NEW YORK – Fresh from the special unveiling of his Madame Tussauds wax figure in Medellín, Colombia, Maluma is ready to give the largest concert ever held at the Atanasio Girardot Soccer Stadium in his hometown.
Tickets for Saturday’s show, titled “Medallo en el Mapa,” are officially sold out. His management confirmed that 54,000 people will accompany the Latin star while he fulfills one of his biggest dreams.
“I’m very excited because I’ve always dreamed of this, really, since I started my career,” Maluma told The Associated Press in an interview from Medellín. “It fills me with adrenaline, it fills me with nerves, because being up there and seeing my family, seeing my friends that I grew up with, seeing my people ... I think it is the dream of any artist to perform in their city.”
He added enthusiastically: “We have to show the world that you can be a prophet in your own land."
The stadium, with a maximum capacity of almost 45,000 people, has already received two big stars from Medellín: J Balvin and Karol G. But Maluma points out that his will be the largest concert ever held in the venue thanks to its 360 degree concept, with the stage in the middle and the audience filling not only the stands but the grass.
He’s planning guests “of the highest caliber, my dream artists,” but is keeping their names secret for now.
For the singer, putting on a show like “Medallo en el Mapa” is a way to diminish the drug-trafficking stereotypes of his city. Pablo Escobar died in 1993, less than two months before Maluma was born.
“Things have changed a lot since I started my career, because whenever I went abroad, people always spoke very negatively when they talked about Medellín: they talked about drug trafficking, violence, they said (Colombia) was a country that you couldn’t visit, a dangerous country,” he said, noting that over the years many fellow citizens have stood out not only in music, but also in sports and business.
“I am part of that herd that has a different vision and a different perspective and that has worked hard for that,” Maluma said. “That is what I want to do with ‘Medallo en el Mapa’, I want to show the whole world that Medellín is not violence, that Medellin is not drug trafficking, that Pablo Escobar died many years ago.”
He also fulfilled another dream on Monday afternoon, when he attended the special unveiling of his wax figure from the Madame Tussauds Orlando at the Museum of Modern Art in Medellín, where the statue was flown at the singer’s request.
“I know that there are many people here who don't have the possibility to travel to Orlando or New York or Los Angeles and go to a museum and see a sculpture of this caliber, so to be able to bring it from the United States to Colombia, to be able to give that gift to my city ... it’s the most special thing for me, to be honest,” said the singer, remembering that once he himself visited a branch of the popular wax museum and photographed himself next to the replicas of his idols. “Now my figure is going to be next to all these artists that I have followed.”
Maluma's wax figure can be seen for free this week at the Museum of Modern Art before it is transferred to the Girardot stadium for the concert. It will then return to Madame Tussauds Orlando in Florida, where it will go on exhibition in May.
Sigal Ratner-Arias is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sigalratner.