When Lele Pons posts on Instagram, she does it with a mix of glamour, self-deprecating humor and simplicity that has charmed some 50 million fans into following her. And over the past two years, many of her buzziest posts have showcased the Venezuelan influencer’s love for her fiancé, Puerto Rican singer-songwriter Guaynaa, who counts 6.2 million followers of his own. But Pons, 26, and Guaynaa, 30, are much more than just a captivating couple, and their recent engagement isn’t limited to marriage: They’ll now be also making music together.
Lele Pons & Guaynaa: Photos From the Billboard Español Cover Shoot
“Beautiful, my love. Wow!” Guaynaa gushes at his newest collaborator and bride-to-be on a recent sunny morning in Miami at the restaurant-lounge El Tucán, as Pons gets made up for a photo shoot, trading her clean face, sweatshirt and sneakers for an executive skirt suit with a plunging neckline, towering stilettos and cherry red lips.
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Pons kisses him with caution, trying not to stain him with her lipstick. It’s one of many gestures of affection they will show each other throughout the day — suggesting that they really are as passionate as they appear on social media posts.
The vision that she has when carrying out a project is incredible. For me, she is the best content creator in the world. — Guaynaa
From the moment they made their relationship official on Instagram on Dec. 12, 2020, to their exciting proposal before thousands of people during Steve Aoki’s set at the Tomorrowland festival in Belgium on July 31, 2022, Pons and Guaynaa kept their fans’ attention with funny photos and videos in which they didn’t shy away from showing snapshots of their lives. And they haven’t stopped since, with a combination of comedy, moments of vulnerability and messages of self-love. (Cellulite is no longer a reason for shame thanks to Pons.)
They’re not the first music artists to unite their lives and intertwine their careers, but their relationship is different from others, as she is best known for her work on social media and he as a respected singer-songwriter in the industry. Working together has its inherent risks, but it could also result in bigger careers for both. Their joint power was shown in their only song released together so far, “Se Te Nota” (2020), whose video has accumulated 422 million views. It’s Pons’ most-viewed music video and Guaynaa’s second most-viewed, after his hit “ReBoTa” (2019) with 526 million.
“This could be a project that will bring us many surprises, both on Guaynaa’s side and on Lele’s side, because she hasn’t released music in a long time and Guaynaa has been on a music hiatus for nine, 10 months, and I think there will be something cool for this generation that follows Lele and the public that anxiously awaits Guaynaa,” says Juan Diego Medina, Guaynaa’s new manager.
Now I have a really good structure to put out a lot of songs, not just one every six months. And finally, I have someone like him (Guaynaa), who is my adviser and can help me more than anyone else. — Pons
In the last months, Eleonora Pons Maronese and Jean Carlos Santiago Pérez (their real names) have been planning a wedding while spending hours in the studio creating songs and producing an album that they plan to release soon after they tie the knot on March 4, in their adoptive city of Miami, before more than 300 guests. The 10-song set, tentatively titled Capitulations and to be released under a partnership between Interscope Records and Guaynaa, will include eight duets, one solo song from Pons and another one from Guaynaa, spanning a variety of genres, from urban pop (“Abajito”) to reggaetón (“Natural”) to reggae (“A Que No”) and bachata (“Todo Sabe Más Rico”).
Nir Seroussi, executive vp at Interscope Geffen A&M (IGA), says: “This album is a celebration of Lele’s and Guaynaa’s relationship and the perfect way to share this precious moment with their fans. While the wedding will surely attract a lot of attention, the focus of our plan is to showcase the music. With this project, Lele and Guaynaa stepped out of their comfort zones and tapped into an artistic side we haven’t heard before.”
It’s their first collaborative effort since 2020’s “Se Te Nota,” that playful urban pop song about wanting someone in an obvious way that spent 18 weeks on the all-genre Billboard Global 200 (where it peaked at No. 44), 25 weeks on the Billboard Global Excl. U.S. chart (No. 19 peak) and 11 weeks on Hot Latin Songs (No. 25). It was also the seed that led them to spend more time together and, eventually, fall in love.
They made their relationship “official” that December, but their first kiss came nearly two months earlier, on Oct. 27, when the Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series for the first time since 1988. “It was a very exciting and very special moment,” Pons says.
The content creator, with over 50 million followers on Instagram and 29 million more on TikTok, rose to fame on Vine — the short-form video platform where she became the most followed woman (11.5 million) before it shut down in 2017 — and went on to create comedy skits on YouTube, where she has 17.8 million followers. Her interest in music, however, dates to her childhood, when she took opera singing lessons, and in recent years she has released more than a dozen hit singles, including “Bubble Gum” with Yandel and “HIT IT” with the Black Eyed Peas and Saweetie (both from 2021).
