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Exclusive: Sebastian Yatra Teases 2019 Latin GRAMMY Performances & Reveals His Life's Purpose: "To Share Love With People"

Sebastian Yatra 

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Exclusive: Sebastian Yatra Teases 2019 Latin GRAMMY Performances & Reveals His Life's Purpose: "To Share Love With People"

The Colombian singer/songwriter, nominated for Album Of The Year and Song Of The Year, is set to perform at the 20th Annual Latin GRAMMYs on Nov. 14 and at the Person Of The Year ceremony

GRAMMYs/Nov 12, 2019 - 11:35 pm

Rising in the international music world over the last few years, with the release of his 2018 debut MANTRA and 2019's FANTASIA, Sebastian Yatra has shown his vocal versatility, genre rule-breaking mentality and love for collaborations.

In his joint efforts with heavy hitters like Wisin, Carlos Vives and Maná, with whom he sings "No Ha Parado De LLover" (a remake of the iconic Mexican rock group's 1995 song), Yatra has embraced reggaeton, pop and rock ballads, and those are only a few of the genres that make up the Colombian-born, Miami-raised singer/songwriter's song collection. It's clear that Yatra isn't subscribing to one genre or sound on his way to the top—he already boasts Latin GRAMMY nominations (he was up for Best New Artist in 2018) and top spots on the Billboard 200 and Top Latin Albums charts. 

"I think genres are becoming less existent," he recently told the Recording Academy, just days ahead of the 2019 Latin GRAMMYs. "You see artists that are making all kinds of music. What we are making is good music, good songs."

It may be Yatra's gut feeling about good music that has earned him nominations in the major categories at the upcoming Latin GRAMMYs, airing on Univision Nov.14. The "Un Año" singer, who is also set to perform at the show and again at the Person Of The Year ceremony (honoring fellow Colombian singer Juanes), is up for Album Of The Year and Song Of The Year. He's also up for Best Pop Album.

The nomimations are something he still can't believe: "You tell me [I'm nominated], and it seems like a lie," he says humbly. 

Although still early in his career, ultimately Yatra wants to follow in the footsteps of some of Latin America's most romantic balladeers, including Sin Bandera and Camila, and chose his Latin GRAMMY-nominated album FANTASIA, filled with ballads about love, to showcase that.

The Recording Academy caught up with Yatra before the Latin GRAMMYs to talk more about his nominated album, his latest single with Maná, his nominations and performances, his sustainability docuseries El Poder De Los Centennials and more.

You covered "No Ha Parado De Llover" at Person of the Year a year ago. How was it for you to give new life to this song now with Maná?

It is the greatest honor for me to be next to my favorite band, which I think is the greatest Latin band in history. It is also a great learning experience for me because beyond being great musicians, they are even greater humans. For me, there are two iconic bands who are legends for Latinos: Maná and Soda Stereo.

Being able to live this experience with Maná is something that if you told me [would happen] five years ago, a year ago, I wouldn't believe it. Last year I had the opportunity to sing "No Ha Parado De Llover" in front of them at Person of the Year [and] you can't imagine how nervous and excited I was. We decided to put our touch on the song so that they would listen to something different from what they had already heard and what they had sung all their lives. Keeping the essence of the song, but putting a very personal touch of mine. I would never have imagined that they would like it so much, they would want to record it together. That is just what we did. The song is great, many people like it. I'm going to start playing it during my shows, of course. I love [the band] a lot and [they] are an example for me to follow in every way. I always keep in touch with Fher [Olvera] about life, we talk about God, talk about spirituality, talk about the way he sees things, which is very special.

As a singer-songwriter, what do you like about this song in particular?

There are many phrases in the song that are special. I like that it is a song that allows any performer to enjoy it because it has very singable melodies. It is one of those songs that is also objectively very good, but you also listen to it with all your heart. Because I grew up listening to this song, you put it on and I'm filled with beautiful nostalgia, it also reminds me of moments, it reminds me of people.

RELATED: 20th Latin GRAMMYs:  Alejandro And Vicente Fernandez, Sebastian Yatra And More Announced As Performers

You have several great musical collaborations. What do you like about singing with other artists?

I like that you have the opportunity to get out of your comfort zone, perhaps. When you sing alone, no matter how much you are inventing new things or experimenting, it's just your mind and the people with whom you're writing with, but when there is another voice, there is another way of interpreting, other sounds, and you mix that, something different always comes out, something that people have not heard before. [Something] innovative.

You're an artist who moves fluidly through genre and singing style. In your opinion, does genre still exist?

