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Karol G

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Karol G
Karol G in 2018
Karol G in 2018
Background information
Birth nameCarolina Giraldo Navarro
Born (1991-02-14) 14 February 1991 (age 30)
Medellín, Colombia
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Years active2007–present
LabelsUniversal Latin
Associated actsAnuel AA (2018–2021)

Carolina Giraldo Navarro (born 14 February 1991), known professionally as Karol G (stylized in all caps), is a Colombian singer and songwriter. She is predominantly described as a reggaeton and Latin trap artist, but has experimented with a variety of other genres including reggae and sertaneja. She is also noted for her prominent female presence in the reggaeton scene. In 2018, she won the Latin Grammy Award for Best New Artist, and has been nominated for several Billboard Latin Music Awards and Premios Lo Nuestro awards.

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 singer and rapper Bad Bunny "Ahora Me Llama" became her breakthrough hit, and was the lead single for her debut album Unstoppable, released in 2017. In late 2018, her song "Secreto" became a hit in Latin America as she and Anuel AA publicly confirmed their relationship in the music video.

In July 2019, she released "China" in collaboration with Anuel AA, J Balvin, Daddy Yankee, and Ozuna, 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 atmosphere in her work. Her song "Tusa" with Trinidadian-American rapper Nicki Minaj became an international success and was certified 28× Latin Platinum by the RIAA, staying on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart for 25 weeks. In 2020, Karol G received four nominations at the Latin Grammys.

Early life

Carolina Giraldo Navarro was born on February 14, 1991, in Medellin, Colombia, the middle child of three children.[1] At age fourteen, she appeared on the Colombian version of The X Factor.[1] A few years after her performance on the show, she obtained her first record contract with Flamingo Records (Colombia) & Diamond Music (Puerto Rico) and chose "Karol G" as her artistic name. She performed with J Balvin at a quinceañera party soon after.[1]

Musical career

2007–2016: Beginnings

In the following years, she recorded and released songs sporadically, including "En La Playa" in 2007, "Por Ti" in 2008, "Dime Que Si" in 2009 and "Mil Maneras" in 2010.[2] She studied music at the University of Antioquia and sang backup for other artists during her studies, including Reykon, recording the songs "Tu Juguete" in 2011 and "301" in 2012.[1] Shortly after, she traveled to Miami to meet with Universal Records, who declined to sign her, fearing that a woman would not be successful in the reggaeton genre.[3]

In response to Universal Music's decision, she and her father decided to promote her career independently by touring extensively across Colombia at colleges, clubs, and festivals. Karol G 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."[3] The increased publicity through these tours led to her 2013 collaboration with Nicky Jam on the song "Amor de Dos".[2] However, finding that her career was not progressing enough, Karol G moved to New York in 2014. Prompted by a subway advertisement, she took music business administration classes, which helped her learn about the industry and motivated her to further her career.[2] Her 2014 dancehall song "Ricos Besos" became a hit in Colombia.[1] In 2016, she signed with Universal Music Latino.[1] During the year, she released the songs "Casi Nada", "Hello" with then-rising star Ozuna, and "Muñeco de Lego". She made a song with rapper Pop Smoke.

2017–18: Breakthrough success and Unstoppable

Karol G in October 2018.

In January 2017, Karol G joined the reality talent show Pequeños Gigantes USA as a judge, offering advice to children 6–11 years of age who perform on the show.[4] In February she released the song "A Ella", a song inspired by real-life events. In May, her collaboration with Puerto Rican trap artist Bad Bunny, "Ahora Me Llama", became regarded as her breakthrough hit.[3][2][1] The video garnered more than 756 million views on YouTube and reached number 10 on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart.[5] 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."[6] 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".[1] "Ahora Me Llama" was listed on "Alt.Latino's Favorites: The Songs Of 2017" as one of the best Latin songs of 2017.[6]

"Ahora Me Llama" served as the lead single for her debut studio album, Unstoppable, although it contained the three aforementioned tracks, which was released in October 2017 and debuted at number two on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart.[7] Thom Jurek of Allmusic called Unstoppable "the first solid entry by a woman in the Latin trap movement".[8] In March 2018, the singer released the jungle-inspired music video for her single "Pineapple".[9] In that same month, she was announced as a finalist for the Billboard Latin Music Awards top female artist of the year.[9] In May 2018, she released "Mi Cama", which became a commercial success. This was followed by "Culpables", featuring Puerto Rican rapper Anuel AA.[2] "Culpables" peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot Latin songs, while the remix of "Mi Cama" featuring J Balvin and Nicky Jam peaked at number six on the same chart.[5]

2019–present: Ocean

Karol G in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic in 2019.

