About Jay Wheeler
Puerto Rican singer Jay Wheeler brings a romantic flourish to reggaeton with his lush, crooning, balladic style.
Born José Ángel López Martínez in 1994 in Salinas and raised in a working-class household alongside several brothers, he was interested in music from a young age. His parents sang in church, while he enjoyed musical films and learned to play the piano and later to make beats when he got a computer. Bullied at school, he became too insecure to pursue his talents; however, after a breakup in his teenage years, a friend persuaded him to post a song online that he had written and performed, "Ahora Estoy Mejor" ("I'm Better Now"). Released in 2015, the tune, which saw him both rapping and singing, became an overnight viral sensation, quickly racking up over half a million views. Martínez saw there was a future for him in music after all, and dedicated himself to becoming a success. Taking the first part of his stage name from his first initial, he crowdsourced the surname from his fans, asking for a name that would go with Jay. One suggested Wheeler (perhaps after the famous tattoo artist), and it stuck.
His breakout tune, released in 2018, was "Por Tu Culpa" ("Because of You"). Its discovery by Dynamic Records afforded Wheeler the opportunity to perform live, leading to his discovery by "father of reggaeton" DJ Nelson, who produced his debut album. Platónico came out in 2019 and featured a slowed-down, balladic version of reggaeton with romantic themes, '90s-influenced melodies, and aggressively Auto-Tuned vocals, which proved extremely popular. Later that year, Wheeler did an Unplugged live album, showcasing the high quality of his unadorned voice. His sophomore studio effort, Platónicos, appeared in 2020; produced once again by Nelson, it featured collaborations with a wide range of artists including Myke Towers, Brytiago, and Dalex. ~ John D. Buchanan