Carolina Giraldo Navarro[a] (born 14 February 1991), known professionally as Karol G, is a Colombian singer. Considered one of the most influential reggaeton and urban pop artists,[2][3] she received several awards including a Grammy Award, five Latin Grammy Awards and four Billboard Music Awards. She was recognized with the Rulebreaker Award at the Billboard Women in Music, with the Spirit of Hope Award at the Billboard Latin Music Awards and her works broke five Guinness World Records.

ADOPTADAA
Karol G in 2023
Born
Carolina Giraldo Navarro

(1991-02-14) 14 February 1991 (age 33)
Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
Occupations
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Years active2006–present
Works
AwardsFull list
Musical career
Genres
Labels
(2023-present)
Websitekarolgmusic.com

Born and raised in Medellín, Giraldo launched her career as a teenager, appearing on the Colombian spinoff of The X Factor. She moved to New York City in 2014 to learn more about the music industry and signed to Universal Music Latino. Her collaboration with Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny, "Ahora Me Llama" became her breakthrough hit, and was the lead single for her debut album Unstoppable, released in 2017. Other popular tracks from the record include the female-empowerment anthem "A Ella", "Casi Nada", "Hello" (featuring Ozuna) and "Muñeco de Lego". In late 2018, her duet "Secreto" became a hit in Latin America, as she and Puerto Rican artist Anuel AA publicly confirmed their relationship via the music video. Also in 2018, she would collaborate with Argentine singer Tini on their song "Princesa". The same year she won the Latin Grammy Award for Best New Artist.

In July 2019, she released "China" in collaboration with Anuel AA, Daddy Yankee, Ozuna and J Balvin, which became her first music video with over one billion views on YouTube. In May 2019, she released the album Ocean, which served as a stylistic departure from Unstoppable, incorporating a more relaxed and less "pop" sound in her music, while also incorporating reggaetón influences. Popular singles from the album include the title track (later released as a remix with Jessie Reyez), as well as "Pineapple", "Punto G" and "Mi Cama", the latter reaching the top 25 of the U.S. Hot Latin Songs chart. Later that year, her song "Tusa" (with Trinidadian rapper Nicki Minaj) charted internationally, and was certified 28× Latin platinum by the RIAA, staying on the Hot Latin Songs chart for 25 weeks. In 2020, Karol G received four nominations at the Latin Grammy Awards. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic of that year, and into early 2021, Karol would release several successful new songs, including some of her most popular ("Ay, Dios Mío!", "Bichota" and "Location"), in the lead-up to her third album, KG0516, which was released in spring of that year, topping the U.S. Latin albums chart.

In early 2023, Karol G achieved her highest-charting single on the mainstream U.S. Billboard Hot 100 with the song "TQG", a collaboration with fellow Colombian singer-songwriter Shakira, reaching the No. 7 position. Following the success of "TQG", Karol G released her much-anticipated fourth album, Mañana Será Bonito, in the spring of 2023; the record was immediately recognized as the first-ever Spanish-language album (by a female artist) to debut at No. 1 on the (primarily English-language) U.S. Billboard 200.[4] In early 2024, she received her first Grammy Award, at the 66th annual ceremony, for the recently created Música Urbana Album category.

Early life edit

Carolina Giraldo Navarro was born on 14 February 1991 in Medellín, the youngest child of three children.[5] At age 14, she appeared on El Factor X.[5] Giraldo posted covers of songs by Alicia Keys and Lauryn Hill on YouTube, in hopes of being discovered like Justin Bieber.[6] Ultimately, she obtained her first record contract with Flamingo Records (Colombia) and Diamond Music (Puerto Rico) and chose "Karol G" as her artistic name. She performed with J Balvin at a quinceañera party soon after.[5]

Musical career edit

2007–2016: Beginnings edit

 
Karol G in 2016

In the following years, she recorded and released songs sporadically, including "En la Playa" (On the Beach) in 2007, "Por Ti" (For You) in 2008, "Dime Que Sí" (Tell Me Yes) in 2009 and "Mil Maneras" (A Thousand Ways) in 2010.[7] She studied music at the University of Antioquia and sang backup for other artists during her studies, including Reykon, recording the songs "Tu Juguete" (Your Toy) in 2011 and "301" in 2012.[5] Shortly after, she traveled to Miami to meet with Universal Records, who declined to sign her at the time, insinuating that a woman would not be successful in the reggaetón genre.[8]

