This year, we’re celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month with Future Hispanic History Month highlighting a variety of rising stars who are creating history before our very eyes. Maluma may be Latin pop's best bet to rival Justin Bieber: The two stars were born within two months of one another, broke out as heartthrobs as teenagers, have a love for finding forward-thinking beats and tattoos, and got a huge boost of fame thanks to their rabid online following.
And like how Bieber has proven resilient through the years, Maluma (née Juan Luis Londoño Arias) won't be a fleeting star. The Medellin, Colombia native has been slowly making inroads in America (with his hot take on reggaeton earning him five Top 40 U.S. Latin Songs hits in the past two years including two that topped the U.S. Latin Airplay Songs chart) while amassing millions of dedicated followers on social media (21 million on Facebook and 16 million on Instagram). Not to mention, the dude has eight videos on YouTube with more than 100 million views with the official visual to "Borro Cassette" (below) boasting more than 390 million.
And he isn't just getting noticed online either. Shakira, Ricky Martin, Thalía, Carlos Vives, J Balvin, Nicky Jam, and other stars important to the Latin music community have given their co-sign to the young star via collaborations. Meanwhile, he's already begun entering crossover territory with a Spanglish collaboration with Fifth Harmony ("Sin Contrato") and jumping on a Sean Paul remix for Jay Sean ("Make My Love Go"). And if his celebrity co-signs don't catch your attention, maybe a Latin Grammy nod for Best New Artist will.
All the while, it appears that Maluma seems to have his head on straight and won't enter a bad boy phase a la Bieber. In an interview with Snapchat Discover last year, he humbly spoke about staying true to his roots. "I'm 21 now, living a crazy life and I am trying to have my head in the right way" he said. "And it's, it's tough but I think my parents help me keep me grounded...we've seen artists become huge stars and lose their minds...When I am performing and making music, I think as "Maluma," but when I am in my office with my team, handling my brand and my company, I think like Juan Luis." And if he keeps navigating the scene like he is, Maluma will have no problem shining all on his own—no Bieber reference necessary.