Today (Aug. 12), the result of that opportunity is out in the world: “Don’t Be Shy” marks Tiësto’s first time working with a Latin pop artist, and for Karol G, who has three No. 1 hits (“Dame Tu Cosita,” “China” and “Tusa”) on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart to her name, it’s her first time singing entirely in English.
The Netherlands-born producer explains that, because he isn’t fluent in Spanish, “It’s very hard for me to produce the right music for it, the right vibe. … To do this in English was really the perfect combination when working with a Latin artist because I can do it in a language that I understand.”
“Don’t Be Shy” showcases Tiësto’s softer side, a result of his making what he calls more “mellow” music during lockdown. Over airy synth melodies and a bass-filled chorus, Karol G plays the seductress, daring her subject to approach her.
“The experience was amazing,” Karol G says to Billboard in a statement. “I’m always open to trying new things and challenging myself. I listen to EDM, I have EDM music on my playlists, so it was a great opportunity to be part of this song with Tiësto. I honestly just had fun and didn’t overthink it. I always had on my mind to sing in English one day, and maybe not an entire song, but the opportunity came earlier than I expected, so why not take the chance and try something new now?”
For Tiësto, “Don’t Be Shy” is a more universal call to action. “During the pandemic, everybody isolated themselves from everything and everybody,” he says. “Nobody talks to each other anymore — nobody greets each other on the street. In the clubs even, you don’t really talk to each other because you’re scared… ‘Don’t Be Shy’ is a message for people to come back together in the future when everything is safe. Don’t be shy, talk to each other, hug each other.”
With this new collaboration, Tiësto hopes to build upon the success of his recent single “The Business.” His first release after signing with Atlantic Records last year, the single has become his biggest hit since 2018’s “Jackie Chan,” his Dzeko collaboration featuring Preme and Post Malone.
Since its September 2020 release, “The Business” has topped two Billboard charts (Dance/Electronic Digital Song Sales and Dance/Mix Show Airplay) and spawned a sequel, “The Business, Pt. II” featuring Ty Dolla $ign; it also took off on TikTok, where the #DownToBusiness hashtag has had users (including Tiësto) transforming their casual outfit into their best buckle-down threads with the flip of a shoe (and some video-editing magic).
Tiësto’s latest video on TikTok shows him playing “Don’t Be Shy” to a club crowd; although he appreciates having had the time to reset during lockdown, he really missed DJing. As live events continue their tentative comeback, he too has returned to tour life, launching a new Las Vegas residency ahead of festival stops at Beyond Wonderland SoCal, Electric Zoo New York and EDC Las Vegas. It’s a jetset lifestyle that Tiësto managed for three decades pre-pandemic, yet after more than a year away, even a seasoned pro like him has needed time to re-adjust.
“It’s like not going to the gym for a year and then suddenly you start working out again. Everything’s rusty,” he says, laughing. “I’ve played probably 50 shows in the last couple months, so I feel like I’m back where I should be: my mindset, my DJ set. It’s not as simple as people think it is.”
Tiësto says he expects “Don’t Be Shy” (as well as “The Business”) to be on his forthcoming album. As for a release date, it’s still uncertain: although the LP was initially slated to come out this year, he’s timing it to possibly next spring or summer as new songs and ideas continue to roll in.
“It’s changing every day,” he says. “I never thought Karol G would make a track with me but here we are. Who knows what happens after this?”