“My father stopped talking to me for three months,” she recalled. “He was like, ‘No, you can’t do that. You are throwing away seven years of our hard work. I know who you are. I know we can get it. It’s hard, but when we get it, it’s going to be bigger than the rest.’”
An advertisement for a music-business conference in Boston caught her eye as she was riding buses in New York. On an impulse, she attended, and it was a turning point. “I know I love music and I do this for passion,” she said. “But the teaching at that conference was how the music can be a really big business, and how you can work like that.”
She returned to Colombia, enrolled to study music at the University of Antioquia, released songs independently and performed at every opportunity, eventually singing duets with established reggaeton stars like Nicky Jam. Her 2017 debut album, “Unstoppable,” included duets with Bad Bunny and Quavo (from Migos), and it brought her a 2018 Latin Grammy Award as best new artist. Her popularity has only grown since then, stoked by lusty songs like “Mi Cama” (“My Bed”) and “Punto G” (“G-Spot”). In Latin America, she headlines stadiums.
Her constant collaborator has been Daniel Oviedo, who records as Ovy on the Drums and has produced the vast majority of her songs. He tailors and refines reggaeton and other beats to suit her voice; he also strives to match her ambitions. “Karol’s mind is always going,” he said in a video chat from Los Angeles. “She always has an objective as to where the direction of the song should be, where the lyrics should go. She’s always thinking what’s the next move, the next step, the next accomplishment?”
On “Mañana Será Bonito,” Karol G worked with Finneas (Billie Eilish’s brother and collaborator), the Jamaican dancehall singer Sean Paul, the Bronx-born bachata singer Romeo Santos, the Dominican dembowsero Angel Dior, and her forerunner as a Colombian superstar, Shakira. She also embraces an elder generation of reggaeton with “Gatúbela” (“Catwoman”), a racy duet with Maldy, a Puerto Rican rapper from the duo Plan B, which released its first album in 2002.