Guaynaa, the son of troubadours who began creating music as a child, has made a name for himself as an urban pop artist with his own style and the audacity to experiment with all kinds of genres. He rose to fame in 2019 with “ReBoTa,” a mix of reggaetón and dembow with which he debuted on the Billboard charts, and has since released collaborations with artists as varied as Lola Índigo (“Respira”), Los Ángeles Azules (“Cumbia a La Gente”) and Sebastián Yatra, with whom he recorded “Chica Ideal,” which reached No. 1 on the Latin Airplay chart.
Now they take on their joint music project not only with great enthusiasm, but with great responsibility. Especially after a year that wasn’t all laughter and comedy. In early 2022, Guaynaa was rushed to the hospital after a car accident in Los Angeles, where a drunk driver hit the vehicle he was traveling in, causing the artist a serious cervical injury that required microsurgery and therapy. “It was a very complex recovery process. [I had to] stop all my projects,” he recalls, thankful that Pons traveled to meet him immediately and always accompanied him. Once recovered, it was his turn to take care of his fiancée, who underwent an operation for appendicitis last October.
In the process, Guaynaa also ended his deal with Universal Music and signed a management contract with Medina of La Industria (Nicky Jam, Manuel Turizo), who says the singer is in talks with a couple of record labels. Pons, signed to Interscope, also has a new manager, Polo Molina (Gerardo Ortiz, the Black Eyed Peas), but her manager for social media continues to be John Shahidi of Shots Studios, with whom she has worked for years.
“He and I are good friends,” says Molina about Medina, whom he worked with when the Black Eyed Peas and Nicky Jam teamed up for “Vida Loca” in 2020. “So, when he started working with Guaynaa and I started working with Lele, it was perfect. We just called each other like, ‘Hey, let’s do an album. Yeah! Let’s do a tour.’ Obviously, there’s a wedding going on, there’s a honeymoon going on, but I think they have all the ingredients to be superstars.”
And everything is practically ready for the big day. Before taking off to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Paris for their honeymoon, Pons will wear three dresses throughout the evening: one by Zuhair Murad to walk down the aisle, one by Julie Vino to dance at the party, “and the very, very last one, which is for when you’re already feeling unwell, by Pnina Tornai,” she says with a laugh. There will be Puerto Rican, Venezuelan and Italian food (in honor of her ancestry), and both a band and DJ to provide music till the wee hours.
They also expect to sing and have some of their guests sing as well, including relatives and close friends like Puerto Rican pop icon Chayanne (Pons’ uncle) and a stellar bridal party including Paris Hilton, Anitta, Kim Loaiza, Hanna Stocking, Isabela Grutman, Nicole Garcia and Isadora Figueroa, as well as Sebastián Yatra and Mau and Ricky Montaner.
“They all have to sing! I’ve sung at everyone’s weddings,” says Guaynaa, while Pons reminds him that someone already said she wants to do it: Spanish singer Natalia Jiménez.
During our lengthy interview, in which they spoke mostly Spanish, Pons and Guaynaa talked about their life together, their plans and their respective roles in the industry.
The wedding is only a few weeks away and the album will be released soon after. How are you handling the stress?
LELE PONS: We try to help each other with the stress, and the people around us too. (Turns to Guaynaa.) Like your dad, he calms me down a lot. Your mom calms me down a lot.
GUAYNAA: It’s a process, but we always take a couple days a week to do nothing and be at home snuggling, watching TV, talking. That makes us more appreciative and makes us step out of the house with the idea that someone is waiting for you at home to have a nice time when the lights go out, that someone is there for you.
What do you want to say with this album? Is there a particular message?
GUAYNAA: Look, there’s partying, there’s dancing.
PONS: But there are also moments about not wanting to sleep with the person you’re with, like the bachata. All couples have problems, and that’s very important. Not everything is love and kisses. There are moments that you know are difficult, and if you love the person that you’re with, you are going to have to solve it.
Who wrote the songs, and how was the working process in the studio?
PONS: Guaynaa wrote the songs. I’m more into marketing and music videos. We both contribute. We sing together, we help each other. Many times, I change the melody when I don’t like it, like in the song “Abajito.”
GUAYNAA: I try to compose, direct, produce. And Eleonora is basically giving her opinion also in terms of production and lyrics, but in a more relaxed way. The process was quite varied. One song was written in Mexico, the rest in Miami. There were collaborations with songwriters that I’ve worked with. For example, “Estrella Fugaz” was written with Elena Rose. It’s a very special song for us because it essentially represents what our love story is.
Working together can be a double-edged sword. How has this experience been for you?
GUAYNAA: Lele and I beat to different rhythms. In music, I can tell you that it is quite cool, because she has a different thinking and approach and drive, she has other filters in her head when she analyzes music. My filters are more about the conceptual elaboration of the album, the musicality, the storytelling, the beginning and the end. There were many disagreements for that very reason, but at the end of the day, I think we managed to develop a project, and that makes us very happy.
