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How Maluma Followed His Instincts and Found the Perfect Collaborator for ‘Según Quién’

Maluma‘s vision was crystal clear as he delved into creating his hit single “Según Quién.” The record began during a studio session with Edgar Barrera and Keityn in Turks and Caicos as he locked into album mode for Don Juan. The Colombian musician was ready to return to his roots for a bit, but when the pair of producers played him the first guitar chords that would form the foundation of the single, he had to chase the creative spark that followed.

“It sounded kind of Mexican and I loved it because I always had the Mexican culture in my veins,” Maluma tells Rolling Stone on the latest episode of The Breakdown. “I was raised listening to Vicente Fernández, Alejandro Fernández, Antonio Aguilar — all these big artists from Mexico that actually made me the artist that I am right now.”

Following the feeling of the music, Maluma arrived at the thematic idea behind “Según Quién,” this question of: “Who said that? Because everybody’s saying around that I was suffering, but who said that, actually?” Undoubtably his strong suit, the intro and hook came easily. But when it came time to add the drums, he look the road less traveled and opted for a more vintage sound rather than his usual reggaetón rhythm.

Next came the grand search for the perfect collaborator. “I wanted to collaborate with the song because I felt like the song was great, but it was a little bit out of my place,” Maluma explains. “I needed another vocal to attach all the Mexican culture.” He optioned Christian Nodal first; but after cutting the vocal, the Mexican singer and songwriter changed his mind. “He really liked the song and he recorded it,” Maluma reveals. “And then he called me he said like, ‘Yo you know what? I don’t like what I did in the song. I don’t want to be part of the song.’”

Making “Según Quién” was all about finding the right fit in every category, so if one sound or collaboration didn’t work out, Maluma’s mission was to find the piece that fit seamlessly into the puzzle. He considered having Grupo Firme’s Eduin Caz jump on the record, but later worried that collaborating so closely after 2021’s “Cada Quien” would overshadow its momentum.

“I was brutally honest with him,” Maluma says. “I called him after that and was like, ‘Yo, I don’t know if people talked to you already, but you’re not gonna be part of the song because ‘Cada Quien’ is still growing and we’re gonna kill the song if we do another song together. So I prefer doing this one with someone else.” There were no hard feelings and his search eventually led him to his perfect fit: Carin Leon.

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“When we released the song, I knew that that was a process that we needed to live, having these two big artists before in the same song,” Maluma explains. “And it didn’t work — but it didn’t work because the song had its own purpose with Carin and all of the beautiful things that the song is doing. I feel blessed and I feel honored to be able to be real with Grupo Firme and Christian Nodal.”

Watch the full episode of The Breakdown with Maluma above.

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