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The Latin GRAMMYs Add New Categories, Including Reggaeton, For 2020 Show

Reggaeton, hip-hop and pop/rock get their big day at The Latin GRAMMYs

GRAMMYs/Apr 3, 2020 - 03:35 am

The Latin Recording Academy has added three new categories, including a reggaeton category, ahead of the 21st Latin GRAMMY Awards in the fall.

The Latin Academy sent a letter to members and record labels last week regarding the online entry process that is to begin in April. Winners of the new categories will be announced during the 2020 show later this year.

Two of the categories, Best Reggaeton Performance and Best Rap/ Hip Hop Song, which will include trap, will be under the Urban field. A third category, Best Pop/Rock Song, will be under the Rock field. Previously there was only a Best Pop/Rock Album category.

Additionally, it was announced that submissions will now be accepted via streaming links. 

The Latin Recording Academy said it decided to not send a press release to media due to the current sensitive atmosphere that has emerged due to the coronavirus pandemic. The new additions were made after receiving feedback from members, the Latin GRAMMYS said in a statement:

“Following our mission to nurture and elevate Latin music and its makers, and after multiple meetings and feedback from our members, we are thrilled our Board of Trustees approved some modifications to our Awards Process, including the creation of new categories. While The Latin Recording Academy’s main concern is everyone's health and safety during these extraordinary times, we are excited to announce these new categories in addition to the launch of our Online Entry Process that reduces physical interaction. These changes follow our ongoing commitment to honor excellence in Latin music and, unless there are new health measures to adopt, we look forward to celebrating our 21st Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards® this year."

The announcement is major news for reggaeton and trap artists, who in past award shows could be honored under three umbrella Urban fields: Best Urban Fusion/Performance, Best Urban Music Album and Best Urban Song. 

Artists like Latin GRAMMY winner and GRAMMY-nominated J Balvin, have paid tribute to reggaeton, a genre that has risen in popularity worldwide the last few years, in past shows. During the 2018 Latin GRAMMY Awards show, Balvin sent a message of the genre's reach and power when he accepted his award for Best Urban Music Album.

"Let's not kill the dreams of the new producers that are coming up, the new songwriters that are coming up. Value the young blood that is coming because we are the future of music," he said.

  Rewind: Watch Jennifer Lopez Crown Marc Anthony 2016 Latin GRAMMY Person Of The Year

Bellakath performs during Flow Fest 2023 in Mexico City
Bellakath performs during Flow Fest 2023 in Mexico City

Photo: Jaime Nogales

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7 Artists Bringing Reggaeton Mexa To The World: El Malilla, Bellakath & More

Pulling from the genre's underground roots in Puerto Rico, these fast-rising reggaeton Mexa artists infuse their own culture and grit into a globally-appealing sound.

GRAMMYs/Jul 22, 2024 - 01:21 pm

Música Mexicana isn't the only sound of Mexico that's blowing up; the country's artists are now starting to make their mark in reggaeton. Imbued with the essence, swagger, and lingo of Mexico, reggaeton Mexa is the next big Latin sound that's going global.

Originating in the Caribbean, reggaeton evolved from Panama’s reggae en español and Jamaican dancehall of the 1980s. Puerto Rican acts like DJ Playero and DJ Nelson shaped the sound of reggaeton in the island's underground scene during the '90s, while Daddy Yankee, Tego Calderón, Don Omar, and Ivy Queen pushed the genre into the mainstream at the dawn of the new millennium. 

Boricua acts Tainy, Bad Bunny, and Ozuna pushed reggaeton into the next decade, though Colombia also brought about the genre's second wind. J Balvin's success solidified Medellín as a reggaeton hotbed, spawning Maluma, Karol G, and Feid as global stars.

Learn more: The Sonic And Cultural Evolution Of Reggaeton In 10 Songs

In the 2020s, Mexico is becoming the next hub for reggaeton as artists who grew up listening to the Puerto Rican OGs  — as well as Mexican acts Ghetto Kids and Pablito Mix — are now putting their own stamp on the genre. In late 2022, Bellakath put a spotlight on reggaeton Mexa with her viral hit "Gatita"; the following year, Yng Lvcas took the sound to new heights with his "La Bebé" remix featuring Peso Pluma, which reached No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. 

