The last time Maluma stepped foot on a stage was March 2020, right before COVID-19 shut down live shows. On Sept. 1 — 18 months since his last concert — he marked his grand return, kicking off the 30-date Papi Juancho tour, his most ambitious trek to date with an in-the-round or 360 format, which allows for more seating.
To capture his return to touring, Billboard spent 12 hours with the Colombian singer-songwriter backstage at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, Calif. 12 Hours With Maluma is part of Billboard’s recently-announced Facebook Watch series centered on Maluma, Anitta, Prince Royce and Mariah Angeliq, spotlighting the four Latin hitmakers during Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month.
“I’m here to represent my culture, I’m here to represent my country and, of course, the Latin culture. That’s why we’re here to celebrate this Latin month,” Maluma says in the video. “We’re a big family around the world, it doesn’t matter if you’re from Colombia or Venezuela, El Salvador, we’re all Latin and we have to support each other.”
The nearly 12-minute episode takes viewers backstage with Maluma between his last rehearsal and first concert. In between, the “Hawái” singer talks values, importance of family and his humble beginnings in his native Medellín, Colombia.
“I started singing because I wanted to help my family,” says Maluma, who at the age of 14 saw his family go through a financial crisis. “I wanted to help my family because I saw things were missing, like food. I was trying to resolve it. We, as Latin, we were raised like that, our priority will always be our families.”
Maluma, whose “Hawái” is up for song of the year at the Latin Grammys, continues his CMN-produced trek throughout the U.S. and Canada. “I wanna be that example that dreams do come true if you work hard,” adds Maluma. “Latin people around the country can connect with me because if you leave your country to pursue your dreams, it’s a hard thing to do but we’re all doing it. We’re going to work hard to represent our culture, our countries and it’s just the beginning.”
The four-part series will dig deep into the four artists’ stories about how their heritage and roots helped build a foundation for their music careers and how they’re shaping culture and building on generations of Latin influence across the globe. Anitta’s episode will premiere Oct. 13, while 12 Hours With Prince Royce will air Oct. 14 and Mariah Angeliq’s special will round out the series on Oct. 15 at 9am ET.
Billboard’s 12 Hours With… Facebook Watch series was executive produced by Eli Holzman and Aaron Saidman on behalf of The Intellectual Property Corporation, an Industrial Media Company, with showrunner and executive producer Rachelle Mendez. Learn more about Facebook’s Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations here.
Watch 12 Hours With Maluma below.