‘‘0-2000’: MANUEL TURIZO GRAPPLES WITH FREEDOM AND FAME ON NEW ALBUM, ‘2000’. THE LATIN AMERICAN STAR TALKS FAMILY, CHILDHOOD AND THE PROCESS BEHIND CRAFTING HIS HIGHLY-ANTICIPATED THIRD STUDIO ALBUM.
interview by Bailey Slater
photographer DANIELE FUMMO fashion KAMRAN RAJPUT photographer assistant STEFANO VENTURI fashion assistant EMILIYA ILIEVA
Home is always calling for Manuel Turizo. With most of his young adult life spent in the flashbulb-ed glare of superstardom, netting major smash hits and collaborating with his musical idols, it’s easy to imagine shirking those grounding presences in your life for all the sordid temptations that beckon from worldwide renown. But he’s not thinking about any of that when we meet one typically overcast afternoon in Kings Cross. Instead, he talks about his 9 horses, yearns for quality time with his girlfriend, and dreams of all the other banal activities he can get back to once he hops off the promotional trail for his new album, 2000. The setting of our interview jostles with the kind of pomp you’d naturally attribute to one of Latin America’s biggest music stars. There are microphone adjusters, camera operators, PRs, various plain-clothed entities doing well to disguise their panic, managers-cum-active translators and, of course, Turizo himself. The singer enters with a loose swagger, cloaked in a swarm of utilitarian greens that include a deconstructed flight jacket and a tight-fitted Diesel tee, 3 neat rips slashed with careful and tidy precision revealing themselves across his torso. That he carries such a magnitudinal presence, both in person and via social media, is perhaps more surprising to Turizo than anyone. A cursory search of his name on Twitter and TikTok will drum up thousands upon thousands of posts, positioning Turizo as the wedding singer of your dreams at the nuptials of Vine star Lele Pons, a stylish jet-setter wholly deserving of a spot on the f-row, or even a cheeky-grinned stunt-maker posing as EDM maestro, Marshmello, running from fans through the streets of New York in his infamous cross-eyed mask. But behind this bravado of fast living, Turizo admits there are some things that have to be kept separate, naturally.
“I’m very young, and I can do big, big things.”Manuel Turizo
“I feel like you [spend] a lot of time looking for what you want to be, where you want to reach, so you lose time on other things, like being with family or hanging out with friends”Manuel Turizo
Finding fame both quickly and at such a young age can often provide a tricky path for an artist whose only direction is up, bringing with it an abundance of trappings and pitfalls. And having hit it monumentally big as an artist even before escaping his teens, such success seems almost bittersweet to the star. “I feel like you [spend] a lot of time looking for what you want to be, where you want to reach, so you lose time on other things, like being with family or hanging out with friends,” he says wistfully, grateful yet puzzled by his ascent into the popular conscious. “But everything in life is like that – you sacrifice things to get where you want to go.” It was these kinds of reflections on the fickleness of time, as well as meaningful conversations with friends about their own life journeys, that would start sowing the seeds for the singer’s highly emotive third studio album, 2000. Named after his birth year, Turizo began working on the project inadvertently over the pandemic during weekly jam sessions, regularly setting aside tracks that spoke to him through their unique cadences and mood. “Vacío”, which translates to “empty”, was the first of such experiments to make the cut. Sombre in structure, the track sees Turizo grappling with the double-edged sword of fame, lamenting the debts that one accrues in the dogged pursuit of their dreams. Doting over voids that consume, of loss and excess, Turizo introduces the sweet warble of a children’s choir as the track approaches its conclusion. It’s as raw a metaphor as the singer can muster about the priorities of living, acting as a desperate warning towards his younger self about the path ahead. It’s in this way that the singer couldn’t be more in touch with his inner child, speaking at length of his adventurous youth back home in Montería, a small town on the Northern coast of Columbia, where a passion for exploring both sound and his immediate surroundings, was nurtured by his family from the jump. This tight-knit support system is of the utmost importance to the singer, his dad is a former musician himself, and his older brother Julián acts as one of, if not his most trusted collaborators.
“When you’re a kid, I feel people are clear on what they like. [But] when you start getting older, you forget what do you used to enjoy doing”Manuel Turizo
Theirs is a perfect synergy, really, with Manuel’s skills lying mostly in writing and vocal work. He did try the instrument thing, he insists of past attempts to master drums, guitar, saxophone and violin, “but…” he resolves, “I always liked to sing.” Turizo was 12 years old when he started thinking about pursuing music seriously, making his first artistic foray just a year later. Trying his hand at sultry slow-jams (‘Baila Conmigo’) and, at 17 the singer dropped ‘Una Lady Como Tú’, a bouncy reggaeton smash that would rack up 1.3 billion videos on YouTube and effectively change his life forever. “I was like a kid trying to be an artist,” he muses of those initial experiments with voice and form, vowing to explore all manner of sounds in the years since, dabbling in traditional styles such as salsa, merengue, bachata and reggaeton to more recent flirtations with afrobeats, techno, R&B and house music. “I like everything,” resolves the singer through a smile. Taking on such a wide breadth and scope of sounds is a testament to Turizo’s passion for music, and, he argues, an integral element of his storytelling abilities as an artist. Uninhibited by settling on any particular sound, making his own feels like the only possible way forward. And it’s exactly this unfettered approach to genre that binds his most recent project with such gusto, from the rampant success and stark sensuality of ‘La Bachata’ to the emotion-drenched sonics of tracks like ‘No Te Sientes Igual/’You Don’t Feel The Same’). Contrasting these emotional peaks are the bubbling and fizzing joy that erupts from albums more definitive summer bangers, hitting heavy with tracks like ‘Jamaica’, ‘Despecho’ and ‘Éxtasis’, featuring Argentinian pop star Maria Becerra. These ebbs and flows are part of the Turizo experience, and to pretend otherwise would be disingenuous to the path he’s currently treading. And after undergoing such intense bouts of introspection throughout the writing process, through the creation of 2000, the singer seems to have emerged even happier on the other side, as lustful for life and creating art as he was at age 12. “When you’re a kid, I feel people are clear on what they like. [But] when you start getting older, you forget what do you used to enjoy doing,” says Turizo. “I never forgot it, I always keep that in mind. What a dream to have the opportunity to release my music and to live doing that…”
Counting his blessings in their many multitudes, the sky is truly the limit when it comes to Turizo’s future. The singer is already seesawing happily into the fashion world, embraced by the likes of Dior Men’s Kim Jones at the label’s blockbuster Egyptian runway show back in December, but, he explains, his eyes remain strictly on developing his artistry in whatever form that might take in the years to come. “I’m very young,” Turizo reminds me, “and I can do big, big things.” Now there’s the star talking…