Colombia captured the world's attention in the FIFA World Cup earlier this month when its national team nearly pulled off an incredible comeback against England. The Round of 16 games saw Colombia make a last minute goal, tying the score 1-1. The penalty shoot-out led to a loss, but Colombia continues winning around the globe in the Latin music scene. The Latin boom at the turn of the millennium saw a few stars from the South American country rise to the top. In the past decade, though, with reggaeton's second wave riding high, much of the music charts are filled with songs from Colombian artists. Colombia has become one of Latin America's new hit-making hubs. Here are 10 of the best music acts from the area:
Sky, also known by his full name as Sky Rompiendo El Bajo, is the only one on this list that's both an old and new artist. He released his first single "Karma," a synth-filled stunner, with J Balvin and Ozuna last month. Sky's also responsible for reggaeton music's revival this decade as the producer behind Balvin's biggest hits like "Ay Vamos" (Here We Go) and "Ginza." Recently, he's worked on smashes by Karol G and Sebastián Yatra. The sky's the limit for the bright mind keeping Latin music booming.
9. Carlos Vives
Native to Colombia is the traditional sounds of Vallenato music. One of the kings of the genre is local legend Carlos Vives, who has made a lasting career keeping the beloved sound true to form yet current and fresh. The most recent example of that magical ability is Vives' breezy hit from 2016, "Bicicleta" (Bicycle) with fellow Colombian superstar Shakira. The two made it a ride to remember with the addition of parcero Maluma on the irresistible remix.
8. Piso 21
Piso 21 is a quartet from Medellín, Colombia comprised of members Pablito, El Profe, Dim and El Llane. The four of them together have recorded Latin pop filled with the sweetest harmonies. The group's vocals have easily maneuvered emotional lows to hot-and-heavy highs. Piso 21's "Me Lllamas" (Call Me) remix with Maluma is pain and pleasure all rolled into the perfect collaboration. The guys got plenty of heart in their music.
A heartthrob born in Medellín, Sebastián Yatra, has been finding success by blending Latin pop with reggaeton music beats. His songs cover a variety of topics, but he's the quite the heartbreaker with the heartbreaking tunes. 2016's "Tracionera" (Traitor) saw Sebastián hitting heart-rendering highs and on the recent smash "Por Perro" (By Dog), he sings the blues beautifully while trying to escape that reality at the bottom of a bottle. It's easy to yield to Yatra's yearnings.
The youngest upstart on this list, 18-year-old Manuel Turizo, is also the most promising with his charming love songs. His brother Julián plays ukulele on them, making hits like "Una Lady Como Tú" (A Lady Like You) and "Esperándote" (Waiting For You) all the more refreshing. Manuel's deep rasp is also undeniable on sultrier cuts like Juan Magán's "Déjate Llevar" (Let Yourself Go). and Ozuna's "Vaina Loca" (Crazy Thing). The Turizos are taking over.
From making it this far in the list, Maluma's status at Latin music's go-to hitmaker is evident. Like Piso 21, Vives and Shakira, Ricky Martin, Thalía and Flo Rida have also hit up Maluma for sensuous guest verses. Maluma's got a rap flow that's just as flirty as when he is singing his heart out. If his features are pure fire then the solo songs are blazing bangers. Maluma did bad all by himself on last year's "Felices Los 4" (Happy All 4 of Us), a sexy ode to interchangeable lovers in a relationship.
4. Karol G
It was a man's world in reggaeton music, but Karol G is following in Ivy Queen's footsteps and finding a place for women in the genre. Karol can switch up from sweet songbird to Latin trap queen with ease, flexing like the guys on the subjects of love, sex and heartbreak. She's also broadening her horizons with outside-the-box features like on Moderatto's rock-infused "Cabellero" (Gentleman). Karol continues to shake things up with her kinky bedroom banger "Mi Cama" (My Bed).
Juanes started in the late '80s as the frontman for Ekhymosis and later went solo in 2000. He has kept his rock en español roots alive with meaningful songs and picturesque lyricism. 2002's "A Dios Le Pido" (I Beg to God) was a punchy call for peace while 2004's "La Camisa Negra" (The Black Shirt) was a knockout kiss-off and 2007's "Me Enamora" (I love) is still the loveliest of love songs. With guitar in hand, Juanes has shredded his way through an electric career.
2. J Balvin
J Balvin kicked off this past decade as one of the faces behind reggaeton's second wind and thanks to his global banger "Mi Gente" (My People) with Willy William, he's reaching even farther as the leader of the growing Latin music movement. Balvin stays ahead of the curve by experimenting with new sounds and collaborating with artists from around the world. His music always translates into an experience that breaks through borders and language barriers.
Since 1995's Pies Descalzos album, Shakira has been a Latin superstar, but her universal breakthrough came with 2002's English-language Laundry Service. She's the biggest crossover artist after Gloria Estefan and Selena, having helped Latin music permeate markets never before thought possible. Many of her Spanish songs have reached the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 chart like the top 40 hit "La Tortura" (The Torture) with Alejandro Sanz. In any language, Shakira is crushing it whenever, wherever.