In recent decades, Colombian music has been shining in the world thanks to phenomena like J Balvin, who, whether we like it or not, has been vital for reggaeton’s global success. He’s also been instrumental in putting Spanish-language music on the world map, changing the rules of the game. But artists with global appeal, like Karol G and Kali Uchis, are not all there is to Colombia. Locally, there are smaller scenes putting a refreshing take on the phenomenon that has escaped the industry’s greatest hits. Case in point, Colombian R&B.
In recent years, figures like Lianna, Jona Camacho, and Jessie Reyez have explored R&B on a more mainstream platform. However, a new wave of artists has served to increasingly consolidate a scene and a movement that Colombian music journalist Juan Antonio Carulla, who has closely followed the alternative and independent scene, describes to Remezcla as “a hybrid of Anglo R&B, but giving it a Latin flavor.”
It is not a matter of copying but of re-interpreting R&B and giving it a special essence. Colombian R&B’s sound feels Latine, with artists not being afraid to experiment with dissimilar rhythms, incorporating Latin American ones, and aiming at collective support as the best tool to stand out and grow together as a movement.
These are some of the names that are helping to solidify this new Colombian R&B scene, a list that is not intended to be definitive but rather a door to enter this world of refreshing and exciting proposals in the current panorama.
Cali native with Cuban roots is one of the key figures for the emerging Bogotá scene. In the middle of 2020, she began to publish her songs in which she highlighted intimacy and the deepest reflections on desire and pain. She is part of Bidz Records, an artistic collective that also includes singers like DIMC, D’Avila, OHM, Laura Sofía, and MORE, and producers such as RI. In her music, Mayra oscillates between R&B and rhythms like Cuban son, salsa, trap, and hip-hop in songs like “Fuego” and “Inmune”. Although her career is short, it is also forceful — which is especially felt in every live show where the choirs of fans shake the place.
Directly from the Aguablanca District in Cali, many artists have emerged utilizing music as a tool of resistance and social change. Junior Zamora, who has been publishing music as a soloist since 2018, is one of the vital figures for Colombian R&B by maintaining the delicate essence of the genre and fusing it with more lilting Afrobeats. In 2022, he released his debut album EGO and followed it with 2023’s DRAMA, a trilogy in which he shows his multifaceted character and his intimate songs, sharing with artists such as Rap Bang Club, More, Nicolai Fella, Josman, Maikel, and Floyd, among others. By 2024, Junior Zamora was chosen by Spotify as an Artist To Watch, which helps consolidate him as one of the great emerging talents of Latine R&B.
Since 2017, Lalo Cortés has been coming up in the Bogotá alternative scene as a backup singer for projects such as TSH Sudaca, Lianna, and Briela Ojeda. However, it was not until 2020 that she decided to undertake her project as a soloist framed in neo-soul, but influenced by rap, jazz, soul, and R&B. The versatility of her voice proposes a cathartic journey in which she invites us to delve into her personal experiences, her wounds, her scars, and the empowerment through them. In 2022, she published her debut EP Paso a Paso and followed it up with the 2023 release of her debut album Re-Encuentro, both beautiful works and perfect for connecting with sincere, genuine, and deep reflections.
Since 2020, D’Avila has been rising steadily to become one of the key players in the new crop of Bogotá R&B. His subtlety when interpreting, plus his demeanor and the sweet and seductive content of his music, make his project one of the most interesting on the scene, with a special potential to attract an ever-growing audience. Without releasing more than a dozen tracks, it is a name that is constantly repeated among musicians of the R&B scene and among followers and insiders of the city’s emerging musical cauldron, so this will not be the only time that you will hear its name in the coming years.
If there’s anything remarkable about Chell’s short but prolific career, it’s the constancy. Between 2019, when she released her first song, and 2023, she has already released two albums, an EP, and several singles where she gets everything in her chest out honestly and directly. Her sound oscillates between R&B, alt-pop, reggaeton, and recently bachata in “TNSQ” with Mayra Sánchez, demonstrating her versatility in sound exploration and the need to stand out from being a figure in a single genre.
DIMC, also part of the Bidz Records collective, is an artist from Bogotá proposing the idea of growing together, making music from a safe place where you can let yourself get carried away by creative whims without pretensions or prejudice. DIMC maintains a balance between R&B, hip hop, and reggaeton, which is a double-edged sword for the most radical, but precisely plays in an intelligent way by not pigeonholing from the beginning with one or the other genre, but feeds them at the same time with a cadence that finds harmony in the midst of a style that at times seems like a nod to Crudo Means Raw and that proposes to delve into this way of making his project a meeting point of several worlds.
Born in Brazil but with roots in Cali, More has one of those voices that captivates you from the first moment. Since 2021, she has been releasing music based on R&B and soul but with an awareness of her place in the world and the power of Latine music. On “Malagente,” she experiments with salsa, achieving a perfect earworm. Although her repertoire is short, she already collaborated with Pasto singer-songwriter Andrés Guerrero, Junior Zamora, and DIMC.
Born in Bogotá but a resident of Medellín, Komba has been making noise on the local scene since 2018. Panthera, his debut album of 2021, was reviewed by specialized critics as one of the great releases of the year. His style, like that of many of his peers on the scene, takes elements of hip-hop and integrates them with R&B bases, achieving a dynamic and refreshing mix of choruses and melodic bridges with stanzas between raps where he recounts his daily life. He recently released his second album K.I.D.
Originally from Venezuela but living in Bogotá, Selva Volcán has one of those powerful voices that resounds and fills any space with an impressive performance. Influenced by pop, R&B, and jazz, Selva Volcán decided to bring her project to light in 2022 with her five-track debut EP Arcanos, in which she connects with her spiritual side and showcases her most reflective thoughts on dark, dense, and enveloping bases as if it were the soundtrack of a tale of nymphs and satyrs.