“Arriving at the Tiny Desk not long after becoming the first female artist to have a Spanish-language album top the Billboard 200 chart, Colombian singer Karol G shined brighter than ever. With an all-female crew backing her, the proud energia femenina and the prowess of a band dominated exclusively by women is undeniably brilliant here. It was also the first time in many years, she said, that she hadn’t rehearsed without her typical on-stage equipment, like in-ear monitors. “I forgot how cool it feels,” she said. Authenticity isn’t a prescription for Karol G, it’s a natural state — something that she carries with her, waiting for the next opportunity to reveal another version of Carolina.

“CAROLINA,” her given name, was also the title of the opening track of her performance, as she got to jamming in a manner atypical for the superstar. Trading her flute and trumpet for an accordion and tuba she “bring[s] some Mexican vibe to this place,” she said, with “GUCCI LOS PAÑOS.” She paused between songs and offered a cheers to the room, admitting that she had meant to sip her Mezcalito before the previous song.

She emphasized the rawness of the moment by slowing things down for a stripped down, reggae-leaning version of “PERO TÚ.” Sliding seamlessly into a bossa nova-esque “MERCURIO” — the version she wishes she’d included on the album — “La Bichota” brought the music back up and danced herself off stage. Away from the stadium lights, Karol G’s performance wasn’t just a blip of normalcy for the pop star — it was permission from the self-described “happy-heartbreak girl” to get up, whether in the streets of Medellín or an office in Washington, D.C., and dance with every version of yourself.”



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