In response to Universal Music's rejection, Karol and her father decided to promote her career independently, touring domestically across Colombia at colleges, clubs, and festivals. Karol recalled, "I always said that if we'd made money per miles, we'd be millionaires. It was a long process... and because of it, I can truly enjoy what's happening now."[8] The increased publicity through these tours led to her 2013 collaboration with Nicky Jam on the song "Amor de Dos" (The Love of Two).[7]

However, finding that her music career was not progressing fast enough in South America, a disillusioned Karol moved to New York in 2014 to work and stay with her aunt. Feeling somewhat lost over her lack of success at the time, she later said that when taking the NYC Subway each day, to and from work, she would see various advertisements offering educational courses and certifications for the music business. Taking this as a sign, Karol eventually decided to enroll in music business administration classes. The decision helped reinvigorate her passion for music, motivating her to continue furthering her career.[7] Her 2014 dancehall song "Ricos Besos" (Sweet Kisses) became a hit in Colombia.[5] In 2016, she signed with Universal Music Latino.[5] During that year, she released the singles "Casi Nada" (Almost Nothing), "Hello" with then-rising star Ozuna, and "Muñeco de Lego" (Lego Doll) as lead-ups to her album release.

2017–2018: Breakthrough success and Unstoppable edit

 
Karol G in 2018

In January 2017, Karol G joined the reality talent show Pequeños Gigantes USA (Little Giants) as a judge, offering advice to children 6–11 years of age who performed on the show.[9] In February, she released the breakup song "A Ella" (To Her), a song inspired by real-life events. In May, her collaboration with Puerto Rican trap artist Bad Bunny "Ahora Me Llama" (Now He Calls Me) became regarded as her breakthrough hit.[8][7][5] The video garnered more than one billion views on YouTube and reached #10 on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart.[10][11] The song was described by Marty Preciado of NPR as a "bass-heavy, unapologetic trap anthem to the power of femininity, soiled in hi-hats and heavy sub-bass [that] challenges hegemonic masculinity, singing about respect, love and sex-positive decisions."[12] According to Ecleen Luzmila Caraballo, of Rolling Stone, "it was then that Giraldo joined the increasingly-global pop urbano wave and established herself as one of its most standout acts".[5] "Ahora Me Llama" was listed on "Alt. Latino's Favorites: The Songs of 2017" as one of the best Latin songs of 2017.[12]

"Ahora Me Llama" served as the main single (including a remix featuring Quavo from Migos) for her debut studio album, Unstoppable; the record also contained the three aforementioned singles, and was released in October 2017, debuting at #2 on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart.[13] Thom Jurek of AllMusic called Unstoppable "the first solid entry by a woman in the Latin trap movement".[14] In March 2018, the singer released the jungle-inspired music video for her single "Pineapple".[15] In that same month, she was announced as a nominee for the Billboard Latin Music Awards' Top Female Artist of the Year.[15]

On 6 April 2018, Karol G collaborated with Argentine singer and songwriter Tini on the song "Princesa", from Tini's second studio album Quiero Volver.[16][17][18]

In May 2018, she released "Mi Cama" (My Bed), which became a commercial success. This was followed by "Culpables" (Guilty Ones), featuring Puerto Rican rapper (and eventual partner) Anuel AA.[7] "Culpables" peaked at #8 on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart, and a remix of "Mi Cama", featuring her early collaborators J Balvin and Nicky Jam, peaked at #6 on the same chart.[10]

