A Latin Superstar In The Making: Camilo Hits The Road
Camilo is capping off a breakthrough year, including 10 nominations at the 2021 Latin Grammy Awards, with a tour. Not only is the Colombian singer-songwriter the most-nominated artist at this year’s ceremony, but in the past two years, during which there was obviously a global pandemic, he’s managed to charm the world over with his handlebar mustache and infectious love songs that have accumulated over 15 billion streams and views. As the concert industry returns, Camilo is in the process of translating his massive online successes to the box office and on his way to becoming the next bona fide Latin pop superstar with his first sold-out U.S. tour of mostly theaters.
“This has been one of the biggest surprises I’ve had in my life,” Camilo tells Pollstar over Zoom. “This album, Mis Manos, is one of the most personal things I’ve done in my life. These 10 nominations are a confirmation of something I’ve been feeling inside of me for a long time and now to feel all of the industry backing that up is such a beautiful feeling.”
Mariano Regidor/Redferns – A Star is Born:
Camilo performs on stage at WiZink Center on Sept. 5, 2021 in Madrid.
Camilo is up for the biggest awards of the night: Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Song of the Year. In the aforementioned song category, he’s impressively nominated twice, for his smash hit “Vida De Rico” and for “Dios Así Lo Quiso,” a song that he co-wrote for his father-in-law Ricardo Montaner and Juan Luis Guerra. It’s a full-circle moment for Camilo, who started out as a songwriter for other artists before breaking out on his own.
“In the creative process, I don’t have a division between me as a songwriter and a producer and me as an artist,” Camilo says. “Every one of these songs that are nominated in different categories is like a celebration of a different phase of myself, so I’m super honored.”
Camilo Echeverry was born in Medellín, Colombia, in 1994. He received his first big break in 2017 with Mau y Ricky, the sons of Argentine icon Montaner, who invited him to join their songwriting sessions. Camilo had a hand in writing Becky G and Natti Natasha’s 38 times platinum-certified hit “Sin Pijama.” He continued to write for artists like Bad Bunny, Karol G and Sebastián Yatra. Mau y Ricky thrust him into the spotlight the following year when he was featured on their song “Desconocidos” with Manuel Turizo.
“I was pretty comfortable and happy being a songwriter for other artists, but my heart was asking me to focus that creative energy into my own identity, my own sound, and my own messages,” Camilo says. “I’m super grateful that I took the decision to start releasing my own stuff and writing for me because there’s nothing that you can enjoy more than your own stuff.”
In Feb. 2019, Camilo signed a record contract with Sony Music Latin to release music solely under his first name. He made waves with his debut single “No Te Vayas,” which amassed nearly 300 million views on YouTube. Camilo’s future father-in-law, Montaner, introduced him to Jorge Ferradas, who had previous experience managing the career of another Colombian pop star, Shakira.
“[Ricardo] told me about Camilo and I organized a meeting with him at the same time I was deciding if I wanted to work in management again and start my own agency,” Ferradas says. “I wanted to find new artists that loved music and were musicians as well. I met Camilo and he appeared to be an artist with a lot of potential, very hardworking, and on top of that, very in love with the guitar and writing music.”
Ferradas launched FPM Entertainment and signed Camilo as one of his first artists in Aug. 2019. “I was fortunate that [Camilo] wanted to work with me, really,” he adds. Ferradas experienced a bit of déjà vu when Shakira messaged Camilo on Instagram to jump on a remix of his breakthrough hit “Tutu.” Camilo received the biggest co-sign a Latin artist could receive when the remix with Shakira was released that October.
“There’s a lot of similarities between them, because they’re both real artists,” Ferradas says. “Each one has their own style. When they met in Spain while performing the ‘Tutu’ remix, they connected on a human level. Not only because they’re both from Colombia, but because they’re both real. I think they both believe in the value of making music that connects with the people.”
John Parra / Getty Images – A Couple That Works Together:
Camilo with his wife Evaluna Montaner, whose father is iconic singer-songwriter Ricardo Montaner and whose brothers are the music duo Mau y Ricky. Camilo and Evaluna have also collaborated on songs, including “Índigo,” which recently hit the Billboard Latin Pop Airplay chart.
“When Shakira said in public that her favorite song at the moment was a song of mine and that she wanted to do a collaboration with me, it was a humongous surprise for me,” Camilo adds. “That was a beautiful gift to me from God and I was super open to learn a lot from her.”
Camilo’s debut album, Por Primera Vez, was released in April 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While in quarantine, he posted videos dancing with his wife, Evaluna Montaner, to his music on TikTok. As Camilo couldn’t tour during that time, the social media app was a way for him to connect with his fans while everyone was at home. Now Camilo is the most-followed Latin artist on TikTok with over 25 million followers.
“In TikTok, I just try to be myself and be honest and transparent and real,” Camilo says. “When I share my stuff on TikTok, I just try to be myself and not think too much about it. TikTok has this new energy that this new generation has where they’re not taking things too seriously.”
