Carlos Vives – The Spotify Interview

Find out more about the singer who opened Colombia to the world.


Sensitive, passionate, human. Just like that, we met the great Carlos Vives. With the charisma he is known for, and in only 20 minutes, he brought us to the magical, beautiful, and deep Colombia. Carlos Vives is internationally known for his genuine way of mixing old music genres from Colombia, such as vallenato and cumbia, with modern ones like pop and rock. He has been rewarded with numerous prizes throughout his career, and we were there last month in Vegas when he received 3 golden gramophones. He was just shining that night…

One of your songs, 19 De Noviembre changed my life… which of your songs is your personal favorite?
Oh thanks! There is one from the new album Salvar Tu Amor, I am sure no one will pay much attention to it, but I am fascinated by it. From my old ones, Santa Elegia; it didn’t get very popular, but I always loved it. In any case, it is hard to choose one of your own songs!

What about your favorite song ever?
Hard question because I have a lot, depending on the genre or region… I love rock, though! Miguel Ríos is one of my favorites, I was just with him actually! But if I have to think of one song that changed my life, I would go for “No queda más que el viento” from  Luis Alberto Spinetta. I love Argentinian rock.

Awesome choice, have you ever had any artists as influences?
I always loved the old ones, musically speaking, Ive been educated by them. My dad and his friends were very much into Boleros, Caribbean music, but also Sinatra and Glen Miller. I was too, but when I became a romantic teenager I was more into spanish ballads. Nowadays, they bring me so many memories from when I was 14-15.

Are there any modern artists that you especially like?
Yeah! From the Colombian scene. I love Santiago CruzAndrés CepedaMaía. I’ve been very into Colombia music, I think I got a bit stuck on it actually.

How do you feel about totally different music genres, such as electronic music?
There is actually an electronic wave in Colombia now that mixes traditional Colombian genres with modern ones. For instance, Bomba Estéreo. I love what they do, cumbia rhythms with electronic music.

Lets talk now about Carlos Vives and his Spotify Playlists…
You will find a lot of classical music, especially romanticism, like BachYou will also find a lot of folk music. The thing is, in Colombia, we like all kinds of music. We were in the middle of many different cultures, close to the Caribbean, on top of South America… so we took a bit from everyone. We have been influenced by Mexico, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Spain… So basically you could find anything in my playlist.

It’s time for The Spotify Time Machine… where would you go and how does it sound?
I would definitely go back to my childhood, in Santa Marta, when I was 6 years old. We were living in this little plantation house, so special, we had such a humble life. I remember there was a Mango tree and, sometimes, when the winds from the mountain reached it, it produced this particular and special sound. I can perfectly remember as it was yesterday. Thanks for making me go there!

There is something so so so special about your music…
It is full of the essence of my people. Humble but caring, kind, nice, happy. I always try to add these elements to my songs.