Colombian music is popular worldwide, with chart-topping artists including Shakira, Carlos Vives and Juanes much-celebrated for their success. Nowadays there is new crowd of Colombian artists emerging, many from the independent scene, who have seen their work propelled onto the international stage. Here we present a selection of the ones to watch:
Martha Liliana López Llorente is a reality show star made good. She started her showbiz career in acting before competing in Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony’s Que Viva La Chosen. Nowadays the popstar, from Cordoba, is a social network sensation, signed to SONY Music with songs including Como La Manana and Que Malo. She’s also a judge on Colombian talent show Tu Cara Me Suena (Your Face is Familiar).
Manuel Medrano is Colombia’s answer to Jack Johnson. He has been singing and playing his guitar since the age of 16, learning the ropes on Bogota’s bar and nightclub circuit. Medrano, from Cartagena, has since performed at some of Colombia’s biggest music festivals and opened the stage for Ed Sheeran at his concert in Bogota. His singles include Bajo el Agua and El Swing de la Propuesta.
Juan Pablo Vega was nominated for “Best New Artist” at the Latin GRAMMYs in Las Vegas after releasing his first album, Nada Personal. Vega, from Bogota, also started singing in bars and clubs before he sent a demo album to a producer. He has since won several national awards for his music, a fusion of rock, reggae, soul and rock, and received millions of YouTube hits.
Esteman (ThisMan in English) is a pop star with a difference. Esteban Mateus, from Bogota, was a musical theatre fan and performance artist until he caused a sensation with No te metas a mi Facebook (Don’t hack my Facebook) The song and its retro video went viral and Esteman has since released his first album, 1er Acto. He has performed at festivals worldwide and describes his Esteman persona as the “anti-popstar”.
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Colombia: Land of a thousand rhythms