In January 2019, the singer released the single "Secreto" with Puerto Rican rapper Anuel AA confirming the romantic relationship between the two artists in the song's accompanying music video.[10] The single reached number 68 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number five on the US Hot Latin Songs charts.[11][12] 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.[13] She released the album Ocean on May 3, 2019. The album was inspired by a moment of relaxation she experienced at the beach on the Spanish island of Tenerife, and she traveled to the beaches of the Turks and Caicos Islands and Saint Martin to draw further inspiration for the album.[2] 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".[14]

In July 2019, Karol G collaborated with Anuel AA, Daddy Yankee, Ozuna, and J Balvin on the song "China". The song heavily samples Shaggy's 2000 single, "It Wasn't Me".[15] "China" debuted at number two on Billboard's Hot Latin Songs chart on the issue dated August 3, 2019, and topped both the Latin Digital Songs and Latin Streaming Songs charts with 1,000 downloads sold and 14.1 million streams.[15] "China" was included on the Rolling Stone list of the 10 Best Latin Music Videos of July.[16] Karol G premiered the song on American television on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on January 10, 2020.[17] The song reached number one on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart on November 23, 2019 and stayed on the chart for 25 weeks.[5]

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.[18] 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.[19] 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".[19]


Musical style

Karol G's music has been described as predominantly reggaeton and Latin trap.[1][2][3] 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 sertaneja.[2] Karol G cites the global appeal of singers Beyoncé, Selena, and Shakira as major influences in her work and the level of global recognition she hopes to achieve.[1] Karol G has a tattoo of her own face alongside those of Rihanna and Selena on her right forearm.[3] She has been influenced by a wide range of artists for her music, including the Backstreet Boys,[20] Thalía, Spice Girls, Jerry Rivera, The Bee Gees, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.[1]

Public image

Ecleen Luzmila Caraballo of Rolling Stone describes Karol G's style of dress as "feminine and sexy, yet sporty and tomboyish — but never [cutesy]".[1] 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."[2] 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."[21] 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.[3] 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."[2]

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.[22]

Personal life

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.[23] In January 2019, the couple confirmed their relationship.[13] On April 25, 2019, Karol G arrived at the Billboard Latin Music Awards wearing a diamond wedding ring, confirming the couple's engagement. The couple called it quits after nearly 1 year of engagement in March 2021.[23]

In July 2020, Karol G tested positive for COVID-19.[24][25]


Awards and nominations

Award Year Category Work Result Ref.
American Music Awards 2020 Favorite Female Artist - Latin Herself Nominated [26]
Favorite Song – Latin "Tusa" Won
Billboard Latin Music Awards 2018 Top Latin Albums Artist of the Year, Female Herself Nominated [27]
2019 New Artist of the Year Nominated [28]
Hot Latin Songs Artist of the Year, Female Nominated
Top Latin Albums Artist of the Year, Female Nominated
2020 Hot Latin Songs Artist of the Year Herself Won [29]
Female Top Latin Albums Artist of the Year Won
Airplay Song of the Year "China" Nominated
BreakTudo Awards 2020 Global Artist Herself Nominated [30]
Latin Artist Nominated
Collaboration of the Year "Tusa" Nominated
El Premio ASCAP 2019 Winning Song "Mi Cama" Won [31]
Heat Latin Music Awards 2019 Best Female Artist Herself Won [32]
Best Urban Artist Nominated
Best Video "Pineapple" Won
2020 Best Urban Artist Herself Won [33]
Best Video "Tusa" Won
La Musa Awards 2018 La Musa Elena Casals Award Herself Won [34]
Latin American Music Awards 2018 Favorite Artist – Female Herself Nominated [35]
2019 Artist of the Year Nominated [36]
Favorite Artist – Female Nominated
Latin Grammy Awards 2018 Best New Artist Herself Won [37]
Best Urban Song "Mi Cama" Nominated
2020 Best Urban Fusion/Performance "China" Nominated [38]
Record of the Year Nominated
"Tusa" Nominated
Song of the Year Nominated
LOS40 Music Awards 2020 Best Urban Act Herself Nominated [39]
Best Latin Song "Tusa" Won
Best Latin Video Won
MTV Europe Music Awards 2020 Best Video "Tusa" Nominated [40]
Best Collaboration Won
Best Latin Herself Won
Best Latin America Central Act Won
MTV Video Music Awards 2020 Best Collaboration "Tusa" Nominated [41]
Best Latin Nominated
"China" Nominated
NRJ Music Awards 2020 International Revelation of the Year Herself Nominated [42]
International Song of the Year "Tusa" Nominated
International Collaboration of the Year Nominated
Premios Juventud 2020 Couple or friends that appear on each other's feeds Anuel AA e Karol G Won [43]
Songs you listen to while stuck in traffic "China" Won
Best collaboration song Won
Artists that post with their pets Karol G y Anuel AA con Goku Won
Premios Lo Nuestro 2019 Female Urban Artist of the Year Herself Won [44]
Remix of the Year "Mi Mala (Remix)" Nominated
Video of the Year "Mi Cama (Remix)" Won
2021 Artist of the Year Herself Nominated [46]
Female Urban Artist of the Year Won
"Tusa" Song of the Year Won
Crossover Collaboration of the Year Nominated
Urban Song of the Year Nominated
Urban Collaboration of the Year Won
"Caramelo (Remix)" Remix of the Year Nominated
Premios Tu Música Urbana 2019 International Female Artist Herself Nominated [47]
International Artist Song "Mi Cama" Nominated
International Artist Video Nominated
"Créeme" Nominated
Collaboration of the Year "Culpables" Nominated
2020 Female Artist of the Year Herself Nominated [48]
Female Song of the Year "Ocean" Nominated
"Tusa" Nominated
Song of the Year "China" Nominated
Video of the Year Nominated
Collaboration of the Year Won
"Secreto" Nominated
Female Album of the Year Ocean Nominated


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  24. ^ Karol G says she’s feeling well after testing positive for coronavirus
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External links