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Camilo: “I am sent by God to make music”


Thursday, March 25, 2021 – 01:30

PHOTO: JAVI MARTÍNEZ

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Camilo. Medellín, Colombia, 1994. After becoming a global phenomenon in 2020, he released an album, My hands. Is the kind face of Latin urban music, without exhibitionism or pose. In Rich life, his greatest success, he drank beer and did not have a peso, now already …

After the huge success of the last year, a little rich life you can already lead.
A little, a little … It was a big surprise, really. I do what I do for love: for the love of writing, for the love of my songs and for sharing what I believe. But the truth is that the magnitude of the impact of what I am doing is something that I had neither calculated nor even dreamed of. My ambitions were not going that way. It has taken me by surprise, a positive surprise with beautiful things that come from the hand of success, but surprise, after all.
Does success change your life as much as we think from the outside?
Yes, it changes radically. Much and everything. Along with success there are also many expectations, the distribution of your time changes a lot, you have a lot of eyes on you, even the way you create is different. When you approach your guitar, there is no longer the possibility that that song will only be known to me, but you have the pressure that there are millions of people from different continents who are going to give their opinion. The real change is that, something almost intangible, rather than having more money or buying a car.
I have read that you feel like an instrument sent by God. That is a lot of responsibility.
Well, I don’t know if as much as a whole instrument, but a little cable, one sent by God to make music. But it is the opposite, this instead of putting on weight takes it away, because it reminds me that I am a reflection of something that does not belong to me. Actually, this is the only thing that truly lightens the burden of this success: remembering who is truly the source of what I am sharing, which is God and not me. If the reason you do what you do is that you need to be number one and the greatest of all, that is incredible pressure. In my case, I remember that I am here used by something bigger than me and I realize that it does not matter if 15 million or 15 million hear you.
As a child you participated in television talent shows. Pure vocation or vision of the future?
At first it was just a matter of enjoyment. I knew singing was what I wanted to do, but I hadn’t made the decision because they made me see it as a risky leap that I could depend on for the rest of my life. The system is designed so that you do not get out of the lane, so that you have a job that you do not like, so that you buy things that you do not need and to make you believe that happiness is what they sell. However, there is also the possibility that you do what you want and what your heart feels, what happens is that this route is painted not as a gift, but as a risk. Are you going to be a musician? No. You have to work on something that you don’t like and that will give you money. Luckily, I had a family that encouraged me: “If this is what vibrates you and that is the happiness that your guitar is giving you, go after it.” If it weren’t because my parents told me that, I don’t know if I would have been so brave, really.
Once you made up your mind, did you ever see it as a mistake, not even when you weren’t quite kicking off your career?
No. He had to choose between two risks. The first is that it goes like your ass: that you never make money with what you do, that you are hungry, that you are rejected and that nobody likes what you do. The second is that you don’t do what your heart is telling you and spend the rest of your life wondering what the hell would have happened if you had been braver. With the first you lose money, with the second you lose your life and your spirit. I chose to risk the first, because the second is not worth it.
Latin American music reigns supreme in the world after decades of being despised.
Yes, I feel that way and I feel very fortunate that it is just happening now, which is an extremely fruitful and fertile moment for Latin music. We are not 14 cats: we are a giant block. The Latino community is the second source of streaming worldwide, not far from the first and growing. We always think that the outside, the Anglo-Saxon, is much more cool than ours. For some reason, for Latinos, foreigners are always cooler than us. And no, it is not. That paradigm is changing, we are proud and now they are looking for us to collaborate, we have finally stopped asking for forgiveness for being Latino. That paradigm shift has impacted the entire world and fills me with pride.
Are the media late to what happens in music? Why do they call it reggaeton when they mean pop?
Yes, one hundred percent. Now everything is going so fast and every time the new generations start younger, that it is difficult for the media to keep up. The kids go at a different speed. When you finally get used to it and assimilate a new trend, a new sound, it is already out of fashion. I love what is happening, but it is difficult to follow from the outside.
Let’s talk about labels. The one that has fallen to you is that of the good boy of reggaeton and Latin urban music.
Labels are always conditioned by the opinion of whoever puts them. I’m not like a good boy, I’m like Camilo, I’m just like that. I don’t want to be any better or worse than I am. Just be me. I am proud of the way I am and do not want to disguise myself as someone else. I can’t think of the words that others come up with, I think of mine, my melodies, and I dress the way I do. I’m not a good kid, I just try to be the best version of myself and do the best I can with what I have.
But it is clear that your lyrics do not respond to the stereotype of machismo, money and ego.
It is true, but I do not write with the intention of avoiding these topics or setting an example with my lyrics. In fact, at home I am singing songs that do use those words all the time, what happens is that they do not occur to me. I am a celebrator of the honesty and identity of each one. I love when C. Tangana says the word “fuck” and it sounds so natural to him, but it doesn’t come out to me and if he said it it would sound ridiculous and impossive. But that’s not why I think his lyrics should be more like mine, at all.
So far you have openly shown your intimacy with Evaluna, your wife. Are you worried, as your fame grows, having to separate person and character?
Opening that door and letting so many people into the house has its costs and will continue to have them, for sure. But it is not in my plans to separate character from person, in any way. What’s more, my effort is always trying to break down that wall that divides my personal life from my artistic life. I tear it down at any cost because my personal life is my source of inspiration.
What do you want to do for a living when you grow up?
Thinking about the future gives me terrible anxiety because I can no longer do it without having to include a lot of factors. What do I expect from my life? What do I expect from my music? What do I expect from the impact of my music on others? What do I expect from sales? What does my team expect from me? So I try that my ambitions are of state of conscience and not of achievements: I know how I want to feel in the future. I want to have free time and enjoy in a calm way, with peace and as a family whatever is coming up. What the hell is that? One child, two, seven, nine or 14; play in a stadium, in a small theater, in a bar or for anyone; write 14 albums or just two more … I don’t know, but I know that I want to continue having the illusion that I have now and that it does not turn off.

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