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7 Jaw-Dropping Sets From Coachella 2023 Weekend 1: BLACKPINK, Bad Bunny, Blink-182 & More
(L-R) Jennie, Jisoo, Rosé, and Lisa of BLACKPINK perform during the 2023 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Coachella

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7 Jaw-Dropping Sets From Coachella 2023 Weekend 1: BLACKPINK, Bad Bunny, Blink-182 & More

The first weekend of Coachella 2023 was full of more-than-memorable moments: Rosalía got into the audience; Metro Boomin brought hip-hop's heaviest hitters to the stage; major artists rocked small stages and so much more.

GRAMMYs/Apr 18, 2023 - 03:24 pm

In a sense, every Coachella is an historic event. 

Held annually at the Empire Polo Field in Indio, Calif., it’s the first major music festival of the year and often showcases artists’ tour launches, effectively providing a sneak preview of what’s to come. It’s also a place where things happen that can seemingly only happen there. The evidence lies in the sheer multitude of special guest appearances spanning the three-day event, with cameos occurring on nearly every one of eight stages. 

The 2023 edition of Coachella — which sold out its first weekend, ushering in roughly 125,000 people from around the globe — was arguably the most consequential in its 22 years. On Friday, Puerto Rican rapper-singer Bad Bunny became the fest’s first Latino solo artist headliner; Saturday’s spectacle from BLACKPINK marked the first K-pop performance to top the bill; and on Sunday, Frank Ocean made history as the first openly gay man to close out the world-class music summit.

The latter artist’s set — his first in nearly six years — was certainly memorable, but not for fond reasons. On the bright side, there were plenty of other dazzling moments, whether enhanced by surprise guests or on their own merits, which made the weekend indisputably unforgettable. Read on for seven of the best sets from Coachella 2023.

The Murder Capital Slays The Sonora Tent

With only two albums under their belt and a relatively packed audience in the Sonora Tent on Friday afternoon (the second slot of the fest), it’s fair to argue that the Irish quintet deserved the nod for one of Coachella’s best up-and-coming bands. 

They earned the accolade handily within just seven songs, a no-holds-barred display of searing, snotty-yet-sincere post-punk tunes (à la hometown contemporaries Fontaines D.C. and British sonic kin Idles and Shame) evenly split between their 2019 debut album When I Have Fears and this year’s follow-up, Gigi’s Recovery.

"We don’t give a f— what time is. We want to see you move," said vocalist James McGovern before launching into the maelstrom "Feeling Fades." Every member contributed to the unrelenting energy, expertly building anticipation during slow-burn portions on songs like "A Thousand Lives" and show closer "Ethel," before thrashing through the songs’ cacophonous climaxes. 

The Coachella performance marks the end of the Murder Capital's first stateside tour and, based on this exceptional performance, they’ll doubtless return ready to release even more panache and sonic punch. Fans of thought-provoking punk rock would be wise to keep a lookout.

It was confirmed months ago that bassist Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker would reunite with original Blink-182 singer/guitarist Tom DeLonge for a summer tour — the pop-punk trio’s first shows together in nine years — but seeing the band's name appear on the Friday schedule upon its reveal last week stoked some the weekend’s most spirited anticipation.

Fans reacted rabidly to the news — a group of Mexican friends waiting in front, all decked out in Blink attire and sporting tattoos of the band’s logo, said they scrambled to buy tickets and make the trip to the desert with only a single day's notice. Those fellas and the thousands spilling out of the Sahara Tent were rewarded with DeLonge making his entrance with middle fingers raised high, signaling that we were about to witness the same ol’ charmingly crass charades. They wasted no time tearing into a career-spanning set (plus the live debut of recently released new track, "EDGING") peppered with sarcastic and explicit banter that was as nostalgically satisfying as hits like "I Miss You" and "All the Small Things," and deep cuts "Dysentery Gary" and "Dumpweed." 

Despite his near-decade away, DeLonge sounded sharper than ever, especially when the trio took it back all the way to 1997 for show closer "Dammit," mixing in a thrilling snippet of TLC’s "No Scrubs" (which also played in-full as the outro music). It was an odd but appropriate pairing — looking around at several generations of fans singing along to every track with equal enthusiasm, it became clear that for many, Blink’s classic catalog feels just as timeless as that R&B mega-hit.

Metro Boomin Brings The Whole Crew To The Stage

With a resume that includes work with John Legend, Future, Don Tolliver, 21 Savage, and the Weeknd, the anticipation for what might manifest during producer/DJ Metro Boomin’s Friday night set in the Sahara Tent was at an all-time high. And as it so happened, every one of those artists made appearances, in that order, resulting in the most star-studded show of the weekend in an incredibly intimate setting. 

Within the first few seconds of Metro Boomin's set, Legend strolled out to belt on "On Time," and from that point, there was only one track without a heavy hitter at the helm.  Future for five songs, wrapping up on superhit "Mask Off"; Don Tolliver out for three; 21 Savage for six exhilarating tunes; and finally the Weeknd for another half-dozen. The cherry on top: both 21 Savage and Diddy joined the Weeknd for the live debut of Metro Boomin’s "Creepin'" remix to close out the set. Acting as conductor and conduit, Metro stayed relatively hidden atop a center-stage platform for the entirety of the 23-song set, letting his guests and mesmerizing dancers take the wheel. 

This show could’ve and should’ve been on the main stage, and the fact that it wasn’t made it that much more special for the fest-goers wise enough to sacrifice the beginning of Bad Bunny to witness it.

Bad Bunny Makes History

In the moments before Bad Bunny's headlining slot on Friday, footage depicting past lineups and performers — including Prince, Kendrick Lamar and the Black Keys — flashed across the main stage’s massive screens. The suggestion was clear: The Puerto Rican superstar intended to cement his own legacy as Coachellan royalty. 