I think genres are becoming less existent. You see artists that are making all kinds of music. What we are making is good music, good songs. Be a ballad, be salsa, be reggaeton, be an opera, whatever it is. It is about understanding where one is doing well and where one can transmit and where one's essence is and where one feels comfortable and where perhaps not. I have explored many genres. There are some that have been better than others, but I always try to put my essence on the track, on the arrangement we are making.

This year, you're nominated for Latin GRAMMY Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year, Pop Album Of The Year. How are you feeling?

You tell me [I'm nominated], and it seems like a lie. Especially those two main categories, Album Of The Year and Song Of The Year. I made FANTASIA with the great hope that it would be an album that could remain in people's hearts for the rest of their lives. I think it's an album that people have listened to and have made songs their own. These songs can stay with them forever. It is an album made only of ballads, a big risk because we live in an era where what leads mainly is the urbano [genre].
 
These songs, thank God, are the ones that have really changed my life. Not only because they have helped my professional growth, but they have really helped me fulfill the purpose that I have in life, which is to share love with people, to generate something beautiful, to leave them something that unites them. Songs like"Un Año," songs like "Cristina," songs like "En Guerra," which is the official song of the foundation of Pope Francis and speaks to people with insecurities, who look in the mirror and only see imperfections, when none of that is imperfection, we are all perfect because God made us that way and we are all a piece of God.
 
Why take a risk with ballads?
 
It seems like a risk, but for me it was the opposite. It was not only being true to my essence and who I am, but the songs that I think have been the most successful in my career. For example, you listen to a song like "No Hay Nadie Mas," which I put out last year, and is a ballad with guitar and vocals, it has 750 million views on YouTube, a ballad. Those are numbers that one would never expect for a ballad. For example, the composer [Omar Alfanno] asked me, "Who wrote that song? 'No Hay Nadie Mas'?" And I said, "I wrote it." He said, "It can't be."
Seriously? I congratulate you."
 
For me, that song is like an infinite journey flying over the clouds. That those songs be the theme for people's marriages, be the songs they dedicate in their most important moments of life, be the songs that help them overcome a difficult situation, be songs that heal them. For example, "Un Año" with the whole theme of people who have had to leave their home. "En Guerra," "Cristina," for people with relationships that are impossible. Right now I just released "Oye" with my girlfriend TINI, and it is a song that is going spectacular, thank God.
 
It is also that kind of song that stays with people and follows them. It's like when you listen to Sin Bandera or Camila songs or Reik songs, Maná songs, Juanes songs, who this year is Person of the Year, and so many artists with those ballads, with those lyrics that in 20 years, 30 years we will continue listening and will continue to make us feel the same.

With everything happening in politics and with the environment, do you think that your songs can help people feel a little better?

I think so, and I think we are doing it. We are in a complicated moment for the whole world. In fact, I have just made a docuseries called El Poder De Los Centennials. I believe that as an artist one also has the responsibility and opportunity to reach people, not only through songs, but also through our words, day-to-day actions and the other things that one can do. This docuseries creates awareness for young people, for adults, and for all of us so we can work as a team to make this world more sustainable. That [we] can't only be aware that the world is going through a bad time, but that every day we do something as individuals to improve or not continue to be detrimental. It talks a lot about sustainability, I invite you to see it. It's something very nice that I did with [Colombian financial institution] Bancolombia.

Going back to the Latin GRAMMYs, what can you tell us about your performance?

I can tell you that I will be at Person Of The Year honoring Juanes. I will be singing, not once, but a couple of times at the awards show, so that has me stuck on the ceiling of happiness. [I'm] grateful to the Latin GRAMMYs who have supported us so much this year. Also with the Latin GRAMMYs foundation, which we have partnered with this year in several very special events. We gifted instruments to talented children in a school in Miami. The idea is to be able to continue growing with the Latin GRAMMYs over the years and to continue learning, and always [fostering] youth with respect towards music, towards the lyrics and trying to give them the best always.
 
Do you think you'll be nervous this year?
 
There are always nerves, always.
 
What are you up to after the Latin GRAMMYs?
 
I am finishing my tour this year, which is the Yatra Yatra Tour. It's been going spectacular, thank God. We did two sold-out dates at the National Auditorium in Mexico, a giant tour throughout Mexico. We have just finished four dates at Luna Park this year in Argentina, sold-out too, and many shows in South America. We did the sold-out Movistar Arena in Chile, the Antel Arena in Uruguay also sold out. It is very crazy that so many people make the effort to go to our shows and buy a ticket. I appreciate that from my soul and I also grateful to these ballads and these songs that are from the heart.
 
