for a song camp and had the opportunity to create the song I had envisioned.”
MUSIC THAT TRANSCENDS LANGUAGES
The mutual love B.I and Filipinos have for each other, as well as his collaborations and friendship with James Reid, speaks to a bigger picture of how the divide between Asian artistry continues to get narrower and narrower. Aside from the song being one of the first times James and B.I. have worked on the same track, it also marks the first partnership between music labels Cross Ratio Entertainment and Careless, in a joint regional collaboration aimed towards Asia and beyond. It showcases once again music’s ability to transcend language and borders.
As B.I sees it, the collaboration is their way of showing how music will always be there to bring people together. “Despite our different backgrounds and languages, I hope that music can bring us together as one and bring joy and happiness to our listeners. It’s a wonderful opportunity to explore the latest music scene in another country, and as more artists join forces for collaborations, I have no doubt we will witness the creation of high-quality music leading to successful outcomes.” At the end of the day, when it’s a bop, it’s a bop no matter what language or form it may come in.
Executive Production by Careless Music
Photography by Jan Mayo
For James Reid:
Styling by John Lozano
Glam by Rhod Rubia
Styling by Jang Minchul
Makeup by Yu Gayeon
Hair Styling by Yo Jingyeong