Mexico’s Playboy Going International

with Playboy New Zealand May 2022 cover star Christian Nodal /@nodal 

Model Natalie Lopez / @missnatalielopez – Photography by Joyce Charat / @joycevisuals & Micah Hamilton / @micah_hamilton – Production & Creative Direction Irma Penunuri / @burgerrock – PR by Burgerrock Media / @burgerrockmedia – Styling Marlon Fernandez & Horacio Aguilar / @styledbyhoracio – Grooming & Glam Diego / @makeupbydiego Zayra Rayo / @zayrarayo

Christian Nodal, the twenty-three-year-old classic regional singer from Mexico who is breaking down every barrier from this cover on Playboy to his music, gives us a glimpse into who he is behind closed doors. The humble singer from humble beginnings is the ultimate lover boy, and we’re loving his journey as much as his music. 

Nodal, your classic regional music style seems to also permeate through in your fashion style. Can you tell us about yourself and how you grew up? What experiences have defined who you are and your music today? I grew up in Caborca, Sonora, Mexico. I am from the desert. The people who know that part of Mexico know that they have great food and beautiful music, beautiful women, and beautiful views. My music changed the way that people see regional Mexican music. I’m young and when they hear my voice, they all think that I’m older. When they see that I’m a young guy, they understand the clothes that I use are because I try to respect my culture, but also, I use my own style, my own way. I like the way it looks when I combine classic things along with new modern trends. I started writing songs when I was 12 or 13 years old. I liked writing about the love stories of my friends, and my own stories of love. Sometimes when I see a new movie, it inspires me to make new music. I am still learning because I’m young and I’m living my life, trying to do my best. 

How would you define yourself in a few sentences? It’s hard for me to say how I am, but I think I’m a really sensitive and emotional guy. I am a lover. I like to help, love, and protect everyone. I love to protect everyone around me. I am also very shy, and most people think that I am not. And definitely unpredictable. 

You’ve exploded off the Latin music scene winning three Latin Grammy awards, a Lo Nuestro award, two Billboard Latin Music awards, including a Latin American Music award working with so many notable artists from Pepe Aguilar, David Bisbal, Alejandro Fernandez to Mana, all by your early twenties. What has it been like to find success doing what you love so young? What have been the best and worst parts of your journey to stardom? I am very, very grateful because where I come from, it’s very hard to make it in life. All my family members are hard workers, but some of them couldn’t make it, and it’s really sad. So I am really, really grateful for the place that I have in the Latin industry. I love the way that my fans are because they let me do a lot of things that I love. I am planning on coming out with my own tequila, a clothing brand, and a tattoo shop. They are extensions of me, and I love that people keep on giving me the opportunity to make it, and to be happy. On my way to fame, I’ve been through a lot of things, but I think that’s life. That’s what life is about. Nobody can show you how to be you, so you just have to enjoy the journey. When I was 16, I was just a young guy who loved music but sometimes I didn’t understand everything that was going on, but I have learned a lot. I’ve learned how to create my own business. So, I’m pretty happy in that way.

You recently paid homage to the great Vicente Fernandez during the 2022 Premio Lo Nuestro awards singing one of his most classic songs “Aca Entre Nos.” What did it mean to you to do this tribute given the recent passing of this legend? And do you have a favorite song of his? I was proud because the place where they gave the awards, just for Don Vicente, means a lot. It means that the regional music has gained more popularity and more recognition, and I love the music of Don Vicente. I feel blessed to be a part of this kind of music. It meant a lot of things for me because to talk about Don Vicente is to talk about my childhood. My favorite song of his is the cover of “My Way,” “A Mi Manera.” That and “El Rey.”

While you’ve had so many amazing collaborations under your belt already, you recently teased a possible collaboration with Momoland and Blackpink. Can you tell us more about what we can expect from this K-pop crossover? What’s next for Christian Nodal with your upcoming musical projects? I’m so excited. I’m so grateful. I love K-pop culture and I love Momo land. I think that we’re going to do something crazy. I love to make music with no expectations — just vibe, just feel. I think that we’re going to do crazy things. I am also working on my next album, Forajidos. In this album, I’m going to have a lot of features. I have Ozuna. I have Sech. I have Rels B.I have a lot of big artists. Snow Tha Product. Kazoo. I am enjoying this album because it’s not the music that I usually do. I am just trying different things, and I’m enjoying it with all my team. We’re all very excited about it.

You seem to be a relatively private person having only five posts on your social media. What is something about you that people wouldn’t know or expect? The people who aren’t my fans of maybe 3 or 4 years and are new to my music, they all think that I live the cowboy life, but I love watching anime and I love playing games. That’s my favorite thing to do when I’m not working. I love food. I love going to a good restaurant. I like traveling to see the sunsets and sunrises. I love those things, and nobody expects it.

A lot of your songs are about love and relationships which seem so personal and intimate. The use of your words is like poetry. What would you say inspires your songs and would you consider yourself a hopeless romantic at heart? I am definitely a hopeless romantic. Yes. I love to love. I love stories of love. I usually sit on the couch and talk with my friends about their problems, and then I’ll write about their past love stories, or sometimes I’ll write about my own love stories, which has its pros and cons. At the end of the day, I just want people to feel they’re not alone when they are broken, or even when they are happy. I like how my music impacts other people. I am a lover. 

Who has made the biggest impact in your personal life? Is there a motto or phrase that you live by? I would say that the most important person in my life was my great-grandmother. I lived the first eight years of my life in her house, and she showed me how to be me. I love her, and I always think of her. When I’m performing in stadiums or when I’m at awards, or on TV, I hope that she sees me because she has to be proud. I like to love life and love myself because nobody can show you how to be you. You have to enjoy the journey with the good things, and the bad. In the end, I think that we will have only a couple of seconds to think about all the beautiful moments. 

What advice would you give other young Latinx artists who look up to you? You have to work a lot on your passion, and don’t ever forget that you’re doing it for passion. Creativity is beautiful. Never stop trying to do new things, to create, to inspire new things. Keep the people who bring you up close. Always keep the people you trust close to you. They love you for who you are, and not who you’re going to be. And just keep it real.