I was just in Colombia, in my country. I sang in La Macarena, my show also in Medellín, which was full. We did two full nights in Bogotá, at the Movistar Arena. We have also been to Ecuador, we have been with Nissan on the Road to Innovation Tour in the United States last week. I just arrived from Spain from some awards we had there with Los 40. The plan for the rest of the year is to go to Brazil for the first time to promote my music and a concert that I have there. I will be with several releases preparing the show next year, because I want to prepare a completely new show for next year.
This interview has been translated to English

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Tyga Talks Inspiration Behind "Go Loko" & Collaborating With L.A. Rappers Like YG

Tyga 

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Tyga Talks Inspiration Behind "Go Loko" & Collaborating With L.A. Rappers Like YG

"Growing up in L.A., it's a really big culture here, Mexican culture," the rapper said. "So we really wanted to do something to give back to the culture."

GRAMMYs/Jun 8, 2019 - 04:16 am

Tyga's latest collab has him paying tribute to Los Angeles' large Mexican community. The rapper is featured on fellow L.A. rapper YG's  leading single, "Go Loko" off his latest album 4REAL 4REAL and when asked about his take on the song, he says much of it was inspired by Mexico's cultural impact. 

"Growing up in L.A., it's a really big culture here," he said. "Even YG could tell you, he grew up around all Mexicans, so we really wanted to do something to give back to the culture."

The video features visuals and symbolisms inpired by the Mexican community, including mariachi, but also by the Puerto Rican community (you'll easily spot the boricua flag). The song also features Puerto Rican rapper Jon Z. Tyga mentioned the diversity of Latinos on the different coasts and wanted to make a song that also celebrates the different Latin cultures in the country. "We wanted to do something different to kinda try to bring all Latins together," he said. 

Watch the video above to hear more about the song and the vibe when he joins forces with other L.A. rapppers. 

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Quarantine Diaries: ARI Is Cuddling With Her Cat, Making Her Own Tea & Preparing For Her Debut 'IDIOT GRL' EP Release

ARI

Photo: Nicole Davis

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Quarantine Diaries: ARI Is Cuddling With Her Cat, Making Her Own Tea & Preparing For Her Debut 'IDIOT GRL' EP Release

As the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic continues to rock the music industry, the Recording Academy reached out to a few musicians to see how they were spending their days indoors

GRAMMYs/Aug 12, 2020 - 02:59 am

As the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic continues to rock the music industry, the Recording Academy reached out to a few musicians to see how they were spending their days indoors. Today, rising singer/songwriter ARI shares her quarantine diary. ARI's debut IDIOT GRL EP is out Aug. 14.

[9:40 a.m.] A late start to the day. I just woke up to my cat Malakai licking my face and snuggling under my chin, desperate for cuddles. I reluctantly gave in before diving into my morning routine, which starts by going through all of the daily news on my Snapchat feed to see what’s going on in the world.

[11 a.m.] Just out of the shower and into the kitchen for the usual: tea and avocado toast. I don’t typically like tea or coffee, but I had this amazing tea from Starbucks once and fell in love with it. I ended up finding the recipe and making it myself, and to be honest, I like my version better. Once I boil the kettle, I start part two of my morning “meditation”: watching one of my favourite shows while I respond to emails. With the IDIOT GRL EP coming out next week, I can tell you there are a TON of emails. I turned on "Gilmore Girls" (my guilty pleasure) and opened up my laptop to go through my calendar.

[1:45 p.m.] Recording session time. Zoom calls have become my everyday life. It’s crazy to think that this time last year, you could actually be in a room with people. Now the most social interaction I get is virtually. On the positive side, I get to set up my little home studio from the comfort of my own bed and I find the sessions to be really productive with no outside distractions.

[3:30 p.m.] Malakai is meowing at my door. As I try to sing over him, eventually I can’t ignore his cute little voice. We take a quick break and I have a little playtime with him. I can hear my song playing in the living room—it still weirds me out hearing myself. My guess is my roommate aka my manager is sending off final approval for the “IDIOT GRL” music video, which comes out the same day as the EP. Super excited for everyone to finally see it!

[6:00 p.m.] Time for dinner. It may just be my favourite part of the day. During my session, my roommate cooked us some delicious pasta. We eat dinner together every night, which is really nice. Usually, after dinner, we wind down and watch TV, but we decided to try doing an arts and crafts project tonight. I watched this TikTok video of a DIY way to make music plaques. You take a screenshot of a song on Spotify and use a marker to trace out the name of the song, artist, play button, etc. Once that’s done, you simply add the album artwork of your choice, frame it, and voila! I thought it would be a cool idea to make a wall of each of the songs off of my EP.