Reggaeton Mexa pulls from the genre's underground roots in Puerto Rico, infusing its songs with Mexican culture and grit. Lyrics are full of Mexican slang that reflect life in the barrios.

"Reggaeton Mexa is reminiscent of the sounds of the '90s and 2000s from Puerto Rican DJs like Playero and Joe," El Mallila, one of the reggaeton Mexa leaders, tells GRAMMY.com. "The songs, the beats, and rhythms are more or less similar to that flow. The difference here is the Mexican jargon. Reggaeton Mexa is spicy. We play with Mexican profanities without being offensive."

The emerging genre has gained traction among the larger reggaeton community with Jowell y Randy, Maldy, and J Balvin recently featuring on their songs. Following the success of Yng Lvcas, Bellakath, and El Malilla, Mexican acts like Peso Pluma (who dedicated part of his Éxodo album to reggaeton) and pop star Kenia Os are embracing the wave. As the tide continues to rise for reggaeton Mexa, GRAMMY.com is highlighting seven of the sound's leading artists.

Yng Lvcas

Guadalajara, Jalisco native Yng Lvcas noted that no one around him could name a Mexican reggaeton artist, so he decided to fill that void.

An early encounter would make for auspicious beginnings. As he was signing a record contract with Warner early last year, Yng Lvcas crossed paths with Peso Pluma. The música Mexicana star's first foray in reggaeton was with Yng Lvcas and their global hit, a sensual remix of "La Bebé." Their collaboration became the first reggaeton song by Mexican artists to enter the Hot 100 chart.

Last October, Yng Lvcas released his album Super Estrellas to put a spotlight on more reggaeton Mexa acts. The LP included songs with El Malilla and El Bogueto. Puerto Rican OG Maldy later teamed up with Yng Lvcas for the hypnotic "Diviértete."

Bellakath

The first artist to get the global conversation started about reggaeton Mexa was Bellakath. After earning a law degree from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the Mexico City native became a social media personality. Bellakath leveraged her following to start her music career, which exploded in late 2022 with the frisky "Gatita." The song went viral on TikTok and the music video has over 144 million views on YouTube.

In the male-dominated reggaeton Mexa scene, Bellakath is continuing to keep women on top. Last year, she released her debut album Kittyponeo with the hit "Reggaeton Champagne" featuring Dani Flow. After signing with Warner in May, Bellakath dropped "Sandunguea," which sampled the reggaeton classic "Mayor Que Yo" by Luny Tunes. On July 15, Bellakath released her second album, Sata 42, where she ventured into dembow music with artists from the Dominican Republic. 

Learn more: 5 Women Essential To Reggaeton: Ivy Queen, Natti Natasha, Karol G, Ms Nina & Mariah Angeliq

El Malilla

El Malilla proudly represents the chakalones (Mexican slang for "bad boys") in reggaeton Mexa. Hailing from Valle de Chalco, El Malilla remembers his first encounter with reggaeton as a teen came from the pirated CDs that were sold at the tianguis, or open-air markets.

Now, El Malilla is bringing Mexico's version of reggaeton to the forefront. He recently released his debut album ÑEROSTARS, which includes his viral hit "B de Bellako" with Yeyo. Back in May, Puerto Rican OGs Jowell y Randy jumped on a remix of the quirky banger. 

El Malilla also wants to make reggaeton Mexa more inclusive. Reggaeton has historically excluded LGBTQIA+ folks, though queer artists such as Young Miko, Villano Antillano, and La Cruz are changing that tune. On the Mexican front, El Malilla wanted to be an ally to his queer fans with the 2000-inspired "Rebote" music video, which was shot at the gay club Spartacus with Mexican drag queens. 

Within his album, El Malilla is also stretching the bounds of his artistry by exploring merengue in "Coronada" and experimenting with house music in "Todo Tiene Su Final." "ÑEROSTARS is a call to all the reggaeton Mexa artists to dare themselves to make new music and try different sounds," he says. "Don’t stay in your comfort zone just making perreo."

Yeri Mua

Veracruz native Yeri Mua is keeping a high heel firmly planted on the neck of the genre, holding it down for the women in reggaeton Mexa.