Another way Camilo has connected with La Tribu, or “The Tribe,” as he calls his fanbase, is through his music videos. In “Por Primera Vez,” he shared his wedding footage with Evaluna and the follow-up “Favorito” featured videos from their honeymoon. Last month, Camilo revealed that he’s going to be a father with Evaluna’s pregnancy in their duet “Índigo” (named after their child). La Tribu has been part of his life every step of the way.
“I’m trying all the time with my music and songs to immortalize those moments that are sacred for me,” Camilo says. “I don’t have any photo albums, so I try to immortalize and have all those albums of pictures with my songs. The day that I’m not around, I want my people, my family and La Tribu to remember all those beautiful moments that we lived together through these songs.”
With more people getting vaccinated and COVID-19 restrictions lifting, Camilo was able to launch his “Mis Manos Tour” in Spain in July. At the WiZink Center in Madrid, Camilo sold 97 percent of the tickets available. In September, the tour also stopped in Sweden, Italy, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, which speaks to how much his music is connecting with people beyond Latino audiences.
“[Going on tour] has been way more beautiful than I imagined,” Camilo says. “It’s been beautiful to get to know a lot of places in the world that I didn’t know before and going for the first time to these places with the things I love the most, which are my guitar, my songs, my band and La Tribu. When you start seeing that there’s a lot of non-Hispanic people listening to my music, you start understanding that your music is beyond language and beyond borders.”
Camilo’s sold-out tour touched down in the U.S. last month with a two-night stand at the 2,713-capacity Fillmore Miami Beach on Oct. 22-23. Other stops include Chicago’s Rosemont Theater (4,400), Atlanta’s Coca-Cola Roxy (3,600), San Jose, Calif.’s San Jose Civic (2,850) and Los Angeles’ Dolby Theater (3,400). Loud and Live, one of the largest independent promoters in Latin music, is promoting the tour. The company has worked with Latin icons like Guerra, Montaner, Carlos Vives and Marco Antonio Solís.
“The live strategy was to do intimate venues, so we really did an entire theater tour instead of launching with arenas,” says Nelson Albareda, CEO of Loud and Live (see Q’s With page 12). “We have done some arenas and some bigger venues in some markets. The idea was to engage with [Camilo’s] fans on a theater tour versus going straight out of the box with an arena tour.”
Cristian Saumeth / Courtesy Rondene P.R. – Daliesque:
Camilo, who is up for 10 2021 Latin Grammy nominations both as a songwriter and artist.
When Camilo announced the U.S. tour in May, tickets for all shows sold out in a matter of days. Albareda pegs the success of the tour to Camilo’s multi-generational fans.
“He has a very unique fanbase,” Albareda says. “The fanbase runs from kids, from six to eight years old, which is their first tour, all the way to 60-plus. You see it at the shows, a really diverse audience of fans. I think that is also part of the success that Camilo will have long-term when you build fans at such an early stage. If you look back at Shakira and Ricky Martin, you have fans that will grow with you and will buy tickets to your shows for the next 20 or 30 years. I think his success has been the diverse audience he attracts via his music.”
Another recent fan Camilo attracted is Selena Gomez. This year, she started exploring her Mexican roots in the Latin music scene with the release of her EP Revelación. In August, Gomez continued to explore those roots with Camilo in their Spanish duet “999.”
“Being able to write and create melodies around the beautiful idea of collaborating with Selena, who is such a unique artist, and her voice is one in a million,” Camilo says. “When you write and have the opportunity to create with such a unique voice, it’s such a fun process, and I loved it. Being able to know her, and talk with her, and make a music video with her, that was such a blessing.”
“As a person and artist, he deserves the success that he’s having,” Ferradas adds. “I really believe he’s going to keep growing and connecting with new audiences because he’s very committed to the creation of music, and now with our first tour, he’s giving everything that he’s got live. He’s discovering through these live shows the power of connecting with his audiences through music.”
Camilo will perform at the Latin Grammy Awards live from Las Vegas on Nov. 18. As his tour moves through the U.S., he will also make a few more stops in Latin America before the end of the year. Camilo will perform a homecoming show in Bogotá, Colombia, at the MoviStar Arena on Dec. 9 and 10. He will also stop by Mexico City’s Auditorio Nacional for two shows in late December.
“Auditorio Nacional is one of the biggest and most iconic venues in Latin America,” Camilo says. “Every artist wants to play the El Auditorio Nacional in Mexico. I’ve been dreaming about that for a long time and to know in my first tour that I’m going to be doing not only one Auditorio, but two Auditorios, closing this year, is so beautiful. I’m excited to see that place with La Tribu screaming all those songs with me.”
Camilo’s duet “Índigo” with Evaluna is the lead single from his third album that’s due out in March. They recently performed the song on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” He’s hard at work on the LP while on tour. Camilo calls it a “very intimate album” that has more of his family involved. “It’s still being permeated by all the different colors and influences that I’ve been collecting on this tour,” he says. The next achievement in life Camilo is looking forward to is fatherhood.
“To be honest, my ambitions are not around achievements,” he says. “My ambitions are emotional ambitions. I want to be happy with everything that’s next for me and my family. I want to be able to enjoy my new baby, my first baby. I want to be able to enjoy every city that I’m visiting with this tour. My ambitions are all around that. I want to keep believing that we are changing the world through love and songs.”