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Photo by Ilya S. Savenok for Getty Images, courtesy of Contraluz.
Photo by Ilya S. Savenok for Getty Images, courtesy of Contraluz.
Photo by Ilya S. Savenok for Getty Images, courtesy of Contraluz.
Photo by Ilya S. Savenok for Getty Images, courtesy of Contraluz.
Photo by Ilya S. Savenok for Getty Images, courtesy of Contraluz.
Photo by Ilya S. Savenok for Getty Images, courtesy of Contraluz.
Lifestyle

From Music to Mezcal, Maluma Moves His Audience

By Eliza Jordan

August 26, 2022

The name Juan Luis Londoño Arias may not ring a bell, but it’s a sure bet that “Maluma” will. That’s because since the 28-year-old musician’s rise to fame, he’s captured a global audience under a name that’s wholly recognizable, synonymous with music and moves tied to Colombian culture and contemporary finesse. Over a decade in the making, Maluma—whose name is a combination of the first few letters of key family members’ names—has capitalized on his charming allure and talent, which began professionally in 2012 under his debut album Magia

Today, the artist is a sensation in Latin music, collaborating with other singers and amping up a generation of followers—now over 62 million on Instagram—to live authentically, unapologetically, and creatively. He’s also expanding beyond music to try his hand at acting, seen alongside Jennifer Lopez in Marry Me; with philanthropy, leading a Colombia-based nonprofit foundation named El Arte de los Sueños alongside his sister; in fashion, with two collaborative "Royalty" collections in stores at Macy's; and now, spirits.  

Most recently, Maluma announced the expansion of his career to include a brand that concert-goers may enjoy while he’s performing: Contraluz Cristalino Mezcal. From Oaxaca, the product is aged for six months in American whisky barrels, resulting in a unique crystal-clear liquid true to its “cristaliano” name. Distilled with charcoal for a no-color hue, the mezcal evokes a floral palette, ending in a smooth, smoky finish.

“I consider myself an innovator, artist, and entrepreneur, which really fueled my decision to partner with Casa Lumbre and Contraluz. I want to be able to use my platform to introduce U.S. consumers and my fans globally to cristalino mezcal for the first time,” said Maluma of becoming a major investor and co-owner of Contraluz. “Further, as I have gotten to know and work with the Casa Lumbre team and learned more about mezcal and the artisanal processes that go into making this beautiful liquid, the personal connection that I feel for Contraluz has only gotten stronger. The familial connections we have created with the team at Casa Lumbre and seeing the role shared experiences over a drink have in Mezcal culture, only fueled my desire to invest in Contraluz Cristalino Mezcal.”

After attending Maluma’s personal launch party at Freehold in Brooklyn on August 10, Whitewall spoke with the artist about venturing into the spirits industry and how his Colombian roots impact every aspect of his personal and professional endeavors. 

Open Gallery

Photo by Ilya S. Savenok for Getty Images, courtesy of Contraluz.

WHITEWALL: How does being a musician impact your view of being an entrepreneur beyond the stage?

MALUMA: Music has allowed me to express myself in more ways than I ever could have imagined. I have been lucky enough to travel the world and do what I love, not everyone gets to do that. Music has provided a platform and audience that I love and respect, and that audience has been supportive of my ventures, which allows me to feel confident and excited about taking on more entrepreneurial opportunities. Music, fashion, fragrance, acting, and my foundation are part of who I am, so it is natural to explore new worlds where I can make my imprint. 

WW: After meeting the team in Mexico and visiting the agave fields, you were able to experience how the spirit is made. What surprised you?

M: At its core, Mezcal is specifically designed to be a communal drink shared amongst friends and family and that tradition speaks directly to me and what I value and hold most important. This has largely inspired me to want to be a part of bringing this special product to the market.

WW: What's your favorite way to enjoy Contraluz Cristalino Mezcal?

M: I drink my Contraluz on the rocks, and my favorite place to drink it is around a table with my closest friends and family, truly celebrating those little moments with love and laughter.

Open Gallery

Photo by Ilya S. Savenok for Getty Images, courtesy of Contraluz.

M: What relationship do you see between music and mezcal?

JL: Mezcal is layered and requires thoughtful innovation and creativity—both of which are part of my world as an artist.

WW: You've been in the music industry since you were a teenager. How would you describe your evolution from then to today?

M: Well, I came up in the reggaeton and Latin trap era and have really evolved my music the last couple of years into music for the world. I have been blessed to work with some of the biggest names in the industry, who I admire and look up to, and that only pushes me to be even better. They have been my masters that have inspired me and taught me the way. There have been stretches of time where I was on tour for years then the pandemic really slowed things down when I spent a lot of time at home in Colombia. I was able to really tap into my roots and recenter myself and my music to some of that original sound and talent I love.

WW: How do your Colombian roots impact your personality? Your music?

M: I simply love Colombia and the people of my hometown, and I always look for ways to continue to spread my own passions with those that inspire me and support me and empower them to express themselves—whether that be music, business, or family. I have mentioned before that, earlier in my career, Medellín was not always talked about in the most positive light and that has evolved over the years and the world can now see how incredible it is. 

Open Gallery

Photo by Ilya S. Savenok for Getty Images, courtesy of Contraluz.

M: You're from Medellín and have a home there. What art and design objects fill the space?

JL: I have a KAWS sculpture, water, plants, a fire pit, and stone elements within my home, which makes things peaceful for me. I also have a female sculpture from the artist Carole Feuerman, which was made after Kendall Tichner

WW: Medellín is one of my favorite cities. Where do you recommend newcomers go to experience what the city has to offer?

M: I definitely recommend Commune 13, which represents everything we are in Medellín—art, music, unity, and love.  In addition, I recommend Guatape, where you can experience a traditional adventure with greenery, food, music, and culture.

WW: What are you working on next?

M: My team and I are getting ready for my third launch with Macy’s for Fall 2022. Super excited about that! I am also getting ready to announce other business ventures as well that will support upcoming artists.

contraluzmalumamezcalthe freehold

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