Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Meet the Best New Artist Nominees At The 2021 Latin GRAMMYs Awards: Paloma Mami, Bizarrap, Giulia Be, Marco Mares & More
The roster of Best New Artist nominees for the 2021 Latin GRAMMYs shines a light on 11 rising Latin stars who have generated major buzz in the past year. But what makes this year’s roster unique is that many of the artists have been working for years to get their big break — like Marco Mares, who got his start in 2014, and Rita Indiana, who has been creating music since 2010.
Ahead of the 22nd Latin GRAMMY Awards, which air Thursday, Nov. 18, GRAMMY.com dives into the diverse group of nominees on this year’s Best New Artist lineup.
Giulia Bourguignon Marinho — who goes by her stage name, Giulia Be — hails from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Among this year’s Best New Artist nominees, she's the only act who sings primarily in Portuguese. Since signing with Warner Music in 2018, Be has also recorded a few songs in Spanish and English, proving to be a trilingual threat. After seeing success with her breakthrough hit, "Menina Solta," in 2019, Be released her debut EP Solta in 2020, delivering a deluxe edition at the end of the year.
María Becerra gave Latin pop some bite with her debut EP Animal Pt. 1, bringing influences of reggaeton, Latin trap, and salsa music. The Quilmes, Buenos Aires, native made a global impact with the heartbreak anthem "High,” particularly thanks to an all-female remix featuring TINI and Lola Indigo. But it was her J Balvin team-up, the sensual smash "Qué Más Pues,” that really took her worldwide, cracking the top 10 of Spotify's Global 200 chart. She’s certainly making an impact in her home country, too: Becerra became the first artist to place four songs in the top five spots of Argentina's Billboard Hot 100 chart. With such success, the 21-year-old became the first Latin artist to sign to the American label 300 Entertainment — home to Megan Thee Stallion and Young Thug, among others — last year.
Gonzalo Julián Conde, better known as Bizarrap, has become one of Argentina’s most global artists. His music has gone viral thanks to his BZRP Music Sessions on YouTube, which has featured superstars like Nicky Jam, Anuel AA, Snow Tha Product and Nathy Peluso. Since starting the sessions series in early 2019, Bizarrap has garnered more than 3 billion views on YouTube alone. Along with his nomination for Best New Artist, the Buenos Aires-born artist is also impressively nominated for Producer of the Year.
As an artistic identity, Humberto Ceballos Boza goes solely by his last name. The 24-year-old singer is leading the way for the new generation of stars from Panama City, Panama. In 2019, he became the first Panamanian artist to sign with Sony Music Latin. Since then, Boza has already delivered two EPs and his debut album, Más Negro Que Rojo. The LP spawned his biggest hit to date, the smooth “Hecha Pa’ Mi,” which became a global sensation on TikTok last year. Boza continues to leave his mark with his moody reggaeton anthems.
Zoe Gotusso brought light to Latin pop with her debut album Mi Primer Día Triste. The Argentinian singer-songwriter got her start by joining fellow Argentine musician Santi Celli for the duo Salvapantallas, which they formed in Gotusso’s hometown of Córdoba in 2016. After the pair split in 2019, Gotusso went to Montevideo, Uruguay, to record her solo album with Uruguayan superproducer Juan Campodónico. Last December, she released Mi Primer Día Triste, a collection of 10 heartfelt songs that bring in elements of folk and pop music. Her lyrical prowess is highly apparent on "Ganas” — her biggest hit to date — in which Gotusso sings about the healing power of a day-in with her lover.
Humberto Rodríguez, who is better known as Humbe, is becoming a voice for his generation. The 21-year-old singer-songwriter from Monterrey, Mexico, first made an impact with his independent album Sonámbulo in 2017. Humbe has established a connection with young listeners through both social media and his music, proudly using Mexican slang in his songs to relate to his fans. He provided an outlet for their emotions on his breakout album, Entropía — a project he impressively produced and wrote by himself. He’s already proving to be a prolific artist, releasing a second album, Aurora, this year. On the album’s standout, “Adultos,” Humbe turned the hard knocks of growing up into a party anthem.
One of the most prolific Latinx authors from the Dominican Republic, Rita Indiana Hernández Sánchez — who simply goes by Rita Indiana — is also becoming a musical force to be reckoned with. The 44-year-old writer has been releasing short stories and novels since 1998, establishing herself as a singer-songwriter along the way with 2010’s El Juidero and last year’s breakthrough Mandinga Times. Indiana’s author background brought a political influence to her latest project, as she used Afro-Caribbean beats to tackle topics like climate change in "La Hora de Volvé" and a dark, post-apocalyptic world in "Como Un Dragón."
Andrés Vicente de Jesús Lazo Uslar, who goes by the stage name Lasso, hails from Caracas, Venezuela. Since the release of his debut single "No Pares de Bailar," the singer-songwriter gradually made a name for himself at home. He pushes the limits of Latin pop-rock by blending in elements of genres like reggaeton, doo-wop, and folk music. In 2020, Lasso started to release a series of four EPs that were named after the four seasons. Last August, he combined the EP into an album, Cuatro Estaciones, which took him from Venezuelan star to global fame thanks to soulful love songs like "Subtítulos."
Paloma Rocío Castillo Astorga, professionally known as Paloma Mami, creates music that's a product of her bicultural upbringing. Born in New York City with roots in Chile, Paloma Mami employs her irresistible Spanglish flow. After a string of hit singles — including 2018’s "No Te Enamores" and 2019’s "Fingías" — she released her debut album Sueños de Dalí in March. The album proved that the singer-songwriter is not afraid to experiment with sounds: She blended reggaeton with R&B on the single "For Ya,” and gave Latin trap an alternative rock edge on "Traumada." Last month the LP was certified Gold, making Mami the first Latin female artist to cross that threshold with a debut album that didn't include any features.
A rising singer-songwriter out of Mexico City, Marco Mares launched his music career as a solo artist with the EP Para Ella in 2014. His long-awaited debut album finally arrived in 2019 with the release of Estas Canciones Me Recuerdan De Ti, a collection of sweet love songs. This past May, Mares kept the feel-good tunes coming with his latest EP, Curitas. The funky "Amable" lives up to its name, which translates to "Happy" in English. "Bebé" (or "Baby") is a heartfelt ballad in which Mares details the pain at the thought of being away from his partner. His adorable songs are a cure for the blues.
Bogotá, Colombia native Juliana Velásquez crossed over from being an actress in local children's shows to global star with her debut album. In April, she released her self-titled LP Juliana, for which Velásquez wrote all 11 songs. She harnessed the power of love with her heartfelt debut, singing about a romance that feels out of this world in the atmospheric "Presiento," and going the distance in the electric ballad "Montaña Rusa," in which she metaphorically scales the Russian mountains.
The 2021 Latin GRAMMYs, hosted by Ana Brenda Contreras, Carlos Rivera and Roselyn Sánchez, will air live on Univision on Thursday, Nov. 18, at 8 p.m. ET/PT (7 p.m. CT). It will also air on cable channel TNT at 19.00 (MEX) / 20.00 (PAN-COL) / 21.00 (VEN) / 22.00 (ARG/CHI), and on Televisa on Channel 5. Learn more about the 2021 Latin GRAMMYs Awards via the Latin Recording Academy's official website.