Who is Maluma, the Latin performer that dazzled the 2018 MTV VMAs with an entourage of gold-plated dancers? Here’s five key details about Colombia’s hottest pop star.
Maluma, 24, was the handsome “stranger” at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards on Aug. 20. But he won’t remain a new face to America for long, not after a VMAs debut performance of “Felices los 4” that heated up one of his backup dancers so much, she had to grab him for a kiss. Juan Luis Londoño Arias is the real name of the reggaeton and Latin pop singer who didn’t bother to wear a shirt under his shiny silver suit. The gifted singer is already a big deal on Latin music charts, with 34.8 million followers on Instagram!
1. Maluma’s debut album was certified gold. Maluma released his debut album Magia in 2012, which proceeded to become certified gold in his birth country of Colombia. The Latin music genre really does love him, judging from the dozens of nominations he’s received for various Latin music award shows since 2013.
2. He’s recorded hits with Latin music sensations Shakira and Ricky Martin. Maluma is far from being an underdog in the music industry. He’s featured on Shakira’s 2016 song “Chantaje,” and Ricky Martin’s 2016 song “Vente Pa’ Ca.” Shakira’s single “Chantaje,” featuring Maluma’s vocals, went on to peak at number one on Billboard‘s Hot Latin Songs for the Nov. 19, 2016 chart.
3. His name is a mashup of letters from his family members’ names. The first two letters come from his mom, Marlli, the next two from his dad, Luis, and the last letters are from his sister, Manuela. “It is a tribute to them because I love them and they are the drive of my career,” his official biography page reads.
4. Maluma has been putting out music since he was 16. The Latin music star started to record singles in 2010, and only because of a birthday present! His uncle Juan Parra linked him up with a studio for his 16th birthday. But it wasn’t until 2012 that his single “Farandulera” got major radio air time. Sony Music Colombia and its parent company Sony Music took notice, signing him on.
5. He was a judge on a music reality show competition. Yup, he was already held in high esteem just four years after launching his music career. In 2014, Colombia’s version of The Voice — La Voz Kids — offered him a judging gig.