Songbirds: Colombia’s rising songwriting stars

Colombia is a country well-known for its love of music and literary pursuits and now it seems the two arts […]

Colombia is a country well-known for its love of music and literary pursuits and now it seems the two arts are combining. Colombian singer/songwriters are winning international awards for their work at contests including the International Songwriting Competition, a US-based competition that receives 18,000 entries a year and the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, where judges include Prince Royce and the Black Eyed Peas. Here are some of the country’s emerging stars:

  • Kevin Rooke 


Kevin Rooke, from Bogota, wrote his first song when he was just 11, at a time when he was passionate about the baroque guitar. The moment he graduated from university, he began writing and producing advertising jingles before eventually performing his songs in public. Kevin performs as Coctel Lounge with singer Lina Posada and other invited artists. He released his first album Fin de la Infancia in 2013 before his song, Caen Mis Sueños, won second place in the Latin category of this year’s International Songwriting Competition.

  • Andro


Andro Sanchez is another Bogota singer/songwriter who was passionate about music from a young age. He taught himself to sing and play several instruments before he graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston, United States and began work as a sound engineer. Sanchez is currently working on his first EP, which promises to mix traditional Colombian instruments and Latin beats with electronic music. His song Amor, Amor won third place in the International Songwriting Competition’s Latin category.

  •  Juan Camilo Borja 


Juan Camilo Borja is a songwriter, producer and lead singer of the band Raza Pura, which he formed with his brother, David, in Palmira, Valle de Cauca. The band focus on Christian music and have performed across Colombia, including shows at Cali’s annual Gospel Festival. Borja produced the band’s first full-length album, A Quien Ire? and his song, Como Si Fuera La Primera Vez, received an honourable mention at this year’s International Songwriting Competition, also in the Latin category.

  • Elsa y Elmar 


Elsa Carvajal, from Bucaramanga, has been a jazz fan since she was a teenager. She began recording as Elsa y Elmar at Berklee College of Music and is now dedicated to writing and singing what she calls “spiritual pop”. Her debut EP, Sentirnos Bien, received rave reviews and the singer/songwriter, who now lives in San Francisco, has since performed in Colombia, Mexico and the United States. Her song Me Viene Bien won the Latin category at the John Lennon Songwriting Contest.

It’s clear Colombia’s singer/songwriters are on their way to the top and when it comes to music and lyrics, Colombia is the answer. If you liked this article, please share it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or any of your social networks.

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