Camilo on His 10 Latin Grammy Nominations: 'The Job of Creatives Is to Un-Define Themselves'

Cristian Saumeth


This year’s big Latin Grammy nominee is Camilo, the Colombian singer/songwriter known for airy songs that seamlessly blend with other genres and have connected with audiences globally, breathing fresh life into Latin pop.

Camilo netted 10 Latin Grammy nominations, including album of the year (Mis Manos); record of the year (where he competes against himself in “Vida de Rico” and “Amén”); song of the year (where he also competes against himself as a composer with “Vida de Rico” and “Dios Así Lo Quiso,” performed by Ricardo Montaner and Juan Luis Guerra); best pop song (for “Vida de rico”); best regional song (for “Tuyo y Mío,” performed with Los Dos Carnales); best Tropical song (for “Dios Así lo quiso);” and best urban fusion/performance (for “Tattoo" (Remix) with Rauw Alejandro).

We caught up with Camilo 20 minutes after he learned about his nominations, during his European tour.

You were on a flight to London when nominations were announced this morning. Tell me how you received the news?

We were getting off the plane in London. And because we landed early, we had to take a bus to pick up our luggage because it was raining and there were tons of people and we were all screaming. The nominations started to come up on my phone as we went from the plane to the bus, from the bus to the luggage, from the luggage to the taxi. Finally, my wife [Evaluna Montaner] called me and said: ‘Love, you’re nominated for like 10 awards.’ I said, "What does ‘like 10’ mean exactly?" She said, “It means you have 10 nominations.”

You’re up for awards in pop, urban and tropical categories, as well as album, song and record of the year. Which is most significant?

They all pinpoint a particular place in my dreams. But getting the album of the year nod for Mis Manos makes me swell with pride. This is an album I created with a group of friends, and I built it with the tools I have within my reach and it is what I am. When you expose yourself 100%, there’s more vulnerability. So, to be nominated for best Latin album of the year is a reason to celebrate. Not only for the album, but for the artist I am, for my country -- Colombia, which is the reason behind the album’s sounds -- and for my work team.

Who is that team?

[Producer/songwriter] Edgar Barrera, for example; [engineer] Nicolás Ramírez, and [manager] Pepo Ferradas, who was kind of like the pilot and who encouraged me to go to the root of who I am in this album. And of course, Evaluna, who is the focus of my inspiration. Those are the first names that come to mind.

This year’s list nominees overall is very pop-inclined. Do you feel you’ve contributed to a resurgence of pop?

I’m not up to speed on all the nominations, but I’m very proud of adding something to my generation. I don’t think I’m an isolated example. My music is inspired by my colleagues' music, and I want to think that I inspire my colleagues. When reggaetón became so popular [for example], I was permeated by reggaetón. It’s an accomplishment that this generation offers space for everyone.

So, in which of these “other” spaces you entered with your music have you felt most comfortable?

[What] I’m precisely celebrating is diversity and my diversity. That such a diverse, different album is nominated, is cause for celebration. But the fact that a song like “Tuyo y Mío” [with regional Mexican duo Los Dos Carnales] is nominated for best regional Mexican song, demonstrates that what you do with true feeling and respect has beautiful results. We sang it in Zurich, a norteño song, and people were freaking out.

Everything that happens with my music surprises me. When you first leave your comfort zone, there may be those that doubt you. But I think the job of creatives is to un-define themselves. Every time I pick up my guitar, my job is to tear down the little walls that keep me inside. I’m passionate about breaking the barriers that limit me.