Photo: Mindy Small/FilmMagic
Meet This Year's Best New Artist Nominees | 2020 Latin GRAMMY Awards
For a rising artist in Latin music, one of the greatest nods is a Latin GRAMMY Best New Artist Award. Past Latin GRAMMY winners have gone on to become some of the most iconic and successful music makers in the world. Juanes, Kany Garcia, Karol G, and Calle 13 are just some of the past winners. Who will be next? Tune in to the 21st Latin GRAMMY Awards on Nov. 19 to find out, but before then, find out who this year's contenders are below.
Nothing has stopped Anuel AA from evolving into one of Latin trap and reggaeton’s most popular artists. Since being released from prison in 2018, he’s added his playfully raunchy and equally enticing lyricism to some of the most explosive reggaeton songs of the last few years, including "La Jeepeta" and "Baila Baila Baila." But the Puerto Rican rapper/singer’s 2020 album Emmanuel gets past the suggestive lyrics and hard knock life themes he’s known for to show off some of his musical and lyrical versatility—just listen to his more sentimental side on “No Llores Mujer.” Tracks on the album like "China" only solidify his ability to drop bangers.
Rauw Alejandro is no doubt one of Puerto Rico’s brightest rising singers. With a light voice that delivers catchy lyrics predominantly of love, sex and women, he has caught attention for his spin on R&B and his unmissable dance moves—he’s been vocal about how much thought he puts into being a performer. The singer/songwriter, who began releasing music on SoundCloud, also brings together Latin trap—press play on his 2019 EP Trap Cake, Vol. 1 for a full dose—reggaeton and dance hall and has brought some of 2020s most popular bangers; His latest release "Reloj" with fellow nominee Anuel AA has become his latest infectious track.
Colombia’s Mike Bahía is enchanting people all over the world with his laid back, upbeat records—"La Lá" and "Cuenta Conmigo" are just two. A true master of optimism, Bahía even turns gloomy lyrics something to dance to in "Détente," a song about being in the tough spot of reconsidering a broken relationship. While his career as an artist took a back seat for some time, an appearance on Colombia’s "The Voice" in 2013 set him on a path towards stardom. Now, the musician and singer/songwriter is meshing reggae, bachata, pop, and more in his growing catalog. His debut studio album Navegando is just a taste of it all.
Don’t be fooled by her emo look, Cazzu is bringing the Argentine trap sound global. She is trailblazing with a voice that can deliver soft, seductive vocals as quick as she can deliver hard bars—listen to "Nada" and "Bounce," two of her most streamed tracks on Spotify, to hear that versatility in action. With more than 10 years in the industry, the rapper/singer found success in Latin trap but has also experimented with other sounds including R&B. Inspired by Avril Lavigne when she was younger, Cazzu's latest album, 2020’s Una Niña Inútil or a useless girl, full of female empowering energy, is dedicated to Argentine feminist writer Alfonsina Storni.
It took Conociendo Rusia a.k.a Mateo Sujatovich 27 years to make his first album. The son of Leo Sujatovich from Argentine band Spinetta Jade, Mateo’s been reworking the popular Argentine pop and rock sound with his own spin. The tile of sophomore album Cabildo y Juramento is an ode to one of Bueno Aires’ busiest intersections. Smooth, bold trumpet, guitar and key instrumentals make up some of the soundbed for Sujatovich’s stories of love and life in Argentina; His voice guiding the sounds with ease. His latest track, Tu Encanto, is next to Argentine icon Fito Paez.
Juanita Carvajal is creating electro-infused pop with her bass at hand under the Soy Emilia moniker she created in 2015. The former bassist for Esteman’s soft vocals lay over a mesh of dreamy synth and tropical sounds combining with songwriting about love and heartbreak. The Colombia native’s full-length debut Reconstrucción, featuring "Mala Intención," "Toxico” and “Molesto," is flow of emotions a after a breakup that is honest and relatable rebirth over light beats that will get you swaying while letting some energy out.
Kurt is serenading audiences all over with an acoustic guitar and pop songs that are full of hope and romance. Once you listen to En Medio De Este Ruido—or any of his singles—you’ll be captivated by his poetic songwriting. The album showcases a range of moods Kurt wanders, from sunny tracks like "La Mujer Perfecta" and blues-influenced rock song "10 Veces Mejor." The singer-songwriter from Mexico has caught the attention of some of music’s most talented songwriters and singers. His latest track, "Sobreviviendo," alongside Sin Bandera’s renowned Leonel Garcia.
The youngest to be nominated for Best New Artist this year, teen rapper/singer Nicki Nicole hails from Argentina and her catchy Drake-inspired track “Colocao” has situated her as one of the next voices to watch. "Ante' no teníamo' pa' cenar/ Ahora estoy arriba de donde está," she raps of her come-up and claims her throne on the song produced by Bizarrap. Her 2019 debut Recuerdos erases any doubt that the artist isn’t here to stay; Her soulful voice shines on songs like “Plegarias” and her 2019 single "Nicki Nicole: Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 13." The album also displays a sonic versatility— including electronic, Caribbean, trap, and pop sounds.
A lover of everything from hip-hop to jazz to tropical sounds, Nathy Peluso is not looking to define her sound with one specific genre. The lively performer is showing that through her debut Calambre—from her salsa track "Puro Veneno" to her hip-hop influenced "Sana Sana." Beyond emphasizing her no boundaries approach, the Argentina-born, Spain-raised singer pays homage to her roots on her track, “Buenos Aires.” In 2019, she was named one of Latin Alternative Music Conference’s Discovery Award winners.
Pitizion or la Piti may have made her name first known through an acting career on a Spanish-language Nickelodeon show, but she has made her way on the pop Latin music landscape through a sharp use of her pen and by staying real. On “Tú,” the Colombian singer calls out some of the superficialities people live by, but only to admit her admiration for those who live their life unpologetically and genuinely who they are. The positive vibes continue across her 2020 EP La Piti, if not through her humorous and smart lyricism, through her bouncy rithyms—making unfaithfulness upbeat on “Baby”— with a mesh of upbeat rap, reggaetón and pop. On her latest release “La Differente” la Piti continues to use her music as a way to spread messages to her fans, this time touching on mental health themes.
Fans of rap rock can look to WOS for some of Spanish-language music’s most promising blend of the genre. 2019 EP CARAVANA is full of bops like fiery, energizing “CANGURO” and mellower “MELON VINO” that winds the rapper down from his high-energy flow. When it comes down to the making of his sound, the Argentine rapper, who first got hooked on hip-hop at the age of 13, has a love for improvisation whether its freestyling or coming up with a beat in the studio.
The 2020 Latin GRAMMYs will air on Univision on Thursday, Nov. 19, at 8 p.m. ET/PT (7 p.m. CT). The broadcast will also air on TNT (cable) at 7 p.m. (MEX)/8 p.m. (COL)/10 p.m. (ARG/CHI), and on Televisa on Channel 5.
Learn more about the 2020 Latin GRAMMY Awards via the Latin Recording Academy's official website.