Manuel Turizo’s journey to becoming a global sensation has been well and truly in the works for some time now. Born in Cordoba, Colombia, the 22-year-old rising star first got his foot in the door when his 2016 single “Una Lady Como Tú” went viral and became an unexpected smash. Charting across the pond in more than 15 countries and gathering over 1.3 billion views on YouTube alone for its music video, it’s safe to say that Turizo’s introduction to the music scene was far from understated.
In the years that have crept, he has proven time and time again that he is a young powerhouse worth keeping your eyes peeled on, achieving more multi-platinum hits, performing on sold-out tours, collaborating with countless major stars, and racking up award nominations. Following 2019’s ADN and 2021’s Dopamina, Turizo is keeping things moving, unleashing his third studio album in March of this year. Titled after the year he was born, 2000 is not only his most diverse body of work yet but embodies the decade that was filled with so much personality.
“The music you like and the music you listen to starts to create the identity of the music that you make later on,” Turizo tells EUPHORIA. He starts to list a whole range of icons that have impacted his love for being an artist. “Snoop Dogg, Rihanna, and Usher,” Turizo initially states. “For Latin artists, I’d say Yandel, Don Omar, and Arcángel, he was more in the late 00s though. In Tropical Latin music, I’d say Aventura and Juan Luis Guerra, he’s one artist whose lyrics I always felt very influenced by the style, he used to write songs about morals, and also salsa.”
At the time of our chat, Turizo is fresh from embarking on a mini promo trip in the UK where he hosted an industry event in London, to which EUPHORIA. was lucky enough to be invited. Giving the audience a taste of what helped shape the person he is today, Turizo’s stage setup was decorated to match his childhood bedroom, featuring posters of The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, a shelf with a games console controller, a football, his CD collection (which included albums from Coldplay and Bruno Mars), and framed photos from when he was a toddler on display. Singing in Spanish to a predominantly English-speaking crowd, the power of music has allowed him to jet from one part of the world to the other without changing the authenticity of his art. And honestly, while Turizo’s goal from way back when was to always be a star, he even admits that his own success and opportunities outside of the Latin markets have exceeded any expectations he initially had.
“My dreams were much smaller than they are today,” he says. “That’s the cool thing about this journey, you never know where the music is going to take you. Each time you go to a different place that you never imagined you’d get to go to and start working on a new project, you start dreaming bigger and bigger!”
After the victorious breakthrough of his debut album, ADN, Turizo confessed that there was pressure going into his sophomore LP, Dopamina. Not only are second albums usually described as “make or break” projects, but the demand to make something just as big impacted his mindset. Going into 2000, however, Turizo felt the complete opposite this time around. “Out of all my albums, this is the one I most enjoyed making,” he declares. “I could do the most with what I felt towards the music, it’s my perspective and really shows off my musical identity. I was having fun with it and didn’t feel any pressure at all.”
And with the album already out for a few weeks, Turizo couldn’t be happier with the response it has already received from fans. “I feel good! I think people have enjoyed listening to me doing different styles of music. Especially right now when most music goes in a very straight and predictable direction,” he says. “When you stop thinking about work or money and start thinking more about art and making a different style to offer to the people who listen, people appreciate that and enjoy it. It sounds fresh and that’s what I personally enjoy.”
Turizo’s ability to tap into various genres has always been apparent from day one. ADN showcased a more Latin pop sound while Dopamina heard him expand on the reggaeton sonics that had been blowing up. 2000, on the other hand, boldly sets itself apart from both of the previous, gearing in many directions from EDM, bachata, afrobeats, R&B, and electronica, to ballads. “I’ve always referenced many genres of music, I’m not the type of guy to only listen to one genre, I listen to so many styles,” he says about his decision to keep switching it up. “If I liked to listen to all these genres why couldn’t I use them in the same way when I’m creating?” Turizo adds. “It’s the best part of being a musician and songwriter, you don’t have to limit yourself to doing just one genre. I make music that doesn’t have limits, just go with the flow and try to make cool music! I feel when you’re doing that, people can see your versatility, they can see how you view the music.”
If there is one thing that rap culture has in common with Latin music, it’s that the music is enriched and celebrated with collaborations. Turizo throughout his career has embraced working with other artists from all aspects of life (Tai Verdes, Nicky Jam, Myke Towers, Maluma, TINI, will.i.am, and Ozuna, to name a few), but for this album specifically, he made a cautious decision to hold back on having so many on one tracklisting. Confessing that it’s very business-friendly to enroll in collabs, he wanted listeners to focus more on what he has to say for himself without any distractions. “When you’re trying to show who you are, it’s important to do your own projects so that it can be your own identity talking,” he says. “I feel in this way, people are getting to know me better.”
That considered, the album isn’t completely free of collaborations, featuring tracks with Beéle (“Jamaica”), Marie Becerra (“Éxtasis”), and producer Marshmello on the latest single, “El Merengue,” a song that came around fast and not so long ago. “We met in Miami 2-3 months ago, the day we first met in person we finished our song in 3 hours,” Turizo says. “It was so easy to work with him, we connected a lot by doing music, it was very cool.”
While this project contained less than usual, that doesn’t mean more exciting collaborations aren’t on their way. Recently, it became public knowledge that Turizo had teamed up with fellow Colombian powerhouse Shakira on her upcoming single, “Copa Vacia.” With details surrounding the song still under wraps, Turizo revealed what it was like having the chance to work alongside such a pioneer and blueprint in the Latin community. “For me, I think it’s a big opportunity because I grew up being a big fan of what she was doing,” he says. “She’s been representing our culture as a Colombian around the world doing big things! It was so nice to meet her, she’s an incredible person.”
Despite having the clout and, of course, the talent to boast about working alongside huge musical giants, Turizo remains very humble and tries to use these opportunities to learn something new from each of the experiences. “Every person I have the opportunity to work with provides their own words and opinions, which is great because I’m such a young guy. When I started I didn’t know anything about this industry! I knew how to do music and write songs but nothing else,” he explains. “To have people around you who can help with this world and this industry is always going to be good. You have to listen to the people who respect your vision, and you have to respect their vision as well.”
Living the dream, Turizo insists that every day is a pinch-me moment. “I try not to lose the ambition, receiving my blessings as something normal or common, I like to maintain the surprise on every project that I’m working on,” he says. “Every day I wake up and I feel blessed to be where I am, to be working on what I love, to be doing what I’ve always dreamed of doing.” That said, if he was to pinpoint one major highlight that stands out to him so far, it would be being invited to perform his own song, “La Bachata,” at Coldplay’s concert in front of an audience of 55,000 during their “Music of the Spheres World Tour.”
Turizo isn’t alone during this whirlwind. Since the beginning of his career, Turizo has shared it alongside his older brother, Julian, who helps write and arrange the melodies for the majority of his songs. “Julian is one of the biggest gifts that I have in the world,” Turizo says. “He’s someone who understood my vision and was the first person in my team when I started. He was working towards a dream just like me. He’s a huge songwriter, and a very talented guy too. Having him with me is very precious.”
Turizo plans to remain in this game until he’s unable to. If he were to manifest what his legacy would be, enduring a career in music for many decades seems high on his priority list. “I think I want to keep growing, keep connecting with people, keep doing music that the people connect with. I don’t see that my career is only one moment, it’s my whole life, a project of life,” he says. “I’m very young, only 22 years old, I want to keep working for my whole life, to get old doing this. When you watch The Story of Manuel Turizo later in my life it will mainly be a story about music.”
Manuel Turizo’s new album, 2000, is out now on all streaming platforms.