Colombian superstar Maluma bid a heartfelt farewell to his musical alter ego, Papi Juancho, on New Year’s Eve 2022. The persona, created during the coronavirus pandemic, left a significant mark on his discography. Taking to Instagram, he wrote, “Fue un placer,” or “It was a pleasure.” This symbolic departure was coupled with a tantalizing announcement—a new era was on the horizon: Don Juan, set to debut in 2023.
The anticipation has now reached its culmination. This Friday, Maluma will release his highly anticipated album, titled “Don Juan.”
The album title is a clever nod to the notorious 17th-century literary figure Don Juan and concurrently references Maluma’s birth name, Juan Luis Londoño Arias. The choice is profound and aligns with the listening experience. “Don Juan” could arguably be Maluma’s most multifaceted album to date—a blend of familiar sounds and fresh collaborations across diverse genres. It promises a more expansive listening journey compared to 2020’s “Papi Juancho,” while maintaining the same level of enjoyment.
“‘Don Juan’ is a part of me,” Maluma, 29, expressed. “It’s a character that I’ve been building for the last two years…for this whole new music era.”
The album holds a distinct personal touch, showcasing his musical roots, including reggaeton—a genre he has long been associated with—alongside influences from his earlier records, reflecting a more mature artistic identity.
Maluma’s eclectic approach to genres is evident in his collaborations. He joins forces with Mexican music icon Carín León for the pop-norteño track “Según Quién,” echoing the mainstream success of regional Mexican music acts like Peso Pluma, Eslabon Armado, and Grupo Frontera.
Additionally, “Don Juan” echoes Maluma’s diverse musical interests, spanning salsa with Marc Anthony on “La Fórmula” and reggaeton and house music on “Diablo, Qué Chimba,” featuring Puerto Rican rapper Anuel AA.
The collaboration with Anuel AA holds particular significance as it transcends their previous rivalry, underlined by lyrics implying competition. Maluma acknowledges Anuel AA’s transformation from what he initially perceived as a “douchebag” to a talented artist with a “big heart.”
As Maluma steps from Papi Juancho to the persona of Don Juan, it’s clear that his music continues to embody multifaceted characters that captivate and resonate with audiences.