In some ways, that status was predetermined. As the first Latino solo artist to close out the festival, the GRAMMY-winning reggaeton titan had already made history before even setting foot on stage. El Conejo Malo gave his massive audience their money’s worth and more during a 2-hour tour de force that paid tribute to Latin music and dance. 

Beginning the show atop a platform designed to look like the gas station roof in San Juan, Puerto Rico where he staged a surprise performance last December, the artist lovingly referred to by fans as Benito (his legal first name) serenaded the audience with several songs off chart-topping 2022 album Un Verano Sin Ti. He rarely showed himself on the stage’s screens, instead opting to display videos of historic Latin and Caribbean musical traditions, plus brightly colored graphics paired with sweeping lasers and spurts of pyro that evoked the feel of an enormous Miami nightclub. 

Though hopes were high for Cardi B to appear for her part on breakout single "I Like It," she didn’t show, but no matter. Fans were treated to plenty more surprise guests, including Jowell Y Randy on "Safaera," Jay Cortez on a hat trick of tunes played on a B-stage, and Post Malone accompanying on acoustic guitar for "La Canción" and "Yonaguni." The latter two were diminished by sound issues, but it had little effect on the impact of the show for diehard fans — it was a veritable love letter to Latin culture that his faithful followers will surely hold dear for years to come.

Dinner Party Invites Everyone To The Table

With only a few performances under their belt to date, Dinner Party — the supergroup formed in 2020 by prolific pianist Robert Glasper, saxophonist Kamasi Washington, hip-hop producer/DJ 9th Wonder and renowned producer/musician Terrace Martin — was a must-see in the Gobi Tent on Saturday afternoon. 

The outfit was joined by Arin Ray, who sings on their debut full-length Enigmatic Society (released one day prior on April 14) and in this setting also handled vocal parts from Dinner Party’s self-titled EP sung by Chicago artist Phoelix. His voice set a joyful, uplifting tone on opening track "Breathe," which was followed by segments where each contributor showcased their individual talents, including wild sax duels from Washington and Martin, and a hip-hop DJ mini-set from 9th Wonder. 

But the group was at their best when all players were seated at the table, so to speak, and when Ray rejoined for the show’s finale, "Freeze Tag," an enlivened, church-like feeling overtook the audience — every person in the packed tent was grooving along, no exceptions.

Rosalía Engages With Her Fans

Over the course of Rosalía's hour-long, main stage set on Saturday night, which pulled heavily from new album MOTOMAMI, the Catalonian singer proved that she’s reached superstar status, not only with respect to her spellbinding vocal delivery and dancing, but also her overall artistic vision. 

Even better, she achieved all of it while making her fans feel like an essential part of the show. Case in point: Much of the show’s live feed was shot on stage within the space of three video walls that created an ultra-smooth, almost surreal music video effect. But on "La Noche de Anoche" (a Bad Bunny collaboration), she made her way down to the audience holding a handheld camera and let her fans take turns singing a few of the lyrics. Even if they sounded terribly off-key, it showed unmatched class — a performer who can step down from her well-deserved pedestal to make meaningful connections with her supporters.

The scene was truly touching, and she built on that throughout the set, first by playing a tearjerkingly beautiful rendition of "Hentai" on piano dedicated to her dance teacher, then by bringing out her fiancé Rauw Alejandro for duets on "Beso" and "Vampiros," which wrapped up with the sweetest of on-stage kisses. By the end, there was no doubt of her mastery over balancing raw talent and authenticity.

BLACKPINK Shows Why K-Pop Deserves Coachella Spotlight

Saturday night’s headlining turn from the record-breaking K-pop girl group, the first to top Coachella’s lineup, was unequivocally the most impressive production of Coachella’s first weekend. 

Mind-bending elements came into play before the quartet even appeared. A drone-powered light show above the stage — which first depicted a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly, then a paper crane, then an astronaut, a hippo in a spacesuit and finally a heart — all representations of Coachella’s past installation art pieces — had the crowd gasping in astonishment. 

Over the course of the following 18 songs, the four members danced, sang and rapped flawlessly while their live band conjured a soundtrack powerful enough to fill several arenas. Right out of the gates, they wowed with a ferocity that matched the title of opening track "Pink Venom," then strutted down the stage’s extended catwalks flanked by a brigade of equally impressive backup dancers to a B-stage for "Kill This Love" — all the while being followed by cameras that made their video element look like a high-end production seemingly unachievable in a live setting. The sequence drove the audience into a shouting, jumping frenzy as flames erupted on all sides.

After a few songs in group format, each member took a solo turn. Jennie went first, effortlessly amping up the fans with deep house-inspired "You & Me"; then Jisoo appeared for a fiery take on "Flower"; Rosé stunned with another effortlessly fierce dance routine down the catwalk; and Lisa wrapped up the segment with an unreleased explicit version of "Money," which began with a seductive pole dance followed by a decidedly hardcore rap delivery that would impress some of hip-hop’s heaviest hitters. 

At its core, the performance was the most successful representation of what Coachella set out to do by booking such distinctly diverse headliners: it proliferated inclusivity. Even if you came to Coachella exclusively for another act, Blackpink had something to offer for everyone, from pop to hip-hop to rock to EDM, and it would be no surprise if they converted a new legion of fans in the process. The show concluded with a display of fireworks worthy of the biggest New Year’s Eve celebration, but they really weren't necessary — their performance was explosive enough without them.

