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Colombia's Karol G is a best-selling, chart-topping, award-winning vocalist known for her soulful mix of reggaeton, pop, and dance-oriented R&B. Her many collaborative singles appearances with other urbano stars including Nicky Jam, Anuel AA, Bad Bunny, J Balvin, Maluma, and Pitbull, regularly placed inside the Top 100, while their accompanying videos garnered hundreds of millions of views. Though she issued her first single at 16 in 2007, she struggled for the next decade establishing herself in reggaeton because it was a male-dominated genre. It took ten years, more than a billion YouTube views, and hundreds of millions of music streams before she could release her debut LP, Unstoppable, in 2017. Two years later, her profile rose to the level of a bona fide star thanks to chart-topping singles such as "Tusa" with Nicki Minaj, "China" with Anuel AA, Daddy Yankee, Ozuna, and J Balvin, and "Ocean," the title track from her number 22 sophomore long-player. In 2020 Karol G was a nearly constant presence on the charts with many collaborations -- including "Enjoy Yourself" with Pop Smoke and "Follow" with Anuel AA -- and solo singles such as "Ay, Dios Mío!" and "Bichota." In March 2021, she issued her third long-player, KG0516.
Born Carolina Giraldo Rivera in Medellin, Colombia in 1991, Karol G was interested in music from a young age, influenced by her father, a working musician. After high school, she studied music at University of Antioquia. Her first break came in 2010 when she competed on Colombia's version of The X Factor, El Factor X. Two years later, her profile was raised even higher after duetting with Colombian reggaeton singer Reykon on the single "301." In 2013, Karol G released her first solo single, "Amor de Dos," featuring Nicky Jam. Several more well-received singles followed including "Ricos Besos," "Manyana," and "Ya No Te Creo." In 2016, she delivered the Daniel Echavarria-produced single "Casi Nada." The following year, "Ahora Me Llama," a collaborative single with Bad Bunny, became a hit. It was featured on her debut full-length, Unstoppable, which was released in October 2017, and peaked at number two on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart.
She returned in early 2018 with the saucy single "Mi Cama." Another single, "Punto G," followed in 2019 and took home the year's award for Best Song at the Premio ASCAP ceremony and was nominated for three Billboard Latin Music Awards. On April 1, 2020, Karol G and Anuel AA released the collaborative single and video "Follow." Recorded while the pair quarantined in Miami, the video rang up 20 million views in its first four days. Another song, "Ay, Dios Mío!," arrived in July 2020 and reached number five on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart, while its video garnered more than 400 million views. She also collaborated with the Jonas Brothers track "X." It debuted during the closing credits of the group's documentary film Happiness Continues. Karol G and the Jonas Brothers filmed the music video on their individual iPhones, then combined the footage to offer an innovative approach to music making videos during the pandemic.
Later that year, she joined Pop Smoke to collaborate on his Top 40 hit "Enjoy Yourself." Her single, "Ay, Dios Mío!" charted in more than a dozen countries though not in the U.S. Its music video, however, registered more than 400 million views. She collaborated with Ozuna and Myke Towers on the number three "Carmelo," and in December released the anthemic "Bichota." It too peaked, at number three on the Hot Latin Songs chart, while its video registered nearly 700 million views.
On February 2, 2021 just 16 days before her 30th birthday on Valentine's Day, Karol G released "Location" featuring Anuel AA and J Balvin. Its video rang up more than 130 million views during its first month of release, while it reached number five at Latin Songs. Her third album, the Grammy-nominated KG0516 (titled for the date she signed her first record deal) was released in late March. The 16-track set was co-produced with Ovy on the Drums. While it included her Latin Grammy-nominated "Tusa" with Nicki Minaj, as well as most of the singles from the previous year, much of the recording included new music comprised of six solo performances and ten collaborations with artists including Mariah Angeliq ("El Makinon"), Ozuna ("Odisea"), Nathy Peluso ("Gato Malo"), Yandar & Yostin ("Sola Es Mejor"), and Ludacris and Emilee ("Beautiful Boy"). With KG0516, Karol G became the first female Latin artist to deliver a Spanish-language album that simultaneously entered the Global streaming and Top Latin Albums industry charts at number one. The video for "El Makinon" registered 28 million views in three days. ~ Matt Collar