[9:00 p.m.] After an eventful day, I decided to go watch a drive-in Maple Leafs game (wearing a mask, of course). My sister works for the TSN network and started hosting drive-in game nights to promote the network and social distancing events. I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest hockey fan, but I’ll never pass up an opportunity to spend time with my family.

[11:30 p.m.] I finally get home and hop straight into bed. I feel like I haven’t spent much time on Instagram today, so figured I’d open it up before getting some shuteye. I launched the pre-save link for the EP today and told my followers that I would DM anyone who pre-saved it and sent me a screenshot. I always love getting to interact with my fans and I can’t tell you how grateful I am to see how excited people are for my debut EP. It’s a great feeling to end the day with.

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EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE: Mexican Institute Of Sound Takes Gaby Moreno Into New Musical Territory With Mystifying "Yemayá"

Gaby Moreno 

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EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE: Mexican Institute Of Sound Takes Gaby Moreno Into New Musical Territory With Mystifying "Yemayá"

Listen to the synth-infused track blending pop and Latin sounds that's named after the Afro-Carribean goddess who represents fertility, water and self-love

GRAMMYs/Jun 25, 2020 - 08:56 pm

Anything Mexican Institute Of Sound (MIS), a.k.a Camilo Lara, touches turns into musical gold. The Mexican producer and artist proves that with celebrated GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter Gaby Moreno in "Yemayá."

Moreno, whose soothing voice we have heard magically adapt to a range of genres including Americana, Latin folk and R&B, continues exploring her creative range this time with GRAMMY-nominated Lara in the synth-infused, mystifying track blending pop and Latin sounds. The catchy song about the overpowering feeling of love is named after the Afro-Carribean goddess who represents fertility, water and self-love.

Moreno told the Recording Academy she and Lara wanted to capture the deity's essence in their collaboration:

"She's a powerful woman of color taking all forms. It's a universal theme and we wanted to incorporate this mysterious and mystic figure into the song, since it's part of the folklore of many different cultures." 

The song, which Lara brought to Moreno and was written in one day in 2019 at Red Bull Studios, takes Moreno into new territory. 

"I’ve been a big admirer of [Lara's] work and esthetic and the way he blends Latin folk music with electronic and hip hop. I come from a fairly different musical background, having very rarely experimented with synths and those kinds of sounds, so this was a really fun and different collaboration for me," she said. "I got to step out of my comfort zone and bring forth something a bit unusual but very much enjoyable, nonetheless."

The Guatemalan singer/songwriter will also soon be releasing "Fire Inside," a song she wrote with Andrew Bissell. The song has already been featured on ABC’s "Station 19", TLC’s promo "I Am Jazz," UK’s "Free Rein," NBC’s "American Ninja Warrior" and recently on YouTube’s "Dear Class of 2020."

Moreno is also working on an upcoming album she will produce herself and is also producing other artists. 

Listen to "Yemayá" in full above. 

Save The Date: The 2020 Latin GRAMMY Nominations Will Be Announced September 29

17th Latin GRAMMYs Slated For Nov. 17

Photo: Rodrigo Varela/WireImage.com

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17th Latin GRAMMYs Slated For Nov. 17

The Biggest Night in Latin Music returns to Las Vegas at T-Mobile Arena; Latin GRAMMY nominations to be announced Sept. 21

GRAMMYs/Jul 6, 2016 - 03:00 pm

The 17th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards will take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Thursday, Nov. 17, and will broadcast live on the Univision Network from 8–11 p.m. ET/PT (7 p.m. Central). The Road To The Latin GRAMMYs will kick off with the announcement of this year's nominees on Sept. 21.

Latin GRAMMY Week will launch Nov. 15 with the third annual En La Mezcla, an event spotlighting nominees in the producing and engineering fields. On Nov. 16 The Latin Recording Academy will host the Special Awards Presentation, which honors Lifetime Achievement and Trustees Award recipients, followed by the 2016 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year gala.

Wrapping the week will be the highly anticipated Latin GRAMMY Premiere — where 85 percent of the Latin GRAMMY Awards will be presented live on LatinGRAMMY.com — leading into the 17th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards telecast. Culminating the excitement is the Official Latin GRAMMY After-Party following the telecast on Nov. 17.

For more information, follow The Latin Recording Academy on Twitter and Facebook.