11 Electric Coachella Surprise Guest Moments From Weekend 1: Post Malone, Billie Eilish, Rauw Alejandro & More

Mañana Y Siempre: How Karol G Has Made The World Mas Bonito
Karol G

Photo: Patricia J. Garcinuno / WireImage / Getty Images

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Mañana Y Siempre: How Karol G Has Made The World Mas Bonito

'Mañana Será Bonito' may have been the vehicle for Karol G's massive year, but the 2024 GRAMMY nominee for Best Música Urbana Album has been making strides in reggaeton, urbano and the music industry at large for a long time.

GRAMMYs/Feb 1, 2024 - 04:16 pm

For Karol G, 2023 was a watershed year. Her fourth album, Mañana Será Bonito, peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 200 and took home the golden gramophone for Album Of The Year at the Latin GRAMMYs. Her many milestones also included a Rolling Stone cover, and signing with Interscope. At the 2024 GRAMMYs, Mañana Será Bonito is nominated for Best Música Urbana Album. 

The Colombian singer and songwriter was suddenly everywhere in 2023, but this moment is the culmination of a long, steady rise. Karol G has been on the scene for some time, and changing it for the better just by being who she is: an extremely talented woman making waves in a genre still dominated by men.  

Karol G has been a pivotal figure in the world of urbano since 2017, when she collaborated with Bad Bunny on the Latin trap single "Ahora Me Llama." It was a transformative moment for both artists, whose careers took off precipitously after its release. The track led Ms. G’s aptly titled debut album, Unstoppable, which went multi-platinum and peaked at No. 2 on both the U.S. Top Latin Albums and U.S. Latin Rhythm Albums charts. At the 2018 Latin GRAMMYs, Karol was awarded Best New Artist

2024 GRAMMYs: Explore More & Meet The Nominees

Although she came out of the gate in an unstoppable fashion, Karol G's chart-topping debut was the result of years of touring and recording. The artist born Carolina Giraldo Navarro was no overnight success.

She started singing as a teenager growing up in Medellín and, after signing to Colombia's Flamingo Records, chose the name Karol G and began releasing music. Early on, she flew to Miami for a meeting with Universal Records, but they chose not to sign her on the basis that a woman would not be successful making reggaeton — a severe miscalculation, that belies female pioneers and a blossoming roster of contemporary acts

Thankfully, she ignored them. A year after "Ahora Me Llama" and Unstoppable, Karol G won her first Latin GRAMMY. 

The star’s determination makes her a role model, but Karol G's career has also been defined by an inspiring integrity around her principles and artistic vision. By now, it is a well-known anecdote that she turned down the song "Sin Pijama" because it references marijuana use. Karol does not smoke, so the lyrics would not have been authentic to her as a person, or as an artist. 

This authenticity has doubtless been key to Karol G's success. Rather than try to fit an established mold, she brings a uniquely sunny swagger and sporty style to reggaeton. She projects a powerful and feminine energy, and her music often expresses a healthy sense of sexual independence and self-empowerment. This is an intentional part of her message, especially to her female fans.

"They teach us it’s wrong to celebrate ourselves for something we have," she told Rolling Stone of her musical messaging. "And it’s not. We have to be the first ones to give ourselves credit."

Like early collaborator Bad Bunny, Karol G is able to reach a global audience without having to change the language she sings in, her genre of choice, or her messages. Case in point: One of her 2023 accomplishments was becoming the first Latina to headline a global stadium tour, and the highest-grossing Latin touring artist of the year.

She also became the first Latina to headline Lollapalooza and, in between record-breaking tour dates, saw her song "WATATI" featured on Barbie The Album. (The soundtrack is nominated for Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media at the 66th GRAMMY Awards.)

In November, she closed out her big year with a sweep of the Latin GRAMMYs: Mañana Será Bonito received the award for Best Música Urbana Album and Album Of The Year; her Shakira collab "TQG" took home the golden gramophone for Best Urban Fusion/Performance. When she accepted her award for Best Música Urbana Album, Karol exclaimed, "How cool is it for a woman to win this?" 

Karol G’s wins made up a large part of an awards ceremony where women won big:  Shakira won Song Of The Year for her collaboration with Bizzarap, while Natalia Lafourcade won Record Of The Year and Joaquina took home Best New Artist. This was the first year that women won in all the general categories — something that suggests progress for the Latin music industry. The last time a woman won the Latin GRAMMY for Best Música Urbana Album was in 2013, when Spanish rapper Mala Rodríguez took home the award for Bruja. 

Watching the Latin GRAMMYs this year, it was easy to forget that women still have a long way to go to achieve parity with their male counterparts in the music industry. If you lost sight of that, the year-end Latin charts would bring you back to reality: Of the top 50 tracks on the Hot Latin Songs chart, 11 primarily featured women, but six of those tracks belonged to Karol G. Karol’s presence matters and she knows it. 

Karol G brings a powerful feminine energy to reggaeton and Latin trap, but also an unapologetic feminism. While this is explicit in her music, it's also clear in the creative partnerships she makes. She’s had many high profile collaborations with male artists, but just as many with a diverse roster of female artists from reggaeton OG Ivy Queen ("Leyendas") to Latin fusion pop singer Kali Uchis ("Me Tengo Que Ir," "Labios Mordidos"). In an arena so dominated by male artists, each collaboration with another woman is meaningful, but her collaborations with rising artists, such as Young Miko — who appears on the song "Dispo" from Karol’s Bichota Season — truly make a difference. 

Artists like Karol G increase the range of possibilities for artists in their wake, and for anyone in the music industry who flouts narrow expectations. Karol G knows that her victories have larger implications, and this eye toward the future has helped her reach unprecedented heights. "I understand how hard it is [for women to break through] because of how hard it was for me,"she recently told Billboard.

