Colombian Latin superstar Maluma opened up to British GQ Style about feeling the pressure to sing in English to achieve crossover fame.
“A year ago, I went to LA and worked with the biggest producers in the industry. Scott Storch, Timbaland, Max Martin. I felt pressure because they told me I had to record in English,” he said. “I did all these songs and loved them but wasn’t feeling my essence. I decided that I was going to keep singing in Spanish.”
He also shared those same sentiments with Yahoo Lifestyle saying the music didn’t represent him: “I don’t want to pretend I’m someone else just so I can become known all around the world.” The 25-year-old singer and songwriter, born Juan Luis Londoño Arias, has previously released an English track with BURNS and Rae Sremmurd called “Hands on Me.” He also collaborated with Madonna on “Medellín,” which they performed together on the Billboard Music Awards, introducing him to English speaking audiences.
Unlike what’s known as the Latin Pop Explosion of 1999 when artists like Ricky Martin with “Livin’ La Vida Loca,”Enrique Iglesias with “Bailamos,” and J.Lo with “If You Had My Love” came on the scene singing in English, Latinx artists today don’t need to sing in English to gain popularity or fans in the U.S. The three musical artists with the most video views in 2018 were Ozuna, J Balvin, and Bad Bunny and eight of the top 10 most-viewed music videos that year were made by Latin artists, according to Rolling Stone.
Becky G actually gained more success when she began singing in Spanish, even being hailed as the Latin pop version of Britney Spears.
Though Latin Grammy-winning artist doesn’t need to crossover to the English-language market to be successful, it’s his very success as a Latinx artist that has many hoping he will.
In addition to Madonna, he’s collaborated with English-language artists including Ty Dolla $ign and Fifth Harmony and was hailed as the “the Ricky Martin of the new generation” by Rocio Guerrero, Head of Global Cultures at Spotify. He’s previously talked about collaborating with Justin Timberlake, Zayn Malik, and Justin Bieber and crossing over like Ricky Martin and Shakira. These are two artists he’s already worked with and whose careers he’s mentioned he’d like to emulate
“I think that they are big examples of how to build an amazing career, and do the cross-over…I don’t want to leave out my Spanish or my Latin world, but I want to grow in this American world,” he told Idolator in an interview. “So yes, I want to release some music in English, but I will try to keep the balance — songs in Spanish and English.”
It seems his first foray into singing in English didn’t work out as planned but for now, fans can expect to see him speak English as J.Lo’s fiance in Marry Me which reportedly begins filming next month.