Maluma loves love. He’s made a career singing about it. There are songs about one-night flings like Qué Pena and Borro Cassette. There are songs about polyamorous love such as Felices los 4. And then there’s everlasting love, the kind he sings about in his latest single ADMV or Love of My Life. But what Maluma really loves comes down to his holy trinity: family, music and Colombia. This is exactly how Maluma is spending his quarantine – at home with family, recording new music. ADMV is one of his most heartfelt singles to date, a guitar-based romantic ballad that resonates with the early boleros of the 20th century, far from the raunchy lyrics and bad-boy persona that have earned him a playboy label since his debut album, Pretty Boy, Dirty Boy. “I didn’t plan it this way,” he says, “but the message of the song is perfect for what we are going through right now.” Born Juan Luis Londoño Arias, Maluma leapt to international fame from the Colombian city of Medellín. He first launched his career in his teens singing reggaeton, an urban music genre born in marginalized communities of Puerto Rico and Panama, with the help of his aunt, Yudy Arias. Since then, Maluma has exported his sound, gaining over 22 million listeners on Spotify, releasing four albums, collaborating with Madonna, and working with designers like Dolce & Gabbana and Dior’s head of menswear Kim Jones.
Maluma is a global pop star now, but back in the early 2010s he was just a teenager trading a lifelong career as a soccer player for a chance to make it in music. Today, he’s part of the Medellín crew, alongside artists like reggaeton virtuoso J Balvin, urbano songstress Karol G, and producer Sky Rompiendo. Together they are reworking urbano sounds – hip hop, reggaeton, rap, and trap – into their own Colombian mix, launching it on the global stage. “Medellín is vibrant with art, culture and music,” says Maluma. “We have a different level of energy and I am happy this movement has been able to share it globally.”