Al James is no stranger to success and his latest video “Latina” is on track to become one of his biggest yet, hitting 5 million views in less than two months. As his sound has spread throughout the Philippines, he’s switching up his style a bit to stay ahead of the imitators. And he’s also invested some more in the video since it was clearly going to be a hit. The updated flow, crisp animation, and cinematic views all come together for a true leveling up.
The video was directed by Johnny Estacio from Hella Solid, his main partner for visuals and the director of Psychedelic Boy’s viral hit “Batang Pasaway,” which we also recently covered. “Working with Johnny is always a freestyle of ideas. He came up with a storyboard but once the shoot day comes, there’s a lot of new surprise ideas as opportunities present themselves,” James says. “In the end, we made my smoothest video yet!”
“When we release the audio version first and that’s the link that goes viral, the music video often gets overlooked. So we decided to drop them on the same day this time so that wouldn’t happen again,” James says. The song had actually been in the works for about a year. Between his gigs, personal life, and a perfectionist approach, it took a long time for it to come to light.
That stretch of time is actually the reason for its name. “‘Latina’ was just the file name,” James laughs. “We tried to give it another title once it was all finished but nothing felt right. We were attached to it already and it fit the vibe so we kept it. A lot of people like it, but some people are definitely like, ‘Where’s the Latina??’ Besides, we’re trying to attract some different listeners now.”
“We like Latinas, we’re all brown!” he adds with a big grin.