It wasn't easy for Karol G to get where she is today, but she has been opening doors for others — women, artists in reggaeton, artists in urbano and others —  every step of the way. From here on, the title of her album is ringing more and more prescient, and that’s mas bonito.  

2024 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Full Nominees List

Inside The Metro-Verse: How Metro Boomin Went From Behind-The-Scenes Mastermind To Rap's Most In-Demand Producer
Metro Boomin in 2014, 2017, 2016 and 2023.

Photos: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images; Photo by Matt Blyth/Getty Images; Prince Williams/WireImage; Burak Cingi/Redferns

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Inside The Metro-Verse: How Metro Boomin Went From Behind-The-Scenes Mastermind To Rap's Most In-Demand Producer

Producer Of The Year nominee Metro Boomin isn’t your ordinary hero. Instead of scaling walls and flying over cityscapes, he possesses the rare ability to generate hits across a myriad of genres while remaining true to form.

GRAMMYs/Feb 1, 2024 - 02:42 pm

Metro Boomin isn’t your ordinary hero. Instead of scaling walls and flying over cityscapes, he possesses the rare ability to generate hits across a myriad of genres while remaining true to form. Like heroes in the Marvel and DC universes, the often withdrawn producer has played a not-so-quiet role in hip-hop for a decade.

For his superpowers, Metro has become one of the most in-demand sonic architects in the game. His collaborations with Future, Travis Scott, 21 Savage, Big Sean, and other big-name artists defied convention, turning Southern trap into high-performance art. Despite his reserved demeanor, Metro Boomin has been behind the board of more than 100 Billboard Hot 100 songs, including top 10 hits like the Migos’ "Bad and Boujee" and 21 Savage’s "Mr. Right Now" with Drake

Metro spread his heroics even further last year. He produced standout tracks on Young Thug’s Business is Business ("Oh U Went), Lil Durk’s Almost Healed (War Bout It") and other major releases, while cranking out his own viral hits – "Am I Dreaming" featuring A$AP Rocky and Roisee and "Superhero" with Chris Brown and Future. His contributions led to his nomination for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical at the 2024 GRAMMYs, and showcased his versatility as an artist. 

Thanks to Metro, and his unmistakable calling card — "If young Metro don’t trust you, I’m gon’ shoot you" — trap's appeal has grown outside of the rap community, influencing pop and R&B. And his string of hits with the likes of The Weeknd, James Blake and Solange further proves Metro's musical wizardry. 

But on his second album, Heroes & Villains, which is nominated for Best Rap Album at the 66th GRAMMY Awards, the St. Louis native proves that he's as strong a solo act as he is an engineer of others' hits. Driven by lead single "Creepin’" featuring  21 Savage and The Weeknd, the 2022 album topped  the Billboard 200 charts and became Metro’s third project to land at No. 1 

It’s the second installment of an ongoing album trilogy, which follows 2018’s Not All Heroes Wear Capes. 

Boasting features from John Legend, Future, Chris Brown, Travis Scott, Don Toliver, and Young Thug, Heroes & Villains is the second installment of an ongoing album trilogy, which follows 2018’s Not All Heroes Wear Capes.  

According to Luminate, Heroes & Villains netted Metro his biggest opening week to date, with an estimated 185,000 equivalent albums sold in the U.S. "I didn’t see that coming," Metro told DJ Drama in January 2023. "A lot of times my stuff will grow slowly because I’ll put my time into it and people will realize, Oh, this is dope. I thought it was going to be one of those usual things … But it definitely caught me off guard." 

In a recent renaissance of soundtrack projects, the multi-platinum producer also created the soundtrack to the animated blockbuster Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. Metro flexed his versatility on the 13-song project, which combined sonorous trap beats, reggaeton and Afrobeat-inspired jams, and lush pop ballads. 

Metro's success and recent GRAMMY nominations have been the result of years of Herculean feats.  Never content to follow a single sonic thread, Metro has continually expanded his reach to other genres and mediums. He’s dabbled in film and TV, producing songs for the short-lived and The Weeknd-starring HBO series "The Idol," and embraced live orchestration both in song and performance. On songs like "On Time" with John Legend, the producer amplified the grandiose record with stringed instruments, then performed the song with a live orchestra at the Dolby Theater for the Red Bull Symphonic back in November 2023.

Despite his vast production credits, Metro says he’s been unfairly labeled a "trap producer." He’s conjured pop and R&B hits, too. "I love R&B music, I love making this, love making that," he told GQ in 2022. "Why would I wanna do something that I did?" Along with producing The Weeknd’s No. 1 song "Heartless," Metro laid his hands to tracks on James Blake’s Assume Form and Solange’s When I Get Home, then later produced Coldplay’s "Let Somebody Go" featuring Selena Gomez in 2019.

Metro’s venture into solo stardom shouldn’t be a surprise either; the 30-year-old producer told Billboard he wanted to be a rapper as a teenager. "In order to do that, I needed some beats, so I started to make my own beats." At age 13, Metro took notice of artists like Soulja Boy, who also made his own beats. "It was like … it’s possible." 

Now, after years of playing the background, the man behind the blistering trap beats and rattling hi-hats is finally unmasked and fully embracing his solo artistry. There were flashes of his genre-bending genius on Not All Heroes Wear Capes, with the Offset, WizKid, and J Balvin-assisted "Only You" melding trap, Afrobeats, and reggaeton in euphoric form, but Across the Spider-Verse fully showcases Metro's musical dexterity both behind the board and in front of the mic. 

On the film’s soundtrack, the roaring orchestral sounds of "Am I Dreaming" form a transcendent exchange between A$AP Rocky and eclectic vocalist Roisee. Songs like "Hummingbird" see Metro return to his trap roots, but James Blake’s harmonious croons breathe mists of pop magic into the track. 

