Karol G's "Mañana Será Bonito," a Journey of Heartbreak and Healing, Is Making History

Lea Colombo
Lea Colombo

Image Source: Lea Colombo

The year 2021 was a complicated one for reggaetonera Karol G. The Colombian music artist was heartbroken — she and Puerto Rican reggaetonero Anuel AA had broken up after making their relationship public with their 2019 duet "Secreto." It was also the year she released "KG0516," an album that included megahits "Tusa" in collaboration with Nicki Minaj, and "Bichota," a feminist theme song whose title refers to a word Karol G coined to mean "a strong woman leader."

But despite the success of the two singles and the LP, Karol G, born Carolina Giraldo Navarro, was going through it. She found herself feeling sad and angry at certain points and joyful at others. And while she was grateful for it all, the singer also feared she wasn't going to be able to put out music that would top the success of "Tusa." It was a year full of roller-coaster emotions — all of which make up her latest album, "Mañana Será Bonito," released on Feb. 24.

"The strongest, most difficult moment for me was when I released 'KG0516' and people were seeing the most empowered woman in life and [yet] I was really destroyed inside."

"The strongest, most difficult moment for me was when I released 'KG0516' and people were seeing the most empowered woman in life and [yet] I was really destroyed inside," Karol G tells POPSUGAR in Spanish during an interview at the Hotel Barrière Fouquet in New York's West Village. "Even during the press conference for the album 'KG0516,' I cried after each interview because I didn't want to talk about my personal life, and they would ask me about my personal life all the time. Promoting that album was horrible, but I needed to stay strong and get my 'Bichota' out."

Eventually, that led to healing. "In this new stage, I allowed myself to admit that I really wasn't doing so well," Karol G continues. "I tried to learn what I had to do better and what life and God were trying to teach me." Indeed, every song in "Mañana Será Bonito" reflects the various feelings Karol G has experienced in the past two years. As she puts it: "The album is a transition."

Sitting in the hotel, the 32-year-old is wearing a purple leopard top paired with white denim cargo pants (which also have a sprinkle of strategically placed matching leopard print). Her mermaid-like red hair is separated into two ponytails that each consist of several tiny tight braids, decorated with '90s-style hair clips. She's also sporting oversize hoops — of course! Her look, as always, is playful and eclectic but also sexy, giving off major badass b*tch energy.

Little Carolina always dreamed of becoming a singer. Her father, Guillermo Giraldo, started working as her manager, and in 2007, she was signed with the Puerto Rican label Diamond Music. But after two years of feeling like her career wasn't growing, she got out of the contract. At 18, Karol seriously considered giving up on her dreams of becoming a music artist. She moved to New York to start a new life; she thought she'd head to school to study marketing.

But the universe had other plans for her. One day while riding the subway, she noticed an ad for a music business conference in Boston — and she interpreted it as a sign to give music one last shot. She attended the conference, and that's when she realized that she does have what it takes to be a successful music artist. Shortly after attending the conference, her dad built a home studio for her to record, and she immediately started writing and creating songs.

Lea Colombo

Image Source: Lea Colombo

She started releasing singles independently, but what really helped her career take off was working with producer Ovy on the Drums. In 2015, she was signed with Universal Music Latino. In 2017, working alongside Ovy, she produced her debut album, "Unstoppable," which debuted at No. 2 on Billboard's Top Latin Albums chart. At the time, only male reggaeton artists were taking off. There were, of course, female OGs that had come before her and reached success, stars like Ivy Queen. But Karol G was carving a new path for herself and getting major recognition in a male-dominated genre. In 2019, she released her second album "Ocean," which addressed machismo and highlighted female empowerment and sexuality.

"I think that the Carolina of today is speaking all the time to the Carolina of the past. Because I knew this was going to happen."

"I think that the Carolina of today is speaking all the time to the Carolina of the past. Because I knew this was going to happen," Karol G says. "Not when I thought I was going to leave my career when I came to New York, but when I went back to work. I thought, 'Los vamos a lograr.'"

And that is exactly what happened — Karol G has shot to stardom in the last couple of years. "KG0516" debuted at Billboard's No.1 on the Top Latin Albums chart when it was released two years ago, even dethroning Bad Bunny's "El Ultimo Tour del Mundo." It also earned the biggest debut week by a female Latin act since Shakira's "El Dorado" in 2017. With "MAMIII," a single released in 2022, Karol G set a Spotify Global record becoming the first all-female Latin collaboration in history to reach the Top 10 on the Global Spotify Chart, the streaming service confirmed with POPSUGAR. Her single "Provenza" also reached the fourth position globally. According to Spotify, the Colombian singer was the most streamed Latin woman artist globally in 2022.

After all the success, putting out an album that could surpass "KG0516" seemed impossible. But writing turned out to be exactly what Karol G needed to pull herself from spiraling into a major funk after her breakup. She wasn't writing to create a record-breaking album. She was writing to heal. She was writing to rediscover herself.

