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Melendi, Rael, Kali Uchis: 7 First-Time Latin GRAMMY Nominees
Like an unforgettable first kiss, a musician is likely to always remember their first award nomination. In the case of the 18th Latin GRAMMY Awards, there are a variety of first-time nominees who are no doubt ecstatic over the recognition they've received from their peers.
In the form of a playlist, here's a closer look at some of the songs that helped seven artists score their first nominations, spanning artists from Colombia, Argentina, Spain, and the Dominican Republic, among other countries. And of course, congratulations to this year's entire field of Latin GRAMMY nominees.
The Colombian-American singer/songwriter received her first nod for Record Of The Year for her smash collaboration with fellow Colombian Juanes, "El Ratico." "I'm just so proud and happy for him to want me on his song and to make a video with him," says Uchis, who described Juanes as a "f***ing legend." "It meant a lot to me and it meant a lot to my family." Should the song take the prize, it would mark Uchis' first Latin GRAMMY win and Juanes' third Latin GRAMMY Record Of The Year win.
Melendi's eighth studio album, 2016's Quítate Las Gafas, topped Spain's sales chart. But it's the single "Desde Que Estamos Juntos" that has earned the Spaniard his first Latin GRAMMY nomination for Song Of The Year. The Cuban-inflected track was co-written by Descemer Bueno, who also co-wrote Enrique Iglesias' Latin GRAMMY-winning "Bailando." "It's a Cuban rumba. Well, it's a rumba, but we added a Cuban tres so it sounds a little like a Cuban son," Melendi told Billboard. "I have a Cuban subconscious because my grandfather lived his entire life in Cuba, and even though he died when my dad was just one year old, I feel the connection."
Hailing from Colombia, Yatra is riding high with his Best Contemporary Pop Vocal Album-nominated Extended Play Yatra. The six-song set runs the gamut from Latin ballads ("Traicionera") to up-tempo rockers and acoustic-laced pop ("Te Regalo"). In addition, the singer/songwriter is one of the 10 nominees in the running for Best New Artist. His 2017 output also includes viral singles such as "Devuélveme El Corazón," "No Vacancy," a teaming with OneRepublic, and "Robarte Un Beso," a collaboration with fellow Colombian Carlos Vives.
The Santo Domingo native is the former lead singer of the Dominican alternative rock band Calor Ubano. A solo artist for nearly a decade, he has earned four Latin GRAMMY nominations this year. His 2016 album, A La Mar, is up for Album Of The Year and Best Singer-Songwriter Album, and the track "Bachata En Kingston" earned a nod for Best Tropical song. He's also in the mix for Best New Artist.
Before going solo, the Brazilian rapper was previously a member of the São Paulo rap group Pentagon for more than 15 years. He's scored his first Latin GRAMMY nominations in two categories: Best Urban Music Album for his fifth LP, Coisas Do Meu Imaginário, and Best Urban Song for "A Chapa É Quente!" — a track with fellow Brazilian Emicida. Coisas Do ... features a variety of collaborations, including teamings with Daniel Yoruba, Black Alien and Chico César.
A longtime popular Costa Rican actress/model, in 1978 Guardia was named Miss Costa Rica and she was a contestant for Miss Universe. With an intermittent recording career that spans more than 20 years, Guardia has scored her first Latin GRAMMY nomination for Best Banda Album for the five-song EP Besos Callejeros (Street Kisses). "Very happy with the [Latin] GRAMMY nomination," she wrote on Facebook. "To know that from our independent record label we are next to the big transnational. Blessed be God."
The third time was the charm for Argentinian Malanca. Her third album, Bucles (Loops), netted her first Latin GRAMMY nod for Best Tango Album. Produced by Malanca, the LP includes her own songs, collaborations with contemporary poets and pieces of traditional tango such as "Alma De Loca" and "Yuyo Verde." The result is a modern mix of artful storytelling with a tango brushstroke. "Everything was bonding in a very loving way, it was coming out as a natural childbirth as without childbirth," Malanca told Telam.com. "Every song in itself is a story."