The hip-swaying "Silk & Cologne" and "Link Up" fuse reggaeton and Afrobeats, but "Nas Morales" is a complete step in unfamiliar territory for Metro. The unlikely collaboration between him and Nas closes out the 13-song project — Metro’s most experimental to date. 

The album Heroes & Villains is more in line with Metro’s roots, with songs like "Superhero (Heroes & Villains)" and "Niagra Falls" highlighting the producer’s darker, more mystifying trap wizardry. He also, for the first time, conjured a rollout for the project. 

Before the album’s release, Metro dropped a short film that featured cameos from Gunna, Young Thug, and actors LaKeith Stanfield and Morgan Freeman. The video, directed by Gibson Hazard, shows TV journalists (Gunna and Thug) reporting on a firetruck driver (Stanfield) setting flames to a city’s streets. Metro, overlooking the destruction alongside Morgan Freeman, decides to take action and stop the arsonist. 

Last year was a big one for Metro, but the producer isn't driven by accolades.  He wants fans to know that no amount of fame or hardware can take him away from his calling. "More than any accolades, sales, and everything, I just want people to know at the end that I cared the whole time. Every ounce of effort that I possibly could put into the art, I did," Metro told Complex.  

With a new year in full swing, Metro has already hinted at a possible hat trick in 2024. While interacting with a fan on X, formerly known as Twitter, Metro wrote, "2023 was great but just watch what I do 2024!!!!!." The fan then asked how many albums to expect, with Metro responding, "3 at the very least." 

2024 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Full Nominees List

Edgar Barrera, The Songwriter Behind 2023's Top Latin Hits, Shares How He Remains Grounded Amidst Success
Edgar Barrera

Photo: Courtesy Edgar Barrera

interview

Edgar Barrera, The Songwriter Behind 2023's Top Latin Hits, Shares How He Remains Grounded Amidst Success

Edgar Barrera is known for building musical bridges, blending unexpected genres and enabling fruitful collaborations. At the 2024 GRAMMYs, the prolific songwriter and producer is the only Latino nominated for Songwriter Of The Year, Non-Classical.

GRAMMYs/Jan 16, 2024 - 02:56 pm

The life of producer and songwriter Edgar Barrera was shaped by cultural dichotomy. Born in McAllen, Texas, and raised between the Lone Star state and the Mexican border town of Miguel Alemán, Barrera spent his days connecting cultures and languages, making a space for himself.

"I was born on the border. I'm always trying to adapt to Mexican or American culture, growing up in the middle of those two worlds," Barrera tells GRAMMY.com. "This is what I always end up doing in the songs and with the artists I work with, I adapt to them, I adapt to their world, I learn [from them]."

This duality and his innate code-switching ability defined his essence as a musician. In the music industry, Barrera is known among artists as a great bridge-builder between stars. He forges unexpected collaborations and blends genres in effortless ways.

For example, "Un x100to", the smasher collaboration between Grupo Frontera and Bad Bunny, became one of the biggest Latin songs of 2023. It won the Latin GRAMMY Award for Best Regional Mexican Song, climbed to the top of Spotify's global chart, and made its way to Billboard’s Hot 100’s Top 10.

The single is one of nine songs that has earned Barrera a nomination for Songwriter Of The Year, Non-Classical at the 2024 GRAMMYs. He is the only Latino in this group and has been nominated for all Spanish-language songs. "It means that Latinos are breaking those barriers and that Latin music is important to the industry," Barrera says of the nomination. "To be considered in that category is already a victory. I feel I am paving the way for a Latin songwriter to be in future nominations."

The nod came days before he received the inaugural Latin GRAMMY for Songwriter Of The Year. At the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs, Barrera received 13 nominations and won three awards, including Producer Of The Year, and was featured in a collaborative performance with Camilo, Manuel Carrasco, and IZA.

Ahead of the 66th GRAMMY Awards, Barrera discusses how his upbringing shaped his career and creative process, as well as the importance of recognition for Latinos in the music industry. 

 This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

2023 has been an excellent year for you. What are you the most grateful for?

It has been a great year in my career. I have to be thankful for life and to God. I’m grateful to say that I make a living from this.

 This is the only thing I know how to do; I am not good at anything other than making music. It is a blessing that people connect with the songs you create. What gives me the most satisfaction is knowing that people are enjoying, connecting, and experiencing the songs [I've worked on].

What did it mean to win the inaugural Songwriter Of The Year award at the Latin GRAMMYs?

I didn't think much about whether I was going to win or not. I was feeling happier and more excited because the Latin GRAMMYs were creating a category for those behind [the songs].

I said it that day they gave me the award; sometimes, the songwriter is the one who suffers the most in the entire music pyramid of how the industry is structured. The songwriter is the last one who gets paid and often doesn't get as much credit. For me, everything starts with a song. Without a good song, the artist is unknown; without a good song, the producer is unknown.

Music starts with a good song you can sing with just a guitar. That's what I like to do. I write the song, have it on guitar and vocals, and see what genre fits the best. That's why I always switch genres; I don't like to limit myself by saying that I only make urban, pop, or Mexican music. I'm not following trends but doing what feels right for the song.

What was your reaction upon discovering that you are the only nominee for Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical one competing with Spanish songs at the 2024 GRAMMYs?

I was in Madrid, and even though I knew the GRAMMY nominations were coming up, I wasn’t on top of it because it is usually tough to be nominated for those categories. I didn't expect it.

We had a Zoom with all the composers nominated in that category to get to know each other, and I kept thinking, what am I doing in this Zoom with all these people who write songs in English, country songs, rap songs, or pop songs? Here I am with my songs in Spanish.

I am happy with [the nomination] because it means that Latinos are breaking those barriers and that Latin music is important to the industry. It has become the elephant in the room that you can no longer ignore.

