Karol G's new album is "by far" her most personal yet. In an interview with ET's Denny Directo, the 30-year-old singer opens up about her third album, KG0516, which is a nod to the past and the "new opportunities" in her future.
While 2017's Unstoppable and 2019's Ocean were both labors of love, as Karol explains, KG0516 is the first album she's actually been involved with as a producer. She thought about "all the details from the beginning," including how many songs she wanted on the album (there are 16), and which composers and collaborators she wanted to work with.
"It's really important to me," she says. "I tried a lot to experiment with new vibes, with new sounds. It’s my first time collaborating on my own album as a producer, so it's like, new opportunities for me with the new album. I’m super excited to see what my people are going to think about it."
"I really wanted to experiment with new sounds, as we did with the country music, the country guitars and hip-hop music and the reggaeton," she describes. "And we travel there to the west."
Karol first showed the song to then-fiancé Anuel (the pair recently split after two years together), and "he started sining the chorus right away, at the moment." They continued to work on the track together, before someone suggested bringing Balvin on board as well.
"He jumped on the song just like, one week before the video," she reveals of Balvin. "I think it was a perfect combination. I believe in those things that happen in the last moment, and I think he puts a special thing in the song, so I love it the way it is."
"For me, it's like every song is an opportunity to bring something different to my people, and I really love to have that opportunity," she adds. "That's what I love to do with my music."
Karol's album title, KG0516, is meant to look like a flight number, but represents the day she signed her first contract: May 16, 2006. The singer, whose real name is Carolina Giraldo Navarro, appeared on the Colombian version of The X Factor when she was just 14, afterwhich she scored her first record contract, becoming "Karol G."
"Everybody’s going to enjoy this flight," she promises, "and I hope they enjoy this flight a lot."
Karol says she's grateful for all of her accomplishments "like if this was my first time," and that approach applies to the upcoming 2021 Latin American Music Awards, where she's tied with Balvin for the most nominations (they have nine each).
"I really enjoy everything that happens in my career," she expresses. "Like last year, 2020 was for my career, a really good moment. All the songs that I launched, the people really enjoyed them so much. People listened to my music and they heard me by myself, and [now] people were asking for a new collaboration."
Karol has yet to duet with her dream collaborator, Rihanna, though will continue to plead her case -- "RiRi, I want to collaborate with you!" she says to the camera in our interview. And for now, she's embracing her friends, family and the people around her.
"I've changed a lot of things in my life, in my mind, I think in my music, in my new album, so I'm super happy," she shares of the clarity she's experienced through quarantine. "I know there are a lot of people having hard really hard times with COVID, losing like people in families, so I feel very blessed because for me it was like a very good change."
And KG0516 is the product of that.
"It's incredible," Karol says. "This album means a lot to me. I don't know if it's going to be No. 1 in the charts, I don't really know, but in my heart it's like, No. 1. In my heart, it's like, a huge album, and I really hope the people enjoy it that way, because I worked so hard for it."
KG0516 is out now. See more on Karol in the video below.