It seems hard to believe at just 25 years old, Colombian singer-songwriter Maluma has already been making music for nearly a decade.
Directed by Jessy Terrero, the riveting new YouTube Originals Spanish-language documentary “Lo Que Era, Lo Que Soy, Lo Que Seré,” traces Maluma’s journey from his childhood as a young boy with athletic dreams who made a life-altering decision to pursue a music career.
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Born Juan Luis Londoño Arias, the film explores Maluma’s early life in Medellin, Colombia. It also features candid interviews with the people the globally adored artist loves the most. Namely, his father Luis Londoño, his mother Marlli Arias, his sister Manuela, his Aunt Yudy, several other family members, and close friends.
All these people helped shape the Latin Grammy Award-winning artist into the multitalented entertainer he is today. Live footage from sold-out stadium shows around the world is interspersed between Maluma’s up-close-and-personal commentary. Swooning fans are seen screaming and waving cell phone lights in the air at venues in places like Tel Aviv, Israel, Quito, Ecuador, and many more.
Whether he’s dancing and engaging the audience from center stage or he’s serenading them from a platform raised high above the crowd, the charismatic artist enjoys the magical, musical love affair he conducts with his fans during live shows. Pans of concertgoers see people laughing, dancing, and singing along to some of Maluma's biggest hits.
Overall, the documentary presents a captivating look at how a talented, aspiring young singer followed his dreams and ended up stealing the hearts of his fans around the world.
In case you missed it, here are five things fans learned about Maluma in the film.
1. Maluma gave up dreams of being a pro soccer player to pursue music.
“That was my dream. I wanted to be a soccer player,” he explains early in the documentary. Maluma put a lot of time and effort into the sport and wanted to be on the Colombian national soccer team. He also credits his years playing soccer with helping him develop responsibility, discipline, perseverance, and more. Little did he know these skills would come in handy when forging his music career.
2. Financial hardships during his parents’ divorce prompted him to sell sandwiches at school for money.
Maluma and his parents all became emotional while discussing their tough decision to get divorced. At just 10, the young boy felt responsible as “the man of the house” to take care of his mother and sister. Money was tight. So, he began selling sandwiches at school and gave the money to his mother to buy food. Getting even more creative, he bought bags of candy for around two dollars each and sold individual pieces from them for a dollar each. One time, he raised $35 in candy sales.
3. When choosing his stage name, he decided to go with his family inspired “Maluma” tattoo.
Young Juan Luis wanted a tattoo, though his parents were reluctant. Eventually, he decided to make his first tattoo a tribute to his family, combining the first two letters of his mother “Ma,” his father, “lu,” and his sister “ma’s” names to form “Maluma.” When choosing his stage name, the inked moniker quickly became the obvious choice.
4. His aunt introduced him to reggaeton by playing it in her car. After attending his first reggaeton concert, he fell in love with the genre and wanted to become a reggaeton star.
Many music artists cite family members as inspiring their love of music. For Maluma, his Aunt Yudy (who is a TV personality), used to play reggaeton loudly whenever they were together in her car.
After attending his first reggaeton concert, he was mesmerized by artists like Don Omar, Ivy Queen, and more. He said, “When I saw all those artists onstage, I realized that’s what I wanted to do … I wanted to be on that stage with them.”
On his birthday, he asked his aunt if she could help him record a song. So, she called a producer she knew and said, “Look, I have a very talented nephew.” With their help, Maluma recorded his first song, and her husband, Juan Parra became his first manager.
5. He and his family want to pay Maluma’s success forward with his foundation, The Art of Dreams.
From his first song at 16 to the wild success of his breakout album Pretty Boy, Dirty Boy, Maluma’s rise to fame plays like the stuff that dreams are made of. Toward the end of the film, the “Medellin” singer and his sister discuss his desire to give back with via The Art of Dreams Foundation, which encourages urban art.
Speaking at a gala for his foundation Maluma said, “Today, the very least I can do for the people who listen to my music, is to give back a drop in the bucket of what you've given my family and my career.”