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Karol G is cruising toward a brighter tomorrow with her new album Mañana Será Bonito. After having conquered the reggaeton music scene, the Colombian singer is flexing her Latin pop star appeal with collaborators like Shakira, Sean Paul, and Romeo Santos.
With Karol G’s last album, 2020’s KG0516, she created her empowering “Bichota” persona to make her mark in the male-dominated reggaeton genre. Thanks to that “woman boss” spirit, Karol G had her breakthrough moment. Last year, she embarked on the Strip Love Tour, where she sold out arenas across the US. Karol G also scored the global hits “Provenza” and “Mamiii” with Becky G that led to her being named the most-streamed female Latin artist on Spotify in 2022.
Despite always trying to upkeep her tough “Bichota” exterior, in new album, Karol G reveals that she went through a “dark moment” at the height of her success. Mañana Será Bonito, which translates to “Tomorrow Will Be Beautiful” in English, allowed her to channel her emotions into a cathartic LP. She has come out on the other side smiling and wanting to transmit that feel-good vibe to her fans.
“There are songs for everyone,” Karol G said about her album. “There’s a song for people in love, if you have a broken heart, if you’re feeling crazy, or if you want to party with perreo. With everything that’s happening, I want to enjoy the present with my music and remember that tomorrow everything will be great. Tomorrow will be beautiful.”
Over Zoom, Karol G talked with Uproxx about her most personal LP, fulfilling her dream of working with Shakira, and what’s coming next in our latest Q&A.
Your first album, 2018’s Unstoppable, was stamped with the message #GirlPower. How do you feel to have proudly represented that in the reggaeton music scene?
That #GirlPower was the sign that I put for myself to be like, “Hey, you’re going to need this to be somebody in this industry because it’s going to be hard.” But now is when I really realize what girl power is, and it became the “Bichota” power. It’s been a process. That strength has been something I’ve been earning with experience, with my music, and with my work. It’s not something that I was born with. It was born in the moment when I told myself, “This is what I want to do and I don’t care.” But I’ve withstood a lot of blows and things like that, and that’s what really made me the woman with girl power that I am today.
In addition to empowering women with your music, you also have a big LGBTQ+ fan base. How do you feel to see your music connecting with queer people as well?
I feel like it’s something that came very naturally. My best friend, his name is Daiky [Gamboa], and he’s gay. He’s taught me a lot. Let’s say that he’s put me into a lot of different worlds that I feel a part of now. From him I learned about RuPaul and his show Drag Race, which I love and I’ve watched all of it thanks to him. I feel like having [Daiky] by my side has been very important for me to maintain that inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community. Above all, to be able to support them and inspire them, it makes me so happy. It makes me happy that they feel happy with my music and that they feel represented in a way with what I do. They have a love that’s very loyal and devoted. As an artist, it’s a connection that’s become very personal for me, so I’m very grateful to count on having the LGBTQ+ community by my side.
Why did you decide to name your new album Mañana Será Bonito?
It’s a very personal album. It was made at a moment in my life where there were incredible things happening, but I was experiencing internal turmoil and destruction that was very strong and very strange for me. I had a very dark moment in my life where the only thing I could do was turn to my family and my friends. I understood after that life wanted to show me that what I should value the most is having my family and my friends by my side. That was a very hard and difficult process to go through. I was disappointed by what was happening to me. It was a blow in many ways to my personal life. I always have a phrase that I repeat to myself when things are going wrong: “It doesn’t matter. We’re going to get through this. Tomorrow will be another day. Tomorrow will be beautiful. Tomorrow is going to be great.”
I started this album writing very dark songs. Very sad songs. Talking literally about all of the sadness that I had while trying to be strong in front of the world because I didn’t want people to see that vulnerable side of myself. From one moment to the next, I wrote songs that were happier. I could write songs about love again finally. I was very hard on myself during that process, having that “Bichota” brand where I couldn’t feel bad or sad. I always had to be strong. I had to recognize that I can be very strong being “La Bichota,” but I’m also human and I get hurt too.
Shakira previously collaborated with Beyoncé and Rihanna and now she’s collaborating with you in “TQG (Te Quedó Grande).” What do you think about that?