To be considered in that category is already a victory. I feel I am paving the way for a Latin songwriter to be in future nominations. I feel I have some responsibility; I am representing Latinos at an important moment in the industry.

Coming from Miguel Alemán, Tamaulipas, a town with 20,000 residents with no songwriters or producers, the fact that I can make music and dedicate myself to it is already a victory. Everything is a blessing and feels surreal.

You have been nominated for your work in nine songs. Is there a specific song that has brought you the most satisfaction?

They have all fulfilled something specific. For example, Karol G is a Selena [Quintanilla] fan, and she wanted to make a song in cumbia ["Mi Ex Tenía Razón"], a genre I grew up with. [The song] is like that tribute to my roots. Having an artist as big as Karol G on that song is very special.

In songs like "Un x100to," [a collaboration between] Bad Bunny, and a band like Grupo Frontera from my hometown, [it feels special because] we have many friends and grew up with the same cultural background. Returning to McAllen, Tamaulipas, to support a local group and having one of the biggest songs of the year with one of the biggest artists of the moment is also very special to me. It shows the newcomers that it is possible to reach those places — even coming from the same place we did. I would never have thought that the song would be No. 1 worldwide.

When did you first realize that you had a talent for songwriting?

It has always been my plan. I didn't go to school; I've never had a plan B. I've always been very stubborn in what I do. 

I discovered I could write songs and liked writing songs when I was 15. I moved to Miami and started working from the bottom, lifting cables in a studio. I had to serve coffee. I went through the entire process to enjoy what is happening now. It didn't happen overnight. 

I've never let it get to my head. I have no recognition, paintings, or awards if you go to my studio. I mean nothing; there is none of that. I don't like to think about that. I'm in my house right now, and you don't see anything on the walls; they're blank. I want to work as I have since day 1.

You have won 21 Latin GRAMMYs. Where do you keep the awards?

Those awards are at my parents' house. I send everything there. I don't have any awards at my house. My wife also tells me that our home is a place to disconnect, not to continue thinking about work. That helps me to stay rooted.

To know that the day before, I could have been with the biggest artist in the world, I could be with Shakira, Karol G or Benito, whoever I am currently working with, but when I come home, I feel that I am an ordinary person who has the blessing of working with the greatest artists of the moment. Realizing that also resets you, it keeps me grounded.

Did maintaining a lower profile help you in your career as a songwriter?

I am very quiet and shy. I express myself better by writing than by speaking. I like that people gradually discover who is behind the songs. I like that some people find that I wrote a song, and they make the connection, like the movie's endings, when you start connecting all the dots. I don't like telling people I did this or that.

When working with an artist, I am very clear that I am an instrument; I work for them. I don't have any ego. When working with artists, I listen to them and help them translate what they want to say in the songs. That is my job, and I try to be a tool for them; I don't want to be the protagonist.

You are known for your ability to make unexpected connections between artists and topliners; where did this talent come from?

It comes very naturally to me; I do it unconsciously. For example, in the collaboration between Carin León and Maluma, ["Según Quién"], I ended up being the person who connected them. In their case, I sent the song to Carin's team and introduced them about a week later. We organized a meal, and I made them get to know each other before recording the song.

In ["De Vuelta Pa' La Vuelta"] by Daddy Yankee with Marc Anthony, I was with Yankee in the studio. Yankee told me he wanted to do something different, and I showed him this salsa song. He likes it and tells me he wants to record it and do it in salsa. I connected Yankee with Marc — two legends who know each other, but I will gladly make that [musical] connection if I can.

That is part of why I created my record label, Border Kid Records, which is like a border that connects [two places], like the bridge between the United States and Mexico; I am a bridge between the artists.

You are a big fan of the Swedish producer and songwriter Max Martin. What have you learned from his career?

I am Max Martin's No. 1 fan. To me, he is the greatest of all time, and what I like about him is that he is not bragging about his achievements.

It felt like such a great discovery when I found out how he was. I told my friends you like this song because this songwriter made it, so you are not a fan of the artist; you are a fan of the songwriter.

I dreamed that one day, my songs would have a similar effect in Latin music and the way people would discover me. He has always kept a shallow profile. I'm not comparing myself to him at all, but something that he has and that I also do unconsciously is constantly collaborating with people; we are always nourishing ourselves with new songwriters and producers.

I always check Max Martin's credits and see him working with new people. And that's all about not believing that you know everything but learning and always listening to new people that has something new to say.

What advice can you give to songwriters or singers starting their careers?

Always be authentic and do not follow trends. I differentiated myself from the songwriters and producers when I started because I didn't use many bad words [in my songs]. I always wanted to avoid jumping on that bandwagon, following a trend.

It is about doing things differently and creating your own trends. I am one of those who make a bachata or a merengue; when a merengue is not even trending, you make it a trend by [picking] the right artist and song.

What is Edgar Barrera's mark in music?

My lyrics are simple, honest, straightforward, and up-to-date; that's my trademark. Production-wise, if you hear a real instrument or a musician playing live, guitars, or things like that, that's always my mark.

 2024 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Full Nominees List

Artists Who Are Going On Tour In 2024: The Rolling Stones, Drake, Olivia Rodrigo & More
Olivia Rodrigo performing in 2023

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartRadio

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Artists Who Are Going On Tour In 2024: The Rolling Stones, Drake, Olivia Rodrigo & More

The year is just getting started, but 2024 is already stacked with exciting tours. Open up your calendar and start planning with this sprawling list of announced 2024 tours.

GRAMMYs/Jan 4, 2024 - 04:13 pm

Just a couple of years ago, live music still looked uncertain — would variant X, Y or Z derail the train for the umpteenth time? But in that regard, 2023 felt almost totally in the clear — and that's why it feels like the rubber band is stretched back for 2024, and it's ready to launch.

