What pop means changes depending on what angle you’re looking it from. It can be a descriptor of an audience size, indicating something that’s popular, or it can be a genre tag, specifying a sound. But for much of the last three decades, these two definitions have effectively been one and the same.
You know the sort: Katy Perry’s confetti cheer, Justin Timberlake’s feather-light chirps, Lady Gaga’s exorbitant theatre, Taylor Swift’s guileless guile. Music that strives for lustre, energy, trance and a phenomenon. Often an expression of pallor, too — that transverse between calmness and something one can move a hip or two to. A one-size-fits-all solution. For a time, in the 1980s, this kind of pop music — think of Michael Jackson and Madonna — was effectively monoculture, which is why the two meanings of pop have been so tightly tethered, and so difficult to disentangle.
But in the last couple of years, this framework has been almost completely dismantled, owing in large part to the widespread adoption of streaming and globalisation, nothing seems to be contained to a particular genre or a type, one cannot really tag it. What were once regarded merely as pop subgenres — K-pop, Latin trap, melodic hip-hop and more — have become the centre of the conversation today. Oh baby! It’s the breakout season of Maluma. In that hoopla of Latinx crowd that includes trap rapper Bad Bunny and the logo-loving singer J Balvin, Maluma, Latino Grammy award winner, stands out with his heavy swirling up-beat tracks, sensuality and risk-taking fashion smarts. Much like his gruff sound, the singer’s productions have its own distinct beat.
Qatar Airways (QA) and Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC), recently launched Qatar Live — a series of music concerts and festivals taking place in Doha. As part of Maluma’s 11:11 World Tour and Qatar Live, the Latino singer made his Qatar debut backed by his band and group of dancers at Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre.
Maluma has been making music since 2010, yet released in 2015, Pretty Boy, Dirty Boy is widely considered to be his breakthrough album. The singer went on to join Sony Music Latin in 2015 and has released three albums since. Every one of his albums has made it to the top 10 of the Billboard Latin charts. What’s more, he has worked on many featured projects with top artistes like the late XXXTentacion, Lil Pump, Shakira, and more recently Madonna, alongside whom he performed his collaborative single Medellín at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards. This isn’t the singer’s first world tour. In 2017, he sold over one million tickets for 105 shows bringing himself to be the top concert-selling Latin artist. Currently, the singer has in excess of 48 million Instagram followers, a total of 9 billion music video views, and more than 22.6 million subscribers on YouTube.
Futuristic theme charged with lasers, the concert was all about audiovisual effects and pyrotechnics presented in a way never seen before.
Maluma has swag. Have you ever seen how the Colombian singer swivels his hips? It’s like a slow-mo tornado. And his slightly overgrown facial hair is the right amount of manicured, yet still raucous. And his fashion! Maluma has attitude, Maluma has style. He likes his clothes bright and bold, which goes quite nicely with his bright and bold music, personality, and overall demeanour. Consider it one more reason to be a fan.
Maluma flaunted one of the most polarising menswear accessories out there while performing. On anyone else, the leather pants look would be deeply dorky, yet Maluma radiated swagger as he paired it with exotic animalier clash print shirt and golden jacket. His crisp printed shirt unbuttoned to reveal a roaring tiger tattoo on his chest and dangling gold ‘lock’ pendant necklace, as he salsa-danced to the music and opened the show with his fans’ ever favourite soundtrack Chantaje featuring Shakira. His wardrobe change was followed with basic cargo shorts, boots and a T. Off and on paired with a neon orange P-cap.
There wasn’t a beat out of place or a minute when fans weren’t sparky with hands in the air and swirling away movements beneath. A housefull of Latino music lovers and an absolute out-and-out way of welcoming winters in Doha.
n For the last instalment of Qatar Live performances, Maroon 5 is scheduled to perform at DECC today, which will be followed by Daydream Festival featuring DJ’s including Afrojack, Jonas Blue, Lost Frequencies, Mark Knight, Matt Sochon and Steff Da Campo at The Ritz-Carlton, Doha’s Island tomorrow.
ON SONG: Maluma, Latino singer, opening the concert with his fans’ ever favourite soundtrack Chantaje featuring Shakira.