How the Colombian Band Morat Is Winning Over a Global Audience

Band members Villamil described as having a “very specific” sound include the use of instruments (like the banjo, electric piano, or steel guitar) that are rarely heard in Latin pop music, as well as achingly nostalgic lyrics about love that are reminiscent of the classic boleros. Power ballads, funky R&B, and country-tinged rock have all been released by this band. Band member Martn Vargas said, “We can go as far as the instruments allow us.”

The band’s sound is a bit of an anomaly in a genre where reggaeton is frequently the focus. Morat’s influences include Coldplay, Bacilos, Mac Miller, Dave Matthews Band, Ekhymosis, and, of course, The Beatles. Both Villamil and Isaza (who frequently write and record in Nashville) and the Vargas brothers (who were metalheads before becoming folk-rock fans) are huge fans of country music.

Pop in Latin America will not be defined by a single sound by 2021, according to Kevin Meenan, YouTube’s music trends manager. The music of Morat is a microcosm of this trend, incorporating a diverse range of sounds and genres into their music—and in their case, typically from outside of the perhaps more familiar worlds of reggaeton and Latin trap.

“There are a lot of assumptions about what Latin music is right now, but it is such a broad territory,” said Leila Cobo, Billboard’s vice president and Latin industry lead. According to her, “Morat highlights that Latin music is not necessarily what you see on the charts at any given time,” she concluded. Great pop songs with great lyrics are what they do best. They remain true to themselves, and their fan base grows steadily.”

Members of MORAT have known each other since they were five years old and started playing music together in grade school. A proper band was formed by Isaza, Villamil, Simón Vargas and original drummer Alejandro Posada as they neared the end of high school. The younger Vargas brother joined the band after Posada left to concentrate on his studies following the release of their debut album in 2016.