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Maluma is on top of the world and taking nothing for granted. The 26-year-old Latin heartthrob is the first ever solo male artist to cover Elle magazine. And while 2020 was a difficult year for many around the world, Maluma describes it as his "best year so far."
"Musically, artistically, and personally. I feel like I was reborn," the "Hawái" crooner notes. "I was talking the other day with my parents, and they were very happy because I’ve stayed a long time in Colombia, but they were also a little bit worried because they didn’t know what was going to happen with my work. My job is being on tour, but for me this has been very positive, being here in Colombia. I feel very connected again with myself."
Being back in his home country is also where his best and most trusted friends are. Even as a worldwide sensation, the singer admits it's "very hard" to make friends in the industry, and doesn't always know who to trust.
"I don’t really like having new friends,” Maluma says. “I try to make friends in the industry, but it is very hard. Sometimes I feel like they want to be my friends, but once I show them my back, they stab me. I prefer staying safe with my friends, where I always feel comfortable. When I didn’t have any money, they were there for me, inviting me to their house for lunch. They’re the ones who were laughing at me, and now they are enjoying my success. That’s life -- just being grateful for everything that has happened."
On celebrity he definitely counts as his friend is Jennifer Lopez, whom he co-stars in the upcoming movie Marry Me. The rom-com, which will be released in May, follows Lopez, a pop star, who, moments before marrying her rock star fiancé (played by Maluma) at Madison Square Garden, finds out he was cheating with her assistant and spontaneously picks a random math teacher (Owen Wilson) out of the crowd to marry instead.
"Jennifer, she’s not only a work partner -- I would say she is my friend. She is someone I admire, and she is someone I’ve followed since I was a little kid," he expresses. "So for me, being part of this movie was almost surreal. It was a big surprise when they called me, but I was ready for it."
He also looks up to other famous faces and previous collaborators like Shakira, Madonna and Ricky Martin on how to navigate fame and be a better person.
“I feel like the artists right now, the modern artists, are losing their spirituality, and that’s kind of sad,” he shares. “I don’t feel like they pray or meditate, and that’s why I feel connected with artists like Madonna, Shakira, and Jennifer. Sometimes people tell me that I’m an old soul because of that, but at the end of the day, you can be the biggest star in the world, but if you are not spiritual, you are empty inside.”
“With Ricky Martin, you just feel his aura is so blue, so clear," he adds.