Cultural crossovers: genre-twisting, multilingual collaborations in pop

Recent popstar collabs with an international flavour, including Liam Payne, Kylie Minogue, and Beyoncé.

Pop's all about evolution, and one way to change things up is to get inspiration not only from other genres but also maybe mix it up in the lingo department. And let's face it, listening to the charts is way more fun than sitting in double Spanish on a hot day.

A selection of multilingual pop collabs adding a bit of flavour to the chart over the years, plus a couple of new ones to watch…

Liam Payne and J Balvin

Kicking off the list and hoping to get his fifth Top 10 in the process is former One Direction dude Liam Payne. He's teamed up with Colombian collabo king J Balvin for Spanglish bop Familiar. Expect to see this one climbing the Official Chart this summer.

Kylie Minogue and Gente de Zona

Also getting very international with her latest release, Kylie decided the second single from new album Golden wasn't quite wild enough, and drafted in hugely popular Cuban reggaeton group Gente de Zona. The new version of Stop Me From Falling is a summer banger and the joyous video makes us want to go on holiday and dance on tables. Relive Kylie Minogue's 51 Top 40 hits and more in her Official Chart archive

J Balvin, Willy William and Beyoncé

J Balvin (him again!) and French DJ Willy William's Mi Gente was already a multilingual collaboration and tearing up the charts quite nicely – before a remix and the addition of a VIP sent things stratospheric, peaking at 5 in September 2017. Yes, Queen Beyoncé took the language count up to three with her powerful verses, and she clearly loved the experience – she sang a rendition of the track at her recent Coachella headlining gig.

Little Mix and CNCO

When you're a huge girlband at the top of your game and you fancy branching out a bit, what do you do? Well you bring a reggaeton vibe to your output and guest on a track by one of the hottest Latin boybands on the planet - obviously. CNCO's Reggaeton Lento was taken global when Jesy, Jade, Leigh-Anne and Perrie dropped their unmistakable vocals, taking this essential barbecue bop all the way to Number 5 no fewer than three times, starting August 2017.

MORE: Look back at Little Mix's hits, including four Number 1s

Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber

This one went slightly under the radar so bear with us if you've never heard this track before but…OK, just kidding; this was everywhere! Kicking off another Latin pop explosion, Despacito spent an astonishing 11 weeks at Number 1 over three separate stints. This was helped in part (a big part, probably, tbh) to the added talents of Justin Bieber, earning him a sixth UK Number 1 in the process. See where all of Justin Bieber's UK hit singles and albums landed in his archive.

Enrique, Matt Terry, Sean Paul

The Top 10 wasn't without a multilingual song for long in 2017, and keeping things ticking over last summer was Spanish king of pop Enrique Iglesias, legendary Jamaican rapper Sean Paul, and Britain's very own Matt Terry. The X Factor winner scored his second UK Top 10, while Enrique landed an eleventh and Sean a very lucky 13th, when Subeme la Radio peaked at 10 in August 2017.

Neneh Cherry and Youssou N'Dour

OK, let's take things waaaaay back for a moment and head to the nineties for one of pop's most curious, yet excellent, hits. Swedish rapper and singer Neneh Cherry was used to blurring genres thanks to early hits Buffalo Stance and Manchild. Here, she teamed up with Sengalese singer-songwriter Youssou N'Dour for dreamy trip-hoppy ballad 7 Seconds. Reaching Number 3 in September 1994, 7 Seconds is trilingual – Youssou sings in French, English and West African language Wolof. 

Freddie Mercury and Monsterrat Caballe

Queen frontman Freddie was known for his theatrical rock anthems, flamboyant stage outfits and, of course, killer vocals. Ever keen to push himself and try new things, he went all popera, teaming up with esteemed Spanish singer Montserrat Caballe. Barcelona was penned with the forthcoming Olympic Games in the city in mind, and the pair enjoyed collaborating so much they recorded a whole album. On original release in 1987, Barcelona reached Number 8. Sadly Freddie Mercury died just a few months before the Barcelona Olympics, but his song stormed up the charts again, this time securing a Number 2 peak thanks to its use as the theme to the BBC's coverage.

MORE: Are two acts better than one? Collaboration albums that found chart success

Got a fave multi-lingo collabo that we missed? Get it off your chest in the comments below.

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