2019–2021: Ocean and KG0516 edit

 
Karol G in 2019

In January 2019, the singer released the single "Secreto" (Secret) with Puerto Rican rapper Anuel AA; the song's accompanying music video confirmed the rumored romantic relationship between the two artists.[19] The single reached #68 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #5 on the US Hot Latin Songs charts.[20][21] The song was inspired by the period of time in which Anuel AA and Karol G were dating but had not yet publicly discussed their relationship. The video's "power couple" aesthetic garnered comparisons to Beyoncé and Jay-Z, as well as Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony.[22] Karol released the album Ocean on May 3, 2019. The album was inspired by a moment of peace and relaxation she experienced at the beach on the Spanish Canary Island of Tenerife; she traveled to the beaches of the Turks and Caicos Islands, as well as Saint Martin, to draw further inspiration for the album.[7] Elias Leight of Rolling Stone reviewed the album by stating, "The power of Ocean is somewhat diminished by the fact that a third of these songs are already out" but opined that "the remaining tracks are impressively varied".[23]

In July 2019, Karol G collaborated with Anuel AA, Daddy Yankee, Ozuna and J Balvin for the song "China". The song samples, and is based on, singer Shaggy's 2000 hit, "It Wasn't Me".[24] "China" debuted at #2 on Billboard's Hot Latin Songs chart on the issue dated 3 August 2019, and topped both the Latin Digital Songs and Latin Streaming Songs charts with 1,000 downloads sold and 14.1 million streams.[24] "China" was included on the Rolling Stone list of the 10 Best Latin Music Videos of July.[25] Karol G premiered the song on American television on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on 10 January 2020.[26] The song reached #1 on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart on 23 November 2019 and stayed on the chart for 25 weeks.[10] Karol G released "Tusa", the first single from her album KG0516, on 7 November 2019. Tusa, a reggaeton song featuring Nicki Minaj, became a commercial success, eventually being nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year at the 21st Annual Latin Grammy Awards.[27]

In April 2020, Karol G released the single and video for "Follow" with Anuel AA, recording its entirety while in quarantine in Miami due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[28] She also collaborated with the Jonas Brothers on the "flirtatious" song "X" which first appeared in the end credits of the group's documentary film Happiness Continues.[29] Karol G and the Jonas Brothers filmed the song's accompanying music video on their iPhones, using the combined footage as a "clever way to get around the obvious challenge of trying to film a music video during the COVID-19 crisis".[29] In October, "Bichota" was released as the album's official lead single, becoming viral online.[30]

On 17 March 2021, Karol G announced the release of her upcoming album as well as its release date and cover art through a half-minute video.[31][32] The tracklist was announced on 22 March,[33] and on 26 March, KG0516 was released. Karol G released "Sejodioto" on 21 September 2021. The song became a commercial success and was nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. In October 2021, Karol G teamed up with Smirnoff for their "Sabor for the People" campaign. As part of the deal, her Bichota Tour was presented by Smirnoff.[34]

2021–present: Mañana Será Bonito edit

On 14 February 2022, Karol G and Crocs announced a partnership by unveiling two different shoe silhouettes.[35] In April 2022, "Provenza" was released as the lead single of the then unannounced album, Mañana Será Bonito, becoming viral online. The title refers to a neighborhood of Medellín called Provenza.[36] In August 2022 Karol G released "Gatúbela" alongside Puerto Rican rapper Maldy from Reggaeton duo Plan B. The song features a beat characteristic of old-school, 2000s reggaetón, with a dembow rhythm. Its music video was initially banned online in certain countries for being sexually provocative, though it was later made available as no actual nudity is seen. The video also takes some inspiration from older horror movies (as her prowling cat-woman character can be seen covered in blood at the end), and is the first to show off Karol G's dyed red hair.[37][38][39][40][41]

On 19 February 2023, Karol G was among the headlining artists at the famous Viña del Mar International Song Festival in Viña del Mar/Valparaíso, Chile, where she performed a live-streamed show for over 15,000 fans.[42] On 24 February, Karol G's album Mañana Será Bonito was released,[43] alongside the collaboration "TQG" with Shakira. The album peaked at number one on the Billboard 200, becoming the first-ever Spanish-language album by a female artist to debut at No. 1, while the collaboration achieved her highest-charting single on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at seven. The project garnered seven nominations at the 24th Annual Latin Grammy Awards, winning three awards, including Album of the Year and Best Urban Music Album, while "TQG" won for Best Urban Fusion/Performance.[44] At the upcoming 66th Annual Grammy Awards the album received a nomination for Best Música Urbana Album.[45]

