Paloma Mami, the first young Chilean-American to score a deal with an international record label, shares her thoughts on her rapid rise to stardom with CHICA.
Chilean songstress Paloma Castillo still goes back to her Snapchat memories in search of videos of the night that changed her life. Before that specific moment, she wished to be a singer but never had the courage to push forward. Then she attended a Bad Bunny concert last spring in Chile.
“I saw him, like, I was on the floor seats, I was watching and it was crazy. The whole energy in the stadium was crazy. There was kids singing his songs, old men singing his songs. I was like, Yo I want to do what he’s doing.”
That same night, she approached her mother and expressed her desire to make music, to make the audience feel the way she saw them feel at Bad Bunny’s show — and most importantly, to feel that same energy herself. Up until then, “Paloma Mami,” the artistic name she now carries, did not exist.
The first step: a Chilean reality-TV singing competition called Rojo, where she became a fan fave. The catch: If she were to win and sign a contract with the network, she wouldn’t have control over the music she could create. In a gutsy move, she left the show mid-season. As we now know, the move paid off.
Just a few months after that Bad Bunny concert, her first independent hit, “Not Steady,” a Spanglish track, went viral. “Singing in English and Spanish came super naturally to me, because I was always speaking both in my house…it was what came out.”
Born in New York City and now residing in Chile, the 19-year-old with inner city fly was not slept on. From “Not Steady,” she scored a deal with Sony Latin last September. Paloma was in disbelief: “I have one song out — that’s impossible.” The deal made her the first post-millennial Chilean to be signed to an international record label. “It was pretty crazy to find out Sony wanted to work with me.”
She released her first song for the label in December 2018. “No Te Enamores De Mi” — a song about a woman warning her potential hookup that if he falls in love with her, she’ll break his heart — was produced by legendary duo Mambo Kingz (the producers behind Ozuna’s “Baila Baila Baila” and many Bad Bunny hits, including “Soy Peor”). It surpassed 40 million views after two months.
The singer’s musical style is infused with reggaetón, R&B, Latin trap and reggae sounds. Her songs are formed from her life experiences, “It’s what I’m actually going through,” she says about “No Te Enamores De Mi.” This has worked to her advantage as her music resonates with many followers. It doesn’t hurt that Paloma has a natural charisma and isn’t afraid to get silly. Her sense of humor is obvious when she’s both on and off camera.
Sitting at 1.8 million followers on Instagram, she doesn’t feel pressured by the negative side of social media like harsh or critical comments. When asked if she ever felt overwhelmed, she simply said, “Not at all.“
Many fans reach out to the singer, expressing how empowered they feel when hearing “No Te Enamores De Mi.” Just another example of how Paloma has connected with audiences through her personal experiences: “I always feel super empowered when I’m singing, when I’m writing those type of lyrics,” says Paloma.
She continues to own her sensuality on her latest “Fingias.” The video has garnered more than 15 million views since its March 21 release.
Check out “Fingias.”