"There is even a song that became one of my favorites, and it's called 'Ojos Ferrari.' I remember that I was with [artist] Justin Quiles, and I went from not wanting to do anything to believing that to be happy I needed to go crazy — since I was single — and go out and drink. And so, I made a song from that theme," she says. "Then I realized that my music was changing, and I had to repeat to myself all the time: 'Mañana serà bonito' ['tomorrow will be beautiful']. That's why the album is called that way and that everything was going to be alright."

Humberto Cruz

Image Source: Humberto Cruz

Still, it was a demanding time. She was in the midst of making her new album while on tour for her previous one. And she was recording a Netflix biopic series, "Griselda," in which she plays a drug mule alongside Sofia Vergara, who stars as the infamous Colombian drug lord Griselda Blanco.

But despite everything going on, the album is Karol G at her core — and filled with themes around love, sex, and letting go. While she was writing the songs that would eventually become part of "Mañana Será Bonito," the theme of heartbreak, especially, kept coming up. Once time passed and Karol G's heart healed, she felt ready to listen to her music from another voice — another point of view. She was ready to finally put the pain she experienced into a specific song she had been working on but felt a huge push to collaborate on it with another artist.

"Then the whole Shakira breakup happens, and that's when the song made sense to me again. I couldn't believe that she was going through this situation in public, so I called her one day on a video call and offered her my song," Karol G shares, and according to her, Shakira wanted to work with her on it. "She tells me that she had the song with Bizarrap [before it was released], and she shows it to me. She asks me if we could wait to record the song because she felt this song was the last part of her sentimental breakup. From 'Te Felicito,' to 'Monotanía' [featuring Ozuna] and the Bizarrap song — [and then] to end with 'TQG.'"

Not only did Karol G find an artistic match for her song, but connecting with Shakira for the song also served as therapy, she says. She was being vulnerable with an artist she's always wanted to work with, and according to Karol G, Shakira was being vulnerable as well, talking about heartbreak openly with the younger singer.

"I told her that when I went through my heartbreak, I wanted to get away from the public eye. But she confessed that for her, the music was her way of closing this cycle."

"In the call, we talked about many things," Karol G says. "From what I went through with my breakup to what she went through. I told her that when I went through my heartbreak, I wanted to get away from the public eye. But she confessed that for her, the music was her way of closing this cycle."

But aside from being a fan of Shakira, Karol G believes the collaboration was so much more than just the song itself. "Before we worked together, I saw it as, 'Wow, I'm going to record with Shakira' but when you are there working with her, you realize how important it is," she says. "Even when she recorded her parts, I was always on set because I didn't want to miss any moment . . . I remembered her entire career . . . And I thought, 'She's a legend, and she's here with me.'"

While "TQG" has already drummed up a lot of excitement, the album itself can't be confined to one genre. There's everything from reggaeton/Latin rap tracks to pop ballads, Caribbean beats, a regional-Mexican sounding number, and a joyful song built on Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry Be Happy," titled "Mientras Me Cura del Cora."

But a few are likely to become effortless hits. One powerful track on the album is "X Si Volvemos," a sexy song about two exes who are still sexually involved, recorded in collaboration with bachata king Romeo Santos. Other hit-making collabs include "Dañamos La Amistad" with Sech, "Karmika" featuring Sean Paul and Bad Gyal, and "Mañana Será Bonito" featuring Carla Morrison.

After all the success of "KG0516," Karol G is finding joy in the fact that "Mañana Será Bonito" is an album that's simply reflective of who she is as a person and what she was going through when she was working on it. Fans, meanwhile, were in high anticipation of the project since she released a teaser about the drop on Jan. 25 on Instagram. That post alone garnered more than 3,600,00 likes, and her teaser post with Shakira on the single "TQG" got more than 6,500,000 likes in less than 24 hours.

Since its debut, "Mañana Será Bonito" has already made history. Bad Bunny broke a record on the Billboard charts with the first No. 1 album performed entirely in Spanish ("El Último Tour del Mundo") and it looks like Karol G is on a similar path, setting another record with the first Spanish-language LP by a woman. She's made No. 1 on Billboard's Top Latin Albums chart and Latin Rhythm Albums chart. It's the second time Karol G hits No. 1 on Top Latin Albums, following her "KG0516" album in 2021. Spotify also recently announced that on Feb.24, Mañana Será Bonito became Spotify's most-streamed Latin album in a single day by a female artist, the streaming service confirmed with POPSUGAR.

Regardless, Karol G doesn't need another hit album to remain relevant. Last year, she was nominated for numerous music awards, played the main stage at Coachella and found success on her $trip Love Tour. What she ultimately wants people to take away from this album is the notion of being present.

"People have a dream and want to reach the goal fast, but you have to live the process," she says. "Even I miss parts of my process that I no longer have, like shows at the clubs. Yes, the stadium shows are amazing, but the energy of the clubs when you are starting your career is special. Once you reach your goal, there is pressure to maintain it but during the process, you must live in the moment."

After success and heartbreak and sorrow and joy, Karol G knows this well: "Just as long as they remember that tomorrow is another day. Mañana será bonito — tomorrow everything will be fine."