In June 2023, Karol G signed with Interscope Records.[46][47] On 2 June 2023 Karol G released "Watati", a promotional single from Barbie the Album which featured the Panamanian reggaeton artist Aldo Ranks.[48] The music video was released on 15 June 2023.[49] Karol G released a song called "S91" on 13 July 2023, along with a music video directed by Pedro Artola.[50] On 11 August 2023 Karol G released a companion mixtape to Mañana Será Bonito, called Mañana Será Bonito (Bichota Season). It includes lead single "S91" and a second single titled "Mi Ex Tenía Razón" released on the same day as its parent mixtape. The album includes collaborations with Peso Pluma, Kali Uchis, and Tiësto, among others.[51]

In 2024, she appeared in a recurring role in the Netflix miniseries Griselda, starring Sofía Vergara.[52]

Artistry edit

Musical style edit

Karol G's music has been described as predominantly reggaeton and Latin trap.[5][7][8] However, she has experimented with a variety of other genres in her work. Her album Ocean features a wide range of stylistic experimentation. She collaborated with Brazilian duo Simone & Simaria on the Spanish/Portuguese song "La Vida Continuó", which contains influences from the genre of sertanejo.[7] Karol G cites the global appeal of singers Rihanna, Beyoncé, Selena Quintanilla and Shakira as major influences in her work and the level of global recognition she hopes to achieve, with Rihanna being a "dream" collaboration.[5] Karol G has a tattoo of portraits of Rihanna and Quintanilla, along with her own face, on her right forearm.[8] Additional influences include Daddy Yankee, Maluma, Rosalía, Gloria Trevi, Backstreet Boys,[53] Christina Aguilera,[54] Ivy Queen,[55] Anahí,[56] Thalía, Spice Girls, Jerry Rivera, Bee Gees, and Red Hot Chili Peppers.[5]

Public image edit

Ecleen Luzmila Caraballo of Rolling Stone describes Karol G's style of dress as "feminine and sexy, yet sporty and tomboyish — but never [cutesy]".[5] Gary Suarez of Vice notes that in her music videos, "she exudes a sex positivity that reflects a powerful diva image front and center, rather than the eye candy tropes often found in urbano visuals."[7] Karol G has a large LGBT following, and the singer expressed admiration for her gay fans by explaining, "I love people who can go out into the world and be fearless...That's something I admire very much from that community. They have a beautiful energy."[55] She declined to record "Sin Pijama" with Becky G, which would become a collaboration with Natti Natasha and be a hit, because of a lyric about smoking marijuana in the song. Karol G, who does not smoke marijuana, felt that the song did not represent her true lifestyle.[8] For her album Ocean, Karol G moved away from the polished image of the Unstoppable album cover, with the artist explaining, "I did the picture with no makeup, super natural. Because that's the way I want people to listen to my music now."[7]

In 2020, Karol G's tweet about her dog's "perfect" color and citing it as an example of white and black looking beautiful together sparked controversy. She later admitted to have acted in "an ignorant way" at a time when Black Lives Matter had gripped America in 2020. Karol G also admitted to have "lost a lot of opportunities" in her interview with The Guardian.[57]

Personal life edit

Karol G met Puerto Rican rapper Anuel AA in August 2018 on the set of the music video for their song "Culpables", a month after his release from prison.[58] In January 2019, the couple confirmed their relationship.[22] On 25 April 2019, Karol G arrived at the Billboard Latin Music Awards wearing a diamond wedding ring, confirming the couple's engagement.[58] On 20 April 2021, Anuel AA confirmed that he and Karol G had ended their relationship.[59]

Discography edit

Studio albums

Tours edit

Headlining

Promotional

  • Girl Power Tour (2017)

Co-headlining

Awards and nominations edit

Karol G has received several awards and nominations including five Latin Grammy Awards (including Album of the Year), one Grammy Awards, four Billboard Music Awards, three MTV Europe Music Awards, one MTV Video Music Award, one American Music Award and ten Lo Nuestro Awards, among others.

Notes edit

  1. ^ In this Spanish name, the first or paternal surname is Giraldo and the second or maternal family name is Navarro.

References edit

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External links edit