Sure, compiling every musical act who's touring in 2024 might be impossible. But GRAMMY.com's stylistic purview is far and wide: country, hardcore, soul, R&B, rap, indie rock, you name it. As such, we're giving it our best shot — and will continue to update the list as more tours are announced.

Without further ado, here's a major cross section of the 2024 touring landscape as currently announced — from Alvvays to Adam Ant, from Def Leppard to Danny Brown.

Laura Pausini: Laura Pausini World Tour
Jan. 6 - April 6
North & Latin America

Italian singer (and the Latin Recording Academy's Person Of The Year) Laura Pausini is venturing through North & Latin America in the spring.

Slowdive
Jan. 16 - May 18
U.S., Asia & Europe

The reunited shoegaze greats just released a well-loved new album, everything is alive — which is currently taking on new shades onstage. See them in 2024, on an extensive tour of Europe with Japan dates, and then a plethora of U.S. stops.

Madison Beer: The Spinnin Tour
Jan. 17 - June 13
UK, Europe, & U.S.

The pop, hip-hop, EDM, and R&B star released Silence Between Songs in 2023; she'll support it with The Spinnin Tour, which heads stateside from Europe across the spring of 2024.

Drake with J.Cole: It's All A Blur - Big As The What?
Jan. 18 - March 27
U.S.

Hip-hop kingpins Drake and J. Cole are headed on a co-headlining tour; some Drake gigs will be J.-Cole-less.

Ana Tijoux
Jan. 18 - April 13
North America, UK, & Europe

Chilean musician Ana Tijoux hasn't undergone a world tour since 2018, but she's about to change that with a run of European gigs following the release of VIDA, her first album in several years. .

Melanie Martinez
Jan. 19 - June 27
North America, Asia & Australia

Alt-popper Melanie Martinez will segue her PORTALS Tour into The Trilogy Tour, which will see her revive her alter ego "Cry Baby." See her, in this persona, in the U.S. and across the pond.

Mitski
Jan. 26 - June 6
UK, Europe, & U.S.

Fresh off the release of The Land is Inhospitable and So Are We, Mitski has announced a jaunt across North America with Tamino, Sunny War, Julia Jacklin, and Sarah Kinsley.

Gloria Trevi: Mi Soundtrack World Tour
Jan. 26 - Sept. 22
U.S.

Known as the "Supreme Diva of Mexican Pop," Gloria Trevi is embarking on a world tour to top off the year, as she has recently announced the first leg.

Tinashe: BB/ANG3L U.S. Tour
Jan. 31 - Feb. 15
U.S.

Actress, dancer and singer Tinashe will support her new album, BB/ANG3L, with a run of mostly East Coast dates.

Militarie Gun
Jan. 31 - June 1
North America

Fresh off a tour with Scowl, hardcore-adjacent, brilliantly melodic punks Militarie Gun continue their rise with a 2024 North American tour.

Mariah The Scientist: To Be Eaten Alive Tour
Feb. 1 - May 4
UK, Europe, & U.S.

R&B favorite Mariah the Scientist has been raring to return to the stage: "I miss hearing my fans scream my lyrics at the top of their lungs. I miss seeing all their faces," Mariah told Rolling Stone. "I miss all the different cities. To my fans, I miss us. I'm so ready to eat you alive." She'll be in Europe and the U.S.

Marc Anthony: Viviendo Tour
Feb. 9 - March 9
North America

Latin and Salsa star Marc Anthony can't hide his excitement for his upcoming tour: "See you in 2024 with many moments to write about," Mark shared in his Instagram tour announcement. "We are going to live nights like no other."

Juanes: Vida Cotidiana World Tour
Feb. 13 - March 30
North America

In support of his Vida Cotidiana album, Colombian rock legend Juanes is making stops around North America to celebrate the project.

Los Angeles Azules: El Amor de mi Vida Tour
Feb. 13 - April 20
U.S.

Marking their epic return to the United States, the Cumbia sibling group are kicking off their tour in support of their upcoming album —which is set to be released this year.

Jon Batiste: UNEASY Tour
Feb. 16 - April 27
U.S.

Five-time GRAMMY winner and 20-time nominee Jon Batiste isn't known as a traditional touring act — extemporaneous solo performances and orchestral works tend to be his jam. That's what makes his upcoming North American tour so enticing — how will this consummate shape-shifter approach the headline-touring model?

Chelsea Cutler: The Beauty Is Everywhere Tour
Feb. 16 - March 30
North America

Singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and engineer Chelsea Cutler has revealed a 2024 headline tour titled The Beauty Is Everywhere Tour, in support of her new album Stellaria.

Red Hot Chili Peppers: Unlimited Love Tour
Feb. 17 - July 30
North America

The veteran rockers are still supporting 2022's Unlimited Love and Return of the Dream Canteen; in 2024, they'll go out with Kid Cudi, Ice Cube, Ken Carson, Otoboke Beaver, Seun Kuti, Wand, and Irontom.

PinkPantheress: Capable of Love Tour
Feb. 20 - April 30
North America, UK & Europe

The TikTok sensation turned pop phenomenon will head out on her Capable of Love Tour, following the release of her debut album Heaven Knows. Rising artists Bktherula and Kanii will join her.

Niall Horan
Feb. 21 - July 31
North America, Europe, & Australia

The Irish singer/songwriter has announced "THE SHOW" LIVE ON TOUR 2024 – his biggest tour yet and first headline run since 2018's Flicker world tour.

Bad Bunny - Most Wanted Tour
Feb. 21 - May 26
U.S.

