Before making the world bop their head and move their bodies to his hit song “Bella,” Wolfine was hanging out in the underground hip-hop scene in the barrios of Medellin. This, in his hometown, is where the Colombian urban singer discovered his passion for music almost 20 years ago.
“I’ve been fighting for my dream for 18 years now. Working a lot because it’s a very difficult career but I’ve always believed in myself,” Wolfine tells Billboard.
As one of the pioneers of the hip-hop scene in his country, Wolfine, born Andres Felipe Zapata Gaviria, says he met many people in the industry and learned about different styles of music that today mark who he is as an artist.
“For me, music is universal,” he says. “I began doing hip-hop, then reggae, and in 2010, reggaeton called my attention because it was a new rhythm. I’ve always wanted to evolve as an artist and make music without caring what genre it was.”
Each of his songs, which he creates with love and affection, is like a new child for him, but it was his song “Bella,” released in 2017, that put Wolfine on the map.
“I wrote that song from a personal experience,” he says of his worldwide hit. “I’ve been with my current partner for over thirteen years, and one time that we broke up, I decided to write the lyrics.”
In May 2018, Maluma, who’s been Wolfine’s parcero for many years, jumped on the remix, further pushing “Bella” at an international level.
“I saw his [Maluma’s] growth as an artist and told him that one day we were going to do something together,” Wolfine says, emphasizing that God’s timing is perfect. “I called him and told him that ‘Bella’ was sounding in many countries. He heard the song and fell in love.” The remix currently has more than 179 million video views on YouTube.
Meet this week’s Billboard Latin Artist on the Rise.
Name: Andres Felipe Zapata Gaviria
Major Accomplishment: “‘Bella.’ The song that has given me the opportunity to meet the world. I’ve always wanted my music to be played in Mexico and the United States, but this song is sounding in countries that don’t even speak my language.”
Recommended Song: “Bella (Remix)” ft. Maluma
What’s Next?: Wolfine is currently touring Latin America and hopes to kick off a tour in Europe and the United States. In the meantime, he says a new single is in the works and that his fans on Instagram will pick the name. “It’s a very beautiful song, inspired by the lines of ‘Bella’ that made the world fall in love,” he says, assuring that many collaborations (with emerging and renowned artists) are also on the way.