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Maluma is dreaming big


Electrifying entire arenas to dance like no one is watching comes naturally to Colombian music star Maluma. The 29-year-old, who has surpassed 50 billion streams worldwide, graced “Sunday Morning” in Sacramento last month at the start of his North American tour.

His genre-melding sound is known as reggaeton, a blend of Puerto Rican rap, hip-hop, and Jamaican dancehall, to name a few. Reggaeton has changed music around the world over the past 20 years.

Luciano asked, “What should be in a reggaeton song?”

“A warrior spirit,” replied Maluma. “When I met all these reggaeton big artists, they came from the streets and they had to hustle, you know? Someone who wanted to conquer the world without a lot of opportunities.”

Colombian megastar Maluma with correspondent Lilia Luciano.

CBS News

And he has to conquer – music, of course, but also film, a mezcal, men’s clothing, a Porsche partnership and a burger brand. But in the hills outside his hometown of Medellin, Colombia, a world away from whirring fans and flashing lights, Juan Luis Londoño Arias (his birth name) lives in fantasy while keeping a firm grip on what he perceives as reality.

Luciano asked, “Is the guy who drives through those doors and comes to this ranch and hangs out with the horses still Maluma, or Juan Luis?”

“That’s a good question. You know there’s no Maluma without Juan Luis,” he said. “So, every time I feel that Juan Luis is recharged and my human is full of the things I really love, my family, my horses, good coffee, the mountains, Medellin, when I feel full of myself, yes. On my human side, I’m more with my music and my career. I feel like I can explore more.”

Maluma performed “Sobrio” from his most recent album, “Don Juan”:

Maluma – Sobrio (Official Video) by
Malumaveo on YouTube

Most artists would not admit that they pursued music for money. But after his father lost his job as a teenager and his mother struggled to keep things afloat, he changed his dream of becoming a soccer pro for a different goal. “I was like, I think this is going to lead my family to a better life,” he said.

So, music survives? “Oh, survival. Music saved my life.”

But he still had to prove himself worthy among the tough warriors of the reggaeton genre. “It was hard in the beginning,” he said, “because they were all like, This boy is handsome, after all, he looks good, but he doesn’t sing. He has no talent.

“Do you write? Do people doubt that you compose?” asked Luciano.

“Oh, everything. They’re like, Well, this guy has no talent. And all my athlete mentality came right away. I started going to the studio everyday. Making music every day.”

Maluma presents the “Boro Cassette”:

Maluma – Boro Cassette (Official Video) by
Malumaveo on YouTube

It paid off. Lyrics that push the limits of sex and luxury have earned him enough money to buy more than a few beautiful toys, a stable full of show horses, a one-of-a-kind purple Ferrari — even a real-life Hot Wheels car.

Young and growing up in a royal family, he had already shared court with the Queen of Pop when, at her behest, she came to Medellin to sing with Madonna Maluma. “People that I grew up with, like a teacher from high school, my friends from high school, everybody was there. So, when I saw her come on stage, it was like, is this really happening? I’m in a dream because she’s the queen of pop.”

Maluma's concert in Medellin
Colombian singer Maluma and Madonna perform together during the “Medallo en el Mapa” concert at Estadio Atanacio Girardat on April 30, 2022 in Medellin, Colombia.

Freddie Buells/Getty Images

Manifesting dreams is the purpose of his foundation, L’Arte de los Suenos, located in the heart of Medellín, encouraging at-risk youth from across the region to tap into their potential as reggaeton warriors. He said, “It’s beautiful because it reminds me of when I started. I wanted to conquer the world.”

Juan Luis Londoño Arias on one of his show horses.

CBS News

Not even 30 years old, his journey is just beginning. He’s still picking up speed, having fun and dreaming big. “I think at some point we’re going to get there. We’re going to say, ‘Wow, we did it,'” he said.

“Don’t you feel like it yet?” Luciano asked.

“Oh, never mind. I’m just getting started,” he replied. “I think I still need to conquer some countries to become one of the biggest artists on earth.”

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The story was produced by Luisa Garcia and John Goodwin. Editor: Remington Korper.


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