To jump start your sonic new year, here are five of our favorite musicians with recent singles from all around Latin America and the U.S. Add these artists to your music streaming service, or listen out for their sounds on the radio.
Latest single: “Vive el momento”
Hails From: Cali, Colombia
“We recently chatted with Verny Varela, the multifaceted composer, arranger, and performer who traces his musical roots back to Cali, Colombia. In true Cali style, Verny started out his career with major influences from the old school salsa stars like El Gran Combo and Fania All-Stars before branching out to incorporate the more modern sounds of salsa choke in his music. This evolution of salsa pa’ la calle incorporates urban and African sounds into Cali’s traditional salsa scene, reflecting its diverse origins and populations.
Verny has also experimented with other musical genres, especially while working with and performing as a part of the Thievery Corporation band, which incorporates trip-hop, acid jazz, and electronica sounds. He has performed worldwide—from South America to Europe to his current home in Washington, D.C., where he teaches in the Department of World Languages and Cultures at Howard University.” Read More.
Latest single: “Te Amo Idiota”
Hails From: Puerto Rico
In Raquel’s words, “I love how eclectic Latin music is, how it varies from country to country, but somehow also manages to bring us all together. I think it’s beautiful how Latin music is a huge part of our culture and our identity.”
“In Puerto Rico, I was constantly surrounded by music. I grew up listening to salsa, merengue, and boleros as well as the more modern Puerto Rican bands and artists like Cultura Profética and Draco Rosa. The music that I make today has an underlying current that reflects the music I grew up with.” Read More.
Latest single: “Sola”
Hails From: California
“Becky G is making big waves in the reggaeton scene—owning a genre that is primarily dominated by men. In “Sola,” one of her edgiest songs yet, the words “Mejor Sola que Mal Acompañada” scroll across the screen at the beginning of the video: “Better Alone than with Someone Shitty.” That may be a bit of a liberal translation, but she makes it clear that while at only 19 she may not yet be a #nastywoman, she’s certainly an #independentwoman amongst her male counterparts. Becky already has her own Spotify channel, where she talks about her musical influences, the #Spanglishlife, and gives advice for other young girls wanting to break into the music industry. I highly recommend rocking out to her bad-ass lyrics to ditch any holiday blues you may be feeling during the season. And she’s quickly gaining popularity—she took home the Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist Award over longtime favorites Shakira and Gloria Trevi.” Read More.
CNCO feat. Ze Felipe
Latest Single: “Tan Fácil”
Hails From: Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Cuba, California, Puerto Rico
“While browsing some of the top Spotify channels, I came across some catchy tunes from a new group—CNCO. Little did I realize how quickly they’ve come to gain fame as the winners of the first season of La Banda—Univision’s Latin boy band take on American Idol. You can think of CNCO as One Direction meets a more urban version of Menudo. After all, the show is produced by Ricky Martin himself and CNCO opened for his One World Tour earlier this year. The boys dominated most categories in their first ever Latin American Music Awards, with wins in the Favorite New Artist, Favorite Pop/Rock New Artist, and Favorite Pop/Rock Duo or Group. We’re sharing the Brazilian remix of the hugely popular “Tan Fácil” so that you can add some português to your playlist.” Read More.
Latest Single: “Cámara Lenta”
Hails From: Venezuela
In Mariana’s words, “…in the mainstream, you hear a lot of reggaeton—it’s something that you can dance to. But really it’s like saying that every song in English has to be part of one genre and that’s not the case. Just because a song is in Spanish doesn’t mean that it has to be Latin music. And I’m definitely not by myself in that genre, but the mainstream is really just a lot of dance music with tropical beats—there’s not a lot of variety in what you hear. I think a lot of times it just depends on what’s being promoted by the major record labels and that’s why it sounds the same. Though Spotify is a lot more democratic in that you can choose what you want to listen to if you explore.” Read More.