Few producers had a better 2018 than Tainy, who, over the course of a remarkable eight-month stretch, helped steer three distinct, formidable projects — Cardi B, J Balvin and Bad Bunny’s “I Like It,” Balvin’s Vibras and Bad Bunny’s X100Pre — to Number One on their respective charts.
Tainy is back for more with “I Can’t Get Enough,” released on Thursday, which also includes contributions from Balvin, Selena Gomez and Benny Blanco. “I Can’t Get Enough” is the latest entry in a crowded field of bi- and even trilingual hits, from the remix to MC Fioti’s “Bum Bum Tam Tam” to Ozuna and Cardi B’s “La Modelo” to DJ Snake’s feature-slathered “Taki Taki.” “I Can’t Get Enough” also marks the first major single on which Tainy is credited as an artist, even though he doesn’t rap or sing — he is stepping out into the spotlight in the same manner as Anglo writer-producers like Blanco and BloodPop.
“Tainy is one of the most talented producers I’ve ever met,” Balvin tells Rolling Stone. “And he’s not just a Latino producer. I don’t consider music like that: When someone’s that talented, they’re just a global citizen.”
Before it was beamed around the globe, though, “I Can’t Get Enough” was born in Los Angeles. “I heard Selena was looking for tracks,” Tainy explains, speaking from Medellín, where he’s holed up working on Balvin’s next album with Diplo, Skrillex and Michael Brun. “So I sat down with Mike Sabath and Cris Chil, two songwriters. We did a couple sessions, but that came out the first day.”
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The melody that opens “I Can’t Get Enough” will sound familiar to any listeners with a pulse: The tone of the insistent riff and the the divebombing bass under the drums offer reminders of “Mi Gente,” the Balvin single that became a global standard overnight. “I have a lot of vocal snippets that are samples — think of the way you see them on a piano, a lot of notes, but each is like a one-shot vocal,” Tainy explains. “I like playing around with those. So I started piecing together the melody until I found one that felt good.” Sabath and Chiluiza quickly furnished the instrumental with some lyrics.
With the track in hand, Tainy made a trip to Gomez’s label, Interscope, to meet with Joie Manda, the label’s executive vice president, and John Janick, who serves as chairman and CEO. “I sat down with the guys over there and played them the song,” Tainy recalls. “Everybody loved it. We were just waiting for Selena to be in recording mode.”
The next piece of the “I Can’t Get Enough” puzzle was Blanco, who has long been one of pop radio’s biggest songwriters. He also has an artist deal with Interscope, and during his own label visit, he heard Tainy’s demo and wanted to get involved. Blanco later went into the studio with Gomez — the two collaborated previously on “Same Old Love,” which reached Number One on pop radio — to work on “I Can’t Get Enough.”
Last, but never least, came Balvin. “She recorded quickly with Benny, and then she was like, ‘Who can we add to this to give it that Latin flavor?'” Tainy says. “Who better than José [Balvin]?”
Balvin stays busy, but it took little effort to convince him to record a verse for “I Can’t Get Enough.” “It was his first own single; of course I couldn’t say no,” Balvin explains. “Especially when I heard the beat, and I heard Selena on it, it was a no-brainer.”
A producer putting out his first official single as an artist might be nervous. But Tainy seemed unconcerned, and with good reason: As Balvin points out — “We already proved that we’re not one-hit wonders.”