What has been the most fun for each of you?
PONS: For me, it was when I had to sing in the studio and Guaynaa would come in to help me. (To Guaynaa.) It was fun because you did things to make me laugh and [help me relax]. And for you?
GUAYNAA: The most fun? (Laughs mischievously.) Oh, for you to say you liked a song, because you were like: “I don’t like it, I don’t like it, I don’t like it… This one I like!” Yes!
PONS: [But] when it comes to songs, I trust in him. Even if I don’t like it, I have a lot of trust in Guaynaa as an artist and I tell him, “OK, bebé, if you really want to release this song, let’s do it.”
Each of you has your own passionate fan base. How do you reach out to fans and build a consensus, especially now that you’re releasing a project together?
GUAYNAA: I think people want music.
PONS: Yes, they already have everything else on social media.
GUAYNAA: They ride the wave and surf with us. People want music, they’d like to hear music from us out there. I mean, there were many people last year who, for example — now that I told you how difficult it was — got upset at my fan base or Lele’s fan base: “Why aren’t they working? Why aren’t they making music? Oh, they’re more dedicated to their relationship than to their careers.” And it’s really that we had a disability — I couldn’t go out and sing with a hole here (points to his neck, referring to the injury from the car accident), and she couldn’t go out and sing with stitches in her belly. It was a very complicated scenario.
Guaynaa, if you could change something in the music industry right now, what would it be? [The singer parted ways with Universal Music and his previous management after releasing his debut album, La República, in 2021.]
GUAYNAA: I would require at least four years of [music business] studies, a master’s or bachelor’s degree for those who want to sing and enter the platforms. Because it seems quite unfair to me that because of ignorance errors an artist’s hard work is put at risk and therefore, their family’s sustenance — like a bad agreement, a bad contract. I have always said that this is like parenthood: First they give you the diploma and then you start studying. I would like for people to study first and then get their diploma.
Has your relationship with Lele or your greater social media presence influenced the way you make music today?
GUAYNAA: Definitely. There are many aspects in music, and I’ve always been a guy who goes out with reggaetón, then makes cumbia, salsa, alternative music… that’s the way I feel comfortable; that’s me and that’s my DNA. So, yes, I think it has given me another notion because I am aware of other things, I see other trends, and when I’m making music that’s leaning to that side, I already have some more knowledge.
How do you structure your businesses?
GUAYNAA: Our businesses are structured completely separately. We do give each other feedback and help each other, but she keeps her business structure on her side and I keep mine on my side.
PONS: Guaynaa is very good with finances, and he has a team that is very united, while I have experience in content creation and marketing. I help him with his social media, and he advises me on my finances, my business and, on many occasions, my personal decisions.
Lele, we know you more as an influencer than as a singer. How important is your music career to you right now, and what have you learned from Guaynaa as a musician?
PONS: My music career is very important. Now that I have a manager who is also in the music business and has had a lot of success, it’s like a new chapter that I want to try. And not only that, I love making music! But there has always been some sort of obstacle. For example, the hospital, or me having to do another project. Now I have a really good structure to put out a lot of songs, not just one every six months. And finally, I have someone like him (points affectionately to Guaynaa), who is my adviser and can help me more than anyone else.
Guaynaa, we have enjoyed seeing you showing your funny side with Lele on social media. What have you learned from her as a content creator?
GUAYNAA: I would say that I’ve learned about passion, attention, projection, planning. The vision that she has when carrying out a project is incredible. For me, she is the best content creator in the world.
PONS: Thanks, bebé. That’s because you love me.
GUAYNAA: It’s one of the things that I most admire about her, her ability to evolve. Because she started doing something, she grew and did other things, became bigger and did more. Reggaetón came knocking at her door looking for her creativity. Now she is in another facet, and her ability to reinvent herself is very admirable for me.
What has been the biggest challenge and the biggest advantage of working together?
GUAYNAA: The biggest challenge has basically been evolving in this ever-changing industry. And the greatest advantage, I would say that who we are as people: We have many friends, we enjoy the love and respect of many, and that makes it easier for us to work and get things done.
PONS: Being on the same page when he and I are very different in the way we work. For example, I like commercial songs, while he likes more artistic songs. This makes us the perfect team, because we come to an agreement and there is balance in every decision.
Lele, going back to the wedding, to what song are you going to walk down the aisle?
GUAYNAA: “Rompe, rompe…” (He sings the first lines of Daddy Yankee’s “Rompe,” which she loves, making her burst into laughter.)
PONS: “A Thousand Years” [by Christina Perri].
GUAYNAA: And for the first dance, “Bésame la boca… bésame la luna.” (He sings Ricardo Montaner’s romantic ballad “Bésame,” smiling proudly.) I chose it.
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