That sounds super crazy! I realized that when I was with her filming the music video because I didn’t remember that the only two girls she recorded with were Beyoncé and Rihanna. And then years later with Karol G! I was like, “Oh my God! This is not just any other singer.” She’s a legend. She is someone who has made the name of our country [Colombia] global. I was very nervous to shoot this video because I really wanted to do my best to push myself to the limit and be someone that she could feel proud to collaborate with. To study the choreography with her, to learn it with her, and have that closeness with her because of this song. It’s not a normal collaboration because everything about this is above and beyond. From the meaning of the song’s lyrics, the meaning and feeling of the video, it’s extremely special. I believe this is going to be the next level in female collaborations.
What was Shakira like in person when you were shooting the video?
She was very sweet! All the photos we have together, we are literally laughing. There was a lot of pressure days before to shoot this video. I was super afraid of how the vibe and energy would be like, but when we were on set, it was incredible. We had a great time. We helped each other a lot. We had a lot of admiration for each other. When she was filming, I was there. When I was filming, she was there. We were cheering each other on. Everything has been special.
Another big artist you worked with on this album was Romeo Santos. What was the experience like working on “X Si Volvemos” with him?
If you’ve heard Romeo Santos’ first reggaeton songs, they were, as he says, “So nasty!” Those songs didn’t have any filters in saying things. They were very nonchalant talking about sexuality and intimacy. One day I was hearing “Noche De Sexo” by him, and I thought, “He’s the person that I need for my song!” I called him and I showed him the song. He loved the song. He recorded the song. I believe that’s going to be one of people’s favorite songs. I like having him on the song because I feel like putting Romeo on it is like bringing back that “nasty” old school reggaeton.
You also collaborated with Sean Paul in “Kármika.” How did that song come together?
I met Sean Paul like 4 or 5 years ago in Jamaica. I have the pleasure of saying that I got to know Sean Paul in Jamaica at his home. I got acquainted with his studio and we had always said that we were going to collaborate. I had that song “Kármika.” I don’t know why the song sounded good to me to think that he would be great on it. I invited him to the song.
I’m a big fan of urbano music by women. I really like the women in the genre. I’m always looking out for new artists who are coming up and that made me a big fan of Bad Gyal. I saw an interview where she said one of her biggest dreams was to record with Sean Paul. I had this song with Sean Paul and I thought she could fit well on it. It was a moment for me where I could complete a checklist of goals. Sean Paul. Check! A song with Bad Gyal that I also wanted to do. Check! Fulfill Bad Gyal’s dream of recording with Sean Paul. Check! It’s a song that means a lot to me. She went crazy when I said that we would record the song with Sean Paul, that it would be the three of us.
What was the experience like to explore the dembow genre with Angel Dior in “Ojos Ferrari”?
This song was born in a moment when I was super single. I was like, “I want to party! I want to drink!” When we made the song, it gave me a vibe of going to the Dominican Republic to dance to this song. I wanted to put an artist from there on this song and dance. I’m crazy about Angel Dior. I like the music of the Dominican Republic a lot. I really like the artists from there who I believe are making incredible music. Angel Dior, I don’t know why in that moment, I was connected with him. I sent him the song and he recorded it, and I think it came out spectacularly.
What do you want accomplish next?
This year, I want to take things more easy. The last two years I was touring and making music by the ton to make this album. I didn’t have an obligation to make this album. I wanted people to have new music from me. I want my music to accompany people in any moment that they’re going through. Making this album helped me get through a lot of things. This year, I want to dedicate myself to other things, obviously connected to what I do. I want to study more. I want to learn more. I want to evolve as a woman in other aspects of my life. Let’s see what happens. I’m going with the flow.
Does that mean you’re taking a break from touring this year?
We’re doing three shows at the Coliseo in Puerto Rico [in March]. That’s like the opening to a tour of stadiums this year, starting with Puerto Rico. I feel like I need to take a pause. An intention of mine is take this opportunity to give my fans the best of me on my next tour. Something that they’ve never seen before. Different things. Next-level things. This year, I have like 10 shows all year. The tour will definitely be in 2024.
Mañana Será Bonito is out now via Universal Music Latino. Listen to it here.