Carlos Vives, a Colombian-style rock star
The first stage that ever hosted him was a waiting room. He and his brother would serenade the patients of the hospital where their father worked. Their grandmother had first begun to teach them how to play the piano and then the guitar from the age of five years old. Those who knew him back then would have been sure that for Carlos Vives music came first, but they would have been wrong: indeed he would have liked to have become a doctor, like his father. But luckily life, with its hidden signals, had taken upon itself to show him the right road for his creative genius to take.
The first sign of destiny was the result of the test he took to be admitted to studying medicine: it was such a disaster that he had to take a preparatory course. The second sign was the almost magical appearance of the National School of Dramatic Art: one day, while he was walking near the university he saw a bunch of strange people who were shouting on a rooftop and from a window. They were actors, inviting people to enroll in the Academy. And this time there was no question of him not passing the admission test! The third - and definitive – sign appeared in a bar where he was singing: here he was discovered by a TV producer who offered him his first role and with it, the key to success.
Once he had embarked on his career, there was no stopping him. Tiempo sin huella, Pequeños gigantes, Gallito Ramírez, Loca pasión… In all these soap operas he played a gallant gentleman whose charming, likeable and spontaneous manner makes all the viewers fall in love with him. Then came the break point: Escalona, a TV series in which Vives began by playing the role of one of the greatest vallenato composers and singers in Colombia. Acting and music had combined to make him into a star.
From that moment on, he realized that the pathway he was to take was actually music. The vallenato genre of the series Escalona simply served as the spark which ignited his creative potential, leading him to seek and find his unique musical style. By combining the vallenato, which was also typical of his hometown Santa Marta, with other genres – from the ballade to rock – which would always have accompanied him, Vives created La tierra del olvido, a record with a unique sound that comes from his musical roots but at the same time modernizes the vallenato genre and makes it reach an audience of young and old alike. This unique style would go on to become a true genre in its own right, known as Colombian-pop, which has inspired tens of artists.
From then on, Carlos Vives had found his vocation and a passion that continues to accompany him. The accordion, guacharacha and percussions which characterized the music of his forefathers became his obsession; it is the reason behind the way his face lights up and he speaks with such passion when he is asked about his music rather than about his private life and his three wives.
That first record was followed by seven more that have sold 30 million copies and thanks to which he has won no less than two Grammy and 9 Latin Grammy Awards. In collaboration with ProColombia, the artist recently made a new version of his song La tierra del olvido for the Colombia Pavilion at the Universal Exposition of Milan, in which some of his Colombian friends and colleagues took part: Fonseca, Andrea Echeverri, Fanny Lu, Maluma, Herencia de Timbiquí, "El Cholo" Valderrama and the Coral Group. In only six months, the video of La tierra del olvido has been seen by two million visitors to the Pavilion and no less than 13 million viewers on the web after its publication last July 31, confirming the talent and charisma of this 100% Colombian artist.