© Danielle Levitt

Fashion

Columbian’s finest - it’s Maluma, baby!

It’s Maluma, baby! The Columbian sexbomb smoulders in GQ Style’s AW19 issue, shot in Miami’s stunning Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.

The Latin heartthrob has long dreamed of global dominance on his own terms. Finally, the English-speaking world is catching up. In recent years, the silky-voiced 25-year-old has collaborated with superstars including Shakira, Ricky Martin – and, most notably, Madonna, who recruited Maluma to guest on the lead single from her recent album Madame X, titled “Medellín”. On Instagram, he has more than 46 million followers (that’s more than Adele). Maluma is emblematic of Western music’s evolution to include non-English voices and is the sound of pop’s future.

© Danielle Levitt

For GQ Style, Maluma is shot by Danielle Levitt and styled by Editor Luke Day in a Spring/Summer preview featuring looks from Versace, Dolce & Gabbana and Saint Laurent By Anthony Vaccarello – as well as his signature heaps of gold jewellery.

© Danielle Levitt

In Miami, Maluma sits down for an intimate conversation with Alex Frank on the pressures and joys of bringing his culture to the world, working with Madonna and why he’s determined to achieve worldwide stardom on his own terms, while continuing to sing in Spanish. Read on for an exclusive preview of our in-depth feature.

© Danielle Levitt

Shakira on Maluma

"He works hard, like me, but he never lets ambition get in the way of enjoying whatever he’s doing. And that makes you want to be around him."

On appearing in Madonna’s music video

"She was, like, can I lick your toe?" he says with a laugh. "I was like, 'Fuck it. Lick my toe! You’re Madonna. Do whatever you want.’"

On his fans

“I was at a concert and I got close to a fan and she pulled me so badly she ripped my shirt off. She hurt me," he says. "But you understand that that’s love. They want you to be close.”

A 34-year-old fan on her love of Maluma

“I already have a husband. I need a dirty boy," she says. "He posts Instagrams in a towel or tanning by the pool, basically girl porn." At a time when male sexuality is mostly in the news for terrible reasons – some lecherous titan who is horrible to women – Maluma is almost wholesome in his dirtiness. The dream of Maluma is like letting the libido ride a rollercoaster: it’s a brief jolt of electricity, but his sweet demeanour reminds you that you’ll get off the ride safe in the end, without real consequences. "It’s a fantasy for women to have this gorgeous man that you know you can’t trust but that you can’t resist," she says. "He has a sweet smile and you can tell he would be fun. I want to perrear with him, an expression in reggaetón that means 'to dance dirty'."

On his stage persona

"When I leave Colombia, I feel like, 'OK. I’m going to play the role,’" he says. "You play the role so you can have a beautiful life, but you know that this is not going to last. You can have all these material things but when you die, you’re not taking them with you. Nothing lasts forever."

On feeling pressure to sing in English

"A year ago, I went to LA and worked with the biggest producers in the industry. Scott Storch, Timbaland, Max Martin," he says. "I felt pressure because they told me I had to record in English. 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."

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