Mua started out doing makeup tutorials on YouTube and later grew a massive social media following. Last year, she launched her music career on Uzielito Mix's reggaeton romp "Línea del Perreo," which has over 103 million streams on Spotify. In songs like "Chupon," Mua brings a fierce femininity to reggaeton Mexa while flipping the genre's explicit lyrics from a woman's perspective. In April, Kenia Os tapped Mua and Ghetto Kids for her reggaeton Mexa banger "Mamita Rica." With a laugh, Os told GRAMMY.com at the time, "[Mua] sounds very sexy and makes noises like meowing. It felt very great to work with her." Last month, Mua signed a record contract with Sony Music México.

El Bogueto

Alongside El Malilla, El Bogueto is one of the OGs of reggaeton Mexa. The Nezahualcóyotl native has scored a number of hits since 2021, including "Tu Favo" and "G Low Kitty," which has nearly 60 million streams on Spotify.

The title of El Bogueto's 2023 debut album Reggaetoñerito is an amalgamation of the words reggaetonero and ñero, which is Mexican slang for a person from the hood. El Bogueto has continued to rack up millions of streams with his LP, which include hits like the freaky reggaeton romp "Piripituchy" and "Dale Bogueto." In May, J Balvin gave his co-sign to El Bogueto and the reggaeton Mexa scene when he jumped on an all-star remix of "G Low Kitty."

Yeyo

Among the artists on this list, Yeyo is the freshest one on the reggaeton Mexa scene, but he's fast becoming one of the genre's brightest stars and the go-to artist for a hit collaboration. The Zacatepec, Morelos native is a protege of Ghetto Kids' Luis Díaz, who also serves as his manager.

Yeyo's playful and infectious flow as a Mexican reggaetonero has translated into million of streams in songs like "B de Bellako" with El Malilla and "Mami Chakalosa" alongside Bellakath. He has also flexed a romantic side to his distinct voice in Ghetto Kids' recent hit "En El Ghetto #5 (La Discoteca)." Yeyo has also shined on the electronica-leaning reggaeton of "Maldad" and the sensual "Tentación."

Uzielito Mix

Many of the songs mentioned in this list wouldn't have been possible without Uzielito Mix. Following in the footsteps of Ghetto Kids and Pablito Mix, the Mexico City-based producer has become the backbone of the sound of reggaeton Mexa. Uzielito Mix produced Yeri Mua's hits like "Línea del Perreo" and "Brattiputy." He also co-produced El Bogueto and El Mallila's "G Low Kitty" with DJ Rockwell, which J Balvin later hopped on. 

In his stellar collaborations, Uzielito Mix is known for uniting many of the reggaeton Mexa stars. He continues to push the sound of the genre into the future like in the spooky "Espantan" remix with El Bogueto, Alnz G, Dani Flow, and Tensec. In 2022, Bad Bunny tapped Uzielito Mix to open his World's Hottest Tour stops in Mexico City. 

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Peso Plum press photo
Peso Pluma

Photo: Arenovski

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Peso Pluma's Road To 'ÉXODO': The GRAMMY Winner Navigates The Consequences Of Global Stardom On New Album

"Fans really get to see the other side of the coin; there are two sides to me. It's darker, rawer," Peso Pluma says of his latest album 'ÉXODO'

GRAMMYs/Jun 21, 2024 - 01:13 pm

Peso Pluma marked his musical destiny with a Tupac tribute tattoo in the center of his clavicle: "All Eyez On Me." 

The Mexican artist, born Hassan Emilio Kabande Laija, doesn't remember exactly what year he inked his chest. He knows it was well before his debut in music. Those four words reflected Peso's irrefutable confidence that the world's eyes would eventually be on him. 

The world's eyes are indeed on Peso Pluma. In less than two years, the singer achieved global fame by singing corridos tumbados, traversing a path never before trodden by a música Mexicana artist. 

At 25, Peso Pluma is at the forefront of a new generation of música Mexicana artists that have successfully modernized traditional Mexican rhythms, such as corridos, by infusing them with elements from urban music and a hip-hop aesthetic. The weight of representing an entire genre and a country could be great for some. But pressure doesn't affect Peso Pluma; on the contrary, it motivates him to keep working to exalt his roots. 

