When Maluma was invited to perform on 2020’s One World: Together at Home broadcast to raise awareness about the coronavirus pandemic, he thought, wow, really? Him? The only Spanish-language performer on the bill? To a kid who’d grown up loving artists like Ricky Martin, himself a kind of global ambassador for Latin pop, the invitation was more than just a chance to play—it was a chance to show his people off to the world. “I felt that when I was performing, I was representing my whole culture,” he told Apple Music.
And in important ways, he was right. Born Juan Luis Londoño Arias in 1994 in Medellín, Colombia, Maluma has joined a rising tide of Latin pop artists—including Bad Bunny, J Balvin, and Ozuna—who have managed to make a global impact without tailoring themselves for a global (read: English-speaking) market. His biggest tracks—“HP,” “11 PM,” “Qué Pena,” “ADMV”—have helped define 21st-century reggaetón and Latin trap, while his collaborations with artists like Madonna (“Medellín”) and The Weeknd (“Hawái [Remix]”) aren’t just novel features but reflections of the changing demographics of mainstream music.
BORNJanuary 28, 1994