Reggaeton star — and Madonna collaborator — Maluma made it a very happy Friday for his fans when he dropped a surprise album, “Papi Juancho,” which he announced on Instagram Live at the stroke of midnight.
“This year has been, like, full of surprises, and they’ve not been that positive,” Maluma, 26, told The Post over the phone from Miami, where he’s launching his new LP. “I wanted to give a good, very positive surprise.”
“Papi Juancho” — which takes its name from Maluma’s alter ego — arrives just nine days before he’ll perform in New York at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards, where he’s up for the best Latin video (“Qué Pena,” with J Balvin). Following up last year’s “11:11,” his fifth album was made during quarantine in the singer’s hometown of Medellín, Colombia, and Miami, his US base.
“I’ve been working like crazy making new music,” Maluma said of the 22-track set. “When quarantine started, I was in Europe, and then I had to postpone the whole tour, so I went back to Colombia … I started recording by myself again, the way I used to do it when I started my career. I was, like, connected with myself, remembering my roots because I was there in Medellín.”
Maluma — whose real name is Juan Luis Londoño Arias — got back in touch with “this little kid, this little dreamer” who started out in the reggaeton game 10 years ago.
“I was feeling that energy again,” he said.
He’ll be bringing that energy to the VMAs on Aug. 30, when he’ll take the stage at one of various outdoor locations to do his new single, “Hawái.”
“That’s gonna be a big performance for me,” said Maluma. “I’m gonna bring all the Hawaiian vibe to the show.”
It was two years ago at the VMAs that Maluma had a fateful meeting with Madonna.
“I was there in my dressing room, and then my manager goes, ‘Yo, Madonna, she wants to meet you.’ I was like, ‘What? Who?’ I thought he was joking,” he said. “And then they took me to her dressing room, and Lenny Kravitz was there with her, so it was like a double surprise for me.”
Maluma went on to collaborate with Madonna on “Medellín” and “Bitch I’m Loca” — both on her “Madame X” album — as well as the “11:11” track “Soltera.”
“Madonna, she’s the queen, man,” he said. “And she’s one of my friends, I can say. I love her more than in an artistic way, you know?”
And Madonna isn’t the only superstar diva who’s been paying attention to Maluma: Jennifer Lopez reached out to him to make his movie debut in the upcoming romantic comedy “Marry Me.”
“I wanted to become an actor,” he said, “and then Jennifer Lopez called me and said that she wanted me to be part of this project.”
Maluma shot his scenes in New York, including one during his sold-out Madison Square Garden concert last October. La Lopez herself joined him onstage to sing “No Me Ames.”
“That was beautiful, man. That was crazy,” he said. “That’s a moment that is gonna stay in my memory forever.”
Maluma also teases an upcoming music joint with J.Lo, but despite the starry circles he’s traveling in these days, he remains rooted in his family. In fact, that’s how he came up with his stage name.
“My mom’s name is Marlli, my dad’s name is Luis, and my sister’s name is Manuela, so I took the first two letters of each name and I put it together,” he said. “And that’s how I became Maluma, because I would say that my family … I do everything for them.”
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