"We've come a long way, but we still have a long way to go. And that doesn't mean we have to slow down; it doesn't mean everything is over. This is the beginning of everything," Peso Pluma said in a TikTok video before a performance at the Toyota Arena in Ontario, Canada, a little over a year ago. 

Out June 20, Peso's extensive new album ÉXODO seeks to cement his global star status further. Over 24 tracks, the singer continues to explore corridos tumbados and digs into his urban side via much-awaited collaborations with reggaeton and hip-hop icons. Among those big names is Peso's teenage idol, the American rapper and producer Quavo, as well as further afield collaborations with Cardi B.  

"ÉXODO is a project I've been working on for over a year before we even won the GRAMMY. GÉNESIS was an incredibly special project, and I knew we couldn't make the same diamond twice," the singer tells GRAMMY.com in a written interview. 

Peso Pluma's path to the global stage has been lightning-fast. While he started releasing songs in 2020, Peso will remember March 2023 as the month that propelled him into global mega-stardom. His collaboration with Eslabón Armado on "Ella Baila Sola" led him to become a household name outside his native Mexico.  

The hit resonated with an audience eager for new sounds, accompanying social media videos and surpassing a billion streams on Spotify. "Ella Baila Sola" became the first Mexican music track to top the platform's global chart. On Billboard, it conquered No. 1 on the magazine's Global 200 chart for six weeks and reached the coveted No. 4 spot on the Hot 100 chart. The mega-hit took Peso Pluma and Eslabon Armado to make their Latin GRAMMY stage debut in November with an electrifying performance.  

Another collaboration, "La Bebe (Remix)" with Mexican reggaeton artist Yng Lvcas, released a day after "Ella Baila Sola," also contributed to Peso Pluma's virality in a completely different genre, but one in which he feels comfortable: urban music. 

Learn more: Peso Pluma's 10 Biggest Collabs: From "Bzrp Sessions" To "Ella Baila Sola" &"Igual Que Un Ángel" 

As Peso Pluma gained traction with a global audience, his February 2022 single with Raúl Vega, put him, for better or worse, on the map in Mexico. The warlike content of "El Belicón" lyrics and video clip attracted attention for the way it allegedly promoted narcoculture. 

Despite growing criticism, Peso Pluma remained tight-lipped regarding references to high-profile members of the Mexican drug trade, as well as drug use and trafficking. In a rare admission to GQ magazine, the singer explained this is a "delicate subject to talk about, but you have to touch on it with transparency — because it's the reality of things." 

"In hip-hop, in rap, just like in corridos, and other urban music like reggaeton, it talks about reality. We're not promoting delinquency at all. We're only talking about things that happen in real life," the singer explained.

With the success of "El Belicón" and "Ella Baila Sola" under his belt, Peso Pluma released GÉNESIS in June 2023. Despite being his third album, Peso considers it his true debut in music. 

"I didn't want to delete my previous albums [Efectos Secundario and Ah Y Que?] because they represent my beginnings," Peso told Billboard in a cover story published a few weeks after the release of GÉNESIS. In the same conversation, the singer said he saw himself winning his first GRAMMY and breaking more records. 

Read more: 5 Takeaways From Peso Pluma's New Album 'GÉNESIS' 

In February 2024, Peso Pluma did just that. He took home the golden gramophone for Best Música Mexicana Album (Including Tejano) his first GRAMMY Award. This victory didn't weigh on him as he approached his next production. "It pushed me to want to create something different that the fans haven't heard from me before," Peso Pluma tells GRAMMY.com. 

While GÉNESIS and ÉXODO may differ in substance, they share similarities beyond music. That both records pull from the Bible for their names is not a random occurrence; the opening book of the Hebrew and Christian Bible delves into the genesis of creation, while the Book of Exodus explores the themes of liberation, redemption, and Moses' role in leading the Israelites through the uncharted waters of the Red Sea. 

"ÉXODO is the continuation of GÉNESIS, which was the beginning," Peso Pluma explains to GRAMMY.com. "ÉXODO means new beginnings, a new era for me. We are preparing for the next chapter, and that's what we are doing for Mexican music, paving the way, laying the groundwork for what's next because it doesn't stop here."  

