Julien Mignot—The New York Times/Redux

When I first met J Balvin—or José, as his family and friends know him—my family and I were already huge fans of his. We would play “Ginza” and “Ay Vamos” at all our family parties. He was already making the people all over the world dance. When I found out I was on a song with him—“Hey Ma,” my first song as a solo artist—I was so excited, but you’re always nervous to meet your idols.

During a period of intense anxiety, I saw his posts on Instagram talking about his struggle with anxiety and mental health, and I remember bursting out crying because I no longer felt alone, amazed that someone who was achieving such incredible things was still vulnerable and brave enough to share that with the world. If there’s one thing I would love everybody to know about him, it’s this: José has always been so humble, hardworking and gracious, and so constantly grateful and kind. I’ve seen him become a top artist on Spotify and YouTube globally, nicknamed “the Prince of Reggaeton,” his songs streamed more than 42 billion times, all while remaining true to himself, constantly uplifting his peers and supporting his friends, and dreaming big. He’s opened up the doors for Latino artists everywhere by making the world hear and fall in love with our culture, our sounds and our spirit.

What I truly admire and love the most about José is that he is just himself. He’s himself to the world, he’s himself to his friends and his peers, and he’s got the kind of heart that makes him a person everyone is rooting for. When he wins, we all win.

Cabello is a Grammy Award-nominated singer and songwriter

More Must-Reads from TIME