Bad Bunny's Most Wanted Tour will take him across 47 dates across North America — including three shows in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.

Olivia Rodrigo: 2024 Tour
Feb. 23 - Aug. 14
UK, Europe, & U.S.

Olivia Rodrigo will make a jaunt around the world with support from the Breeders, Chappell Roan and Pink Pantheress.

Sampha: North America 2024 Tour
Feb. 23 - April 14
North America & Australia

South London singer/songwriter Sampha recently released a music video for "Can't Go Back," from his new album, Lahai. With it come North American dates for 2024.

Mon Laferte: Autopoiética Tour
Feb. 29 - June 2
U.S. & Latin America

Chilean artist Mon Laferte's new album, Autopoiética, has been released to a clamorous response. In 2024, she'll bring the music across Latin America and the U.S.

Idles
Feb. 29 - Dec. 7
North America, UK, & Europe

The purveyors of wild-eyed rock have extended their previously announced 2024 international tour with new dates across North America, Mexico, the UK, and Ireland.

Styx & Foreigner: Renegades & Juke Box Heroes Tour
March 1 - Nov. 9
North America

Don't miss this classic rock heroes together, for the last time ever. Check out dates, along with heartfelt statements from both bands.

Nicki Minaj: Pink Friday 2 Tour
March 1 - June 7
UK, Europe, & U.S.

The Harajuku Barbie is back with a new album, Pink Friday 2, which landed Dec. 8. How will tunes like "Super Freaky Girl" and "Last Time I Saw You" translate to the stage? Don't miss her North American and European tour, which stretches from late March to early June.

Danny Brown: Quaranta '24 Tour
March 3 - April 14
North America

The idiosyncratic MC is riding high off the release of his introspective new album, Quaranta. He's heading across North America in support of it.

Don Omar
March 7 - April 21
North America

The reggaeton pioneer has announced he will be back in arenas in 2024 and bringing fans "Back to Reggaeton," a 20-date trek across North America that spans the artist's decades-long career.

Judas Priest: Invisible Shield Tour
March 11 - May 22
Europe, UK, & U.S.

Metal titans Judas Priest are still going strong; they just announced a Spring 2024 U.S. tour with supporting act abaton.

Busta Rhymes
March 13 - April 21
North America

Rap heavyweight Busta Rhymes has announced his Blockbusta Tour, which will bring him across the U.S. and Canada starting in March.

Tim McGraw: 2024 Standing Room Only Tour
March 14 - June 27
U.S.

The country great's upcoming jaunt kicks off on March 14 and will stop through more than 40 cities. Carly Pearce will be a special guest.

Bleachers: From The Studio To The Stage
March 19 - June 15
U.S. & UK

In late spring and early summer 2024, the Jack Antonoff-led rockers are hitting the road in support of their self-titled new album, which arrives March 8.

Tyla
March 21 - May 28
UK, Europe, & U.S.

The unstoppable, GRAMMY-nominated R&B, amapiano singer Tyla will venture across the UK and Europe in spring 2024.

Adam Ant: ANTMUSIC Tour
March 21 - May 11
U.S.

English post-punk and new wave legend Adam Ant is headed out on his ANTMUSIC tour, his first U.S. trek in five years. The day after it wraps up, he'll appear at the Cruel World 2024 festival.

The Slackers
April 4 - April 14
North America

The revered, long-time purveyors of ska, reggae, dub and more have announced a spring tour across the US and Canada.

Alvvays: US Spring Tour 2024
April 4 - Aug. 8
North America, UK, & Europe

The indie darlings will traverse the United States in April and May, then head to Europe in late June for festival dates.

Tate Mcrae: Think Later World Tour
April 17 - Nov 21
North America, UK, Europe, & Australia

Multi-platinum singer/songwriter Tate McRae will support her second album, THINK LATER, with a world tour in 2024.

The Rolling Stones: Hackney Diamonds Tour
April 18 - July 17
North America

If the Rolling Stones' secret NYC show with Lady Gaga was any indication, the Stones' stadium run around Hackney Diamonds — their first album of new material in 18 years — will be one for the books. For now, only stateside shows have been announced, but keep your eyes peeled for an expansion.

Hozier: Unreal Unearth Tour
April 20 - Sept. 17
U.S.

Singer/songwriter Hozier is undertaking a headline tour of the UK and Ireland next summer, supporting his third album Unreal Unearth.

Alanis Morissette with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts: Triple Moon Tour
June 9 - Aug. 10
North America

Two female pioneers are hitting the road, with special guest Morgan Wade. See where they're heading in the U.S. and Canada.

Pink: Summer Carnival Tour 2024
June 11 - Nov. 23
North America, UK, & Europe

Pink will continue to support her new album Trustfall with her Summer Carnival tour, which returns to North America in 2024. 

The Killers
June 12 - July 11
UK & Ireland

The Killers have reached that stage where they're looking back on the hits. Following the recent release of their best-of compilation album Rebels Diamonds, shout along at these UK and Ireland dates.

Def Leppard, Journey, Steve Miller: 2024 Summer Stadium Tour
July 6 - Sept. 8
U.S.

More oldies favorites, banding together for a U.S. stadium tour in 2024: Def Leppard and Journey will be near you soon. In select markets, Heart and Cheap Trick will also appear.

Earth Wind & Fire and Chicago: Heart & Soul Tour 2024
July 10 - Sept. 7
U.S.

These retro, AOR favorites are hitting the road together for the Heart & Soul Tour 2024, including an encore with both bands on stage. Check out the North American dates.

Sepultura: Farewell Tour
Oct. 30 - Nov. 23
UK & Europe

The Brazilian metal heroes are calling it quits — but not before a final trek, just in time for their 40th anniversary.

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