The unforgettable year in Sebastián Yatra’s professional career

It was the first time that a song completely in Spanish was performed at the Oscars ceremony in the voice of its original artist. It happened with Dos oruguitas, which is part of the soundtrack of the animated film Encanto, and the honor for that first time went to a Colombian: Sebastián Yatra.

“It has been the most emotional moment of my career, without a doubt. Being there that night representing the millions of people who speak Spanish in the world and also representing my country. For this reason, I cried with emotion”, says the recently turned 28-year-old artist, who moved millions of people who followed the ceremony on television and noticed the trembling hands of the paisa in his interpretation, dressed in a suit that also paid tribute to the butterflies of Gabriel García Márquez and that magical realism that is a Colombian stamp.

That tremor in the hands was for many a gesture that symbolized the enormous challenge of standing there, at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, in front of the most influential figures in the audiovisual and film industry around the world. A gesture of who is making history.

It is that this 2022 has been an unforgettable year in the professional career of the paisa artist. Just a few days ago, he lived a night for the history of Colombian music at the recent Latin Grammy Awards in Las Vegas, where Yatra was competing for four nominations.

In the end, he did a double and won the gramophone for Best Pop Song and another in the category of Best Pop Vocal Album for his record work Dharma.

In addition, he starred in a spectacular presentation together with a music legend, John Legend, with whom he performed Red Heels, one of the Colombian’s hits.

Visibly moved, Sebastián Yatra thanked those who have taken him by the hand throughout his career for his double award: “There are so many people I love and admire in this room, who have inspired me for as long as I can remember, listening music, which is the most beautiful thing in the world. And I want to thank all of you, my work team, my parents, my label.”

Before going offstage, he reserved a special invitation for his colleagues: “I want to continue inviting all composers to make music, and that the music they make is always a reflection of their hearts, of their values. We have so many things to share with this world. Let’s make sure it’s always nice things…”

Sebastián Yatra won two Latin Grammys 2022
The artist born in Medellín is going through one of the best moments of his musical career. – Photo: Getty Images

That boy named Hollywood

And beautiful things are the ones that have come into the life of this artist born in Medellín, the second in a household of three siblings, initially raised in Cartagena, educated musically in Miami and whose career took off in 2016 thanks to Traicionera, which He quickly established himself as one of the new voices of urban music in Latin America.

Over time, Yatra distanced himself from the fashionable and fleeting reggaeton and opted for a music closer to romantic pop, with songs like Una año, together with Reik, Cómo mirarte and Devuélveme el corazón.

This year, in addition to debuting as an actor in the musical series Once upon a time… but no longer, on Netflix, he established himself as a recognized and admired face in Spain, where for the second consecutive year he participated as a coach on La voz kids, a program on the who shares a set with internationally renowned artists such as Rosario and David Bisbal, and where he has earned the admiration of the demanding Spanish audience for his naturalness, his sweetness when working with children and his sense of humor.

His welcome in that country, where he was with his Dharma Tour through several cities, also led him to become the image of McDonald’s and to present a menu with his name in this restaurant chain.

Yatra, however, carries simplicity like loose change in his pockets. And he confesses that every day that he spends he makes sure that he has his feet firmly planted on the ground to learn to deal with fame, with all the shadows and lights of it.

“Fame and all this that has happened to me is a consequence of being a singer and making music for a mass audience, but it is not what represents me as a person. They are not my values, nor is it what I aim for in this life as a goal”, reflects the artist.

It is that, from the beginning of his career, Sebastián Obando Giraldo, the paisa singer’s given name, strives not to be permeated by the whims of success, which in his case came very soon, in just a few years of artistic life.

That recognition that he enjoys now is the consolidation of a dream that was born in childhood. Yatra remembers that his mother’s best friend called it Hollywood, and she “told me that she had to dedicate myself to acting, because I entertained them a lot and made jokes all the time.”

But he didn’t really think about becoming an artist until he was 12 years old, “when I auditioned for a play, which was also a musical. It was the first time that I really tried to sing and I liked it and I fell in love with this profession forever”, reveals Sebastián. American Music Awards and equal number to the Latin Billboard. On Spotify it also shines and adds an average of 21 million monthly listeners.

Grammy Awards Gallery
Sebastian Yatra poses with his awards at the annual Latin Grammy Awards in Las Vegas. – Photo: REUTERS

a sacred path

Yatra, in the Hindu language, means “sacred path to the divine.” Because for Sebastián, spirituality occupies an important part of his life. “I’m always thinking about the mark I want to leave, in every step I take, that mine is a life with meaning and purpose,” says the singer-songwriter. Hence also the name of his most recent record work, Dharma, which in Hindi means “actions or behaviors to find happiness.”

Because, just as karma is what comes as a consequence of the life that has been chosen, dharma refers to what must be fulfilled in life.

For this reason, for Yatra, dharma “is a concept that encompasses many beautiful things that help you stay in the present and accept life as it is. By accepting things, you can embrace everything that comes your way and really surrender to the unknown in life. And when you go through that natural path is where you find things that are for you, that is your dharma”, says the artist.

For Sebastián, all these achievements that he proudly observes when he adjusts the rearview mirror are the result of a quality that he learned to cultivate from a very young age: discipline. “Over the years, one sees the fruits of so much effort. To stop going out with my friends, to party like a normal teenager… And all to fulfill a dream in which you don’t have much or nothing guaranteed.

Yatra says that, as a child, when the Grammys, the Oscars and concerts with crowds were still a distant desire, he would talk for long hours with his mother about the challenges he would face if he embraced the path of the arts.. “She told me that if that happened, she couldn’t change the person she was, that she should take it as an opportunity to reach a lot of people. For this reason, my goal every day that I get up is to try to do my best to share a positive message ”, she concludes.