It’s Maluma, Baby!
The Latin pop star finds an increasingly global audience—and himself—while spending time at home in Medellín with his family, old friends, horses, cows, chickens, and dogs.
The sky behind Maluma is a swirl of dense, gray clouds swabbing the rounded peaks of the Andes mountains like balls of wet cotton.
But the Colombian singer-songwriter, seated on a balcony with views of lush foliage and downtown Medellín in the distance, is unfazed and committed to his look—which, aside from all-black Nike Air Force 1s, an Audemars Piguet watch, and a black denim jacket, features large, ski-goggle-like Kenzo shades.
After a few seconds of tinkering with the Zoom technology, he unmutes himself and offers a cheery “Wassup, wassup!”
It’s an appropriately megawatt getup (and greeting)—despite a somewhat ominous backdrop—for the 27-year-old artist, whose seductive blend of reggaeton and Latin trap has suddenly found a massive worldwide audience in the midst of a global pandemic.
When we speak in mid-November, “Hawái,” the second single off Papi Juancho, the album Maluma recorded in quarantine and released over the summer, newly remixed with vocals (in Spanish and English) from The Weeknd, has just jumped 48 spots to number 12 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.
Meanwhile, his clubby collab with Black Eyed Peas, “Feel the Beat,” is feeling the number one spot on the Latin Airplay chart.
While a tour may have to wait, there’s no doubt fans the world over will be singing his lyrics back to him in Spanish when it happens, the way they did a few years ago during a sold-out show in Tel Aviv.
Shirt, $5,700, shorts, $4,000, chain link necklace (worn on wrist), $1,100, bracelet,$520, rings, socks, $300, loafers, $870, Dior Men. Necklace, Tiffany & Co.
Maluma acknowledges that “of course 2020 has been a very difficult year for all of us, but I feel like this was my best year so far, musically, artistically, and personally. I feel like I was reborn.” Like many, Maluma spent much of the past year at home, rethinking his priorities.
“I was talking the other day with my parents, and they were very happy because I’ve stayed a long time in Colombia, but they were also a little bit worried because they didn’t know what was going to happen with my work,” he says.
“My job is being on tour, but for me this has been very positive, being here in Colombia.
I feel very connected again with myself.”
Maluma’s parents need not worry, because 2021 is looking like it will be another banner year for their son.
In May, he’ll star alongside Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson in Marry Me, a sweet rom-com about an unlikely romance between a platinum-selling pop star (Lopez) and an unassuming math teacher (Wilson).
Maluma plays Bastian, Lopez’s character’s fiancé, until it’s revealed that he’s cheated on her with her assistant.