Karol G
Karol G
Courtesy of Spotify

Colombian Singer Karol G Played an Intimate Set at Cafeina Wynwood Lounge Last Night

Spotify once again brought a rising music star to Miami last night after hosting a fan meet-and-greet with budding pop starlet Camila Cabello this past February. This time, Colombian singer Karol G made her way to the outdoor stage at Cafeina Wynwood Lounge for an intimate set in front of a couple hundred lucky fans who endured the humid evening.

Karol G is one of the streaming service's four "Rise" artists this year. The label is assigned to talent considered the "next big thing" in music. And though her profile has certainly been elevated in an environment of mainstream interest in reggaeton, Latin trap, and pop urbano, Karol G has been on the rise for years. She already boasts well over a billion views on YouTube and has been in the public eye since she emerged on The X Factor in her early teens. Now 27 years old, she was no stranger to the Wynwood crowd that lined up outside Cafeina to watch her take the stage. They sang along to every word.

"I always get a little scared because there are people here from all over the world — not just Latin America, but all over," the singer told New Times about Miami shortly before hitting the stage. "I see it in places like New York and Miami... There's a certain level of expectation. I always get supernervous about how I'll be received." Her nerves were undetectable once she took the stage, save for the early warning to fans that she would be playing a short set.

Colombian Singer Karol G Played an Intimate Set at Cafeina Wynwood Lounge Last NightEXPAND
Courtesy of Spotify

Her six-song set was mostly composed of her recent hits, beginning with "Ella" and including "Pineapple," "No Se Que Paso," "Casi Nada," and the Bad Bunny collaboration "Ahora Me Llama," on which fans filled in for the Puerto Rican trap rapper, with Karol G coming in for an assist when the audience stumbled. She packed her drummer, bassist, guitarist, and DJ onto the small stage and downplayed the use of backing musical tracks, allowing her to extend songs at will.

Though the set was short, clocking in around 30 minutes, the crowd didn't linger once she exited the stage. Part of the reason for their satisfaction was Spotify's expert crafting of curated fan experiences in which the artist's performance is the final touch of an already entertaining affair. At Cabello's event, young fans sipped virgin mojitos and cafecitos at Gramps, which had been converted into a midcentury Cuban-themed "Casa Cabello" for the day. Karol G's event was pineapple-themed, a nod to one of her recent singles. Fans painted their own ceramic pineapple keepsakes, and the bar served two specialty cocktails; the Pineapple Pico de Gallo, made with vodka, and tequila and garnished with a pineapple leaf, and the Jalapiña, with lime juice and jalapeño simple syrup.

Colombian Singer Karol G Played an Intimate Set at Cafeina Wynwood Lounge Last NightEXPAND
Courtesy of Spotify

The Colombian singer picked up a decorative neon pineapple made of plastic tubing to announce her performance of the song that provided the evening's theme. Wearing an oversize off-white hoodie, black leather thigh-high boots, a Christian Dior visor, and blond streaks in her Princess Leia-style buns, Karol G appeared primed for the kind of success that tends to follow an endorsement from a platform as influential as Spotify. And she seems to understand why fans have already connected so intensely to her music.

"Female faces have been lacking in [Latin] urban music, pop music," she told New Times. "At this moment, I think the odds are in our favor. Women are in fashion; people want to give us a chance. They want to listen to us. In my writing, I've never tried to compete with men. I've always tried to speak for women. That's why women feel that they can identify with it." When she sang "Ahora Me Llama," a chorus of women's voices screamed the lyric "nadielevanta mi falda." "No one lifts up my skirt," they sang, each one savoring the opportunity, at long last, to sing from her own point of view.

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