His "sophomore" album is divided into two discs: the first is corridos, and the second is urban. It also continues the line of collaborations, with twenty tracks where Peso Pluma shares the limelight. 

"Some of my fans were craving música Mexicana, and some were craving urbano, and I wanted to give them everything while still staying true to myself and choosing songs and lyrics that spoke to me," he continues.  

ÉXODO's disc one starts with "LA DURANGO," the album's fourth single, featuring Eslabon Armando and Junior H. In the record, he also invites collaborators such as Natanael Cano and Gabito Ballesteros for "VINO TINTO" and Mexican rising star Ivan Cornejo on the melancholic "RELOJ," among others. 

For Side B, Peso enlisted heavyweights from the urban genre in the Anglo and Latin markets: Anitta in the steamy "BELLAKEO," Rich The Kid in the bilingual "GIMME A SECOND," and Quavo in the existential trap "PA NO PENSAR." Cardi B, Arcángel, Ryan Castro, Kenia OS, and DJ Snake complete ÉXODO's genre crossover. 

In ÉXODO, luxury, drugs, alcohol, and women continue to take center stage in the lyrics, accompanied by fast-paced guitar-driven melodies and reverb-dense vocals. However, the production sheds light on the vulnerable side of Peso and explores the unexpected consequences of becoming globally famous. 

"Fans really get to see the other side of the coin; there are two sides to me. It's darker, rawer," Peso says about the record. 

In the songs "HOLLYWOOD" and "LA PATRULLA," for example, Peso details how this musical path keeps him up at night, as well as his aspirations, and how he remains the same despite his success. 

Perhaps one of the deepest and rawest songs on the album is "14:14," a track inspired by the Bible verse 14:14 from the Book of Exodus, which, the singer explains, was fundamental amidst the turbulence he faced on the way to global stardom. 

"[The] verse 14:14 says 'The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.' This verse couldn't be truer," Peso Pluma says. "Over time, I learned to really trust in this and believe that some things are not up to me and I should trust the process."  

In the song — one of the few on the album without a collaboration — Peso references the challenges of his profession and how his faith has kept him afloat amid the vicissitudes. "Things from the job that no one understands/I hide the rosary under my shirt so I don't poison myself, so I don't feel guilty/because whatever happens, the Boss will forgive me," he sings.

In "BRUCE WAYNE," Peso Pluma croons about the passionate feelings his career arouses: "First they love you, and then they hate you/wishing the worst, envy and death," the song says. 

The singer resorts to comparing himself to a superhero figure again. In an unusual twist, Peso crosses comic universes, moving from his now traditional reference to Spider-Man to one from the DC Comics world: Bruce Wayne, Batman's secret identity. A wealthy man, part of Gotham's high society, Bruce Wayne is known for transforming his darkness into power while remaining reserved and isolated.  

"Everyone has two sides of them, even me," Peso tells GRAMMY.com. "Peso Pluma on stage is a high-energy person, someone who is powerful and dominates a show and isn't afraid of anything. And then there is Hassan, who's chill and more relaxed and who deals with all the realities of life." 

During the year and a half it took him to complete ÉXODO, Peso Pluma had to deal with the diverse nuances of a global star's life, including a widely publicized breakup from Argentine rapper/singer Nicki Nicole, the cancellation of one of his shows in October 2023 after a Mexico drug cartel issued a death threat against him, and a media frenzy over his alleged admission to a rehabilitation clinic, the latest a rumor he laid to rest during a March interview with Rolling Stone for his Future of Music cover story. 

"The reality is, all these days, I've been in the studio working on ÉXODO," the artist explained to Rolling Stone. 

Most of 2023 was a successful balancing act for Peso Pluma, who combined touring, an album release, rare media engagements, two Coachella appearances, all the while developing another record. According to the singer, ÉXODO was created in Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Mexico. "We go to the studio everywhere!" Peso says. "It doesn't really matter where we are; I love to get into the studio and work when we have free time." 

Like GÉNESIS, ÉXODO will be released via Peso Pluma's Double P Records, of which he is the CEO and A&R. Much of the talent the Mexican singer has signed to his label took part in the album's production, and songwriting process. 

"For the Mexican music side, I had the whole [touring] band with me; I like to have them involved in the process so that we can all give our input on how it sounds, discuss what we think needs to be changed, create new ideas," he explains. 

Peso Pluma knows that echoing the success of 2023 is no easy task. He was the most streamed artist in the U.S. on YouTube, surpassing Taylor Swift and Bad Bunny, and was the second most-listened to Latin artist in the country, amassing an impressive 1.9 billion streams, according to Luminate. 

Música Mexicana emerged as one of the most successful genres in 2023, witnessing a remarkable 60 percent surge in streaming numbers, adds Luminate's annual report, crediting Peso Pluma along Eslabon Armado, Junior H, and Fuerza Regida as part of this success. 

Collaborations on and off the mic have undoubtedly played a significant role in the rise of Música Mexicana on the global stage. Peso knows that the key to continuing onward is teaming up with renowned artists inside and outside his genre. 

"All of us coming together is what pushed música Mexicana to go global," the singer affirms. "We showed the world what Mexico has to offer, and now no one can deny the power and talent we have in our country."  

Shakira's Road To 'Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran': How Overcoming A Breakup Opened A New Chapter In Her Artistry 

Álvaro Díaz Embraces Love Lost On 'Sayonara'
Álvaro Díaz

Photo: Waiv

interview

On 'Sayonara,' Álvaro Díaz Embraces The Sadness Of Love Lost

Known for his vulnerable style of reggaeton, Álvaro Díaz’s sophomore album ‘Sayonara’ says "goodbye to the happiness you thought you found."

GRAMMYs/May 22, 2024 - 01:29 pm

Álvaro Díaz has a twinkle in his eye — he knows he’s onto something special.

"It’s crazy that it’s an alternative album, but also the most reggaeton I’ve ever made," Díaz says of his recently-released sophomore album, Sayonara. "It’s both worlds. I have my fingers crossed that people are going to love it."

Díaz, who is 28, has been making music since he was a teenager. A constant creative force, he grinded for years as an independent artist, building a solid fanbase in Puerto Rico before breaking into the wider Latin urbano scene with 2021 debut, Felicilandia, which layered fresh pop melodies onto playful reggaeton and trap beats, exploring the euphoria of love.

Notably darker and much more experimental than its predecessor, Sayonara marks the end of that "happyland" feeling. 

"My story with ‘Felicilandia’ ended in heartbreak," he tells GRAMMY.com. "I was just writing about my life. It’s like a nightmare when you can’t stop thinking of that person. The usual Puerto Rican [reaction] to a breakup is like,'Don’t worry, let’s go to the streets!'"

The first half of the record soundtracks this feeling of party and abandon. Perreo tracks like the Feid-featuring dancefloor banger "Gatas Sandungueras Vol.1" nod to old school reggaeton, while Diaz and guest Tainy twist into ravey house beats on "Fatal Fantassy."

With an assist from Spanish indie pop star Sen Senra, "1000Canciones" marks a turning point in the album’s mood. It’s slow, reflective and poignant, with unashamedly heartfelt lyrics. "I went to the streets, and played 1000 songs that reminded me of you / even though I knew it was late / I took my phone to call you," Diaz sings in Spanish.

Lovingly nicknamed "Sadvarito"by fans, Diáz’s vulnerability stands out amidst a reggaeton scene dominated by party hits and swag. Even the biggest hits on Felicilandia— "Lori Party" and "Babysita </3" — were tinged with heartbreak; and fans will be reassured to see his signature fragility thoroughly embedded in Sayonara.

"It’s just how I feel, sometimes I feel empty, sometimes there’s a lot to say," Díaz says of the album’s changing moods. 

At the end of the album, Díaz considers trying to get back with his former flame ("Quizás si, quizás no," featuring Quevedo). But, he soon realizes it won’t work: "You know it’s not the same — it’s just me saying 'Sayonara,'" he says. 

GRAMMY.com spoke with Díaz over Zoom about why reggaeton is the perfect heartbreak genre and how ‘Sayonara’ is his most experimental work yet.  

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Sayonara **comes three years after your debut, Felicilandia. There are some similarities in the two albums’ artwork, but we can see something’s gone a bit awry/**

There’s an explosion at the left of the Felicilandia artwork. We were predicting what was going to come. I’m a fan of when artists do these little things, merge album covers, or make songs that live in the same universe. 

Felicilandia is the way to find happiness, Sayonara is saying goodbye to the happiness you thought you found. 

When you’re with a person you create a world together. But, todo se fue a la mierda. That world has gone. On [the artwork for] Sayonara, I’m looking ahead, but you don’t know my intention. I could try to save everything, or I’m just taking the last look. 

The track ‘‘Gatitas Sandungueras Vol. 1’ feat. Feid, has dark undertones, even though it’s a song about partying.  How is the track related to the album’s main theme of overcoming heartbreak?

Me and Feid put everything into the song. It’s based on the story of missing her: you’re blind; you’re trying not to think about her.  

Feid is like my duo, we always talk about making projects together, and our fanbase likes it when we work together. He couldn’t be out of ‘=Sayonara —he was in Felicilandia singing a sad song, and now he’s singing a party song, so it’s a total contrast. 

Same with Rauw Alejandro, who is on the track "BYAK," and was also on Felicilandia single "Problemón."  It’s special to have Feid and Rauw on both albums. We didn’t want to repeat what we did before, we wanted to go in another direction. 

The album mixes a lot of different genres, but reggaeton is definitely at the foundation of Sayonara. What artists were your core inspirations?

The selection of the sounds, and the beats, reminds me of the golden era of reggaeton in the 2000s. We even used the old Fruity Loops software, and searched for inspiration in [LunyTunes & Tainy 2006 album] Mas Flow: Los Benjamins, or the [2003 compilation album], Blin Blin. All those albums that changed your life in Puerto Rico. That’s why the reggaeton tracks have 2000 vibes, it’s what I listen to. 

You’re known for making an emotional brand of reggaeton. When did you first explore reggaeton’s potential to be more vulnerable?

My fans’ favorite songs are my most heartfelt songs. Maybe my most played song on Felicilandia is "Problemón," but on tour, the song people go crazy for is "Babysita." It’s a song I recorded in my house, but it’s bigger than all my other tracks. 

So, I know how the people who follow me connect with me. The way I talk about heartbreak speaks to a lot of people; it’s more relatable than how other people sing about it. They call me "Sadvarito," so it was always a challenge to find a way to bring that Sadvarito energy to reggaeton. 

What is your favorite reggaeton heartbreak song?

Damn, there’s a lot. It’s hard. 

My favorite reggaetoneros growing up were Zion & Lennox, they were my GOATS, and most of their songs are heartbreak songs. So, Zion & Lennox, "Solo Una Noche." 

There’s also a song on [Luny Tunes-produced 2005 compilation album] Mas Flow 2 which is my favorite ever: "Es Mejor Olvidarlo." That’s my jam. I used to blast that when I was little. I didn’t know heartbreak then, but I felt that.  

So you can cry to reggaeton?

You definitely can! Old school people may say you can’t, but, ey, reggaeton be having feeling. It will make you feel a type of way in a club. It could change your mood completely.

Connecting with fans is everything to you. On Sayonara, how are you hoping to reach people?

I have a really hard time saying goodbye. There’s a phrase: la esperanza es lo último que se pierde, I’m one of those types of guys; the last one who loses hope even if my world is going to pieces. I want to make her fall in love, like on the track "Quien te quiere como el nene." It’s saying I really love you, I want to fix things. 

The point of the album is for people to see what chapter they’re in. I’ve never been able to reach the last track, to finally be able to say Sayonara, but I know I will get there! 

One woman who listened to the album said it’s awesome to hear a man’s perspective — you go out and party, and then you miss her. She said, usually, for girls, it’s the other way around: you miss him at the beginning, then you go out to party. It gives it realism, boys really be like that. I love it when real life and music come together. I really hope people find themselves in the songs.

"Quien te quiere como el nene" is one of the more experimental tracks on the album, and unexpectedly goes into a drum and bass rhythm. How did that come about?

I did that whole beat with my mouth! I had it in my mind. I had the bass, but it needed a sound there. I don’t know why but I started making these sounds. I sent a demo to Tainy and asked, "Do you think you can do this?" Obviously, he can, he’s Tainy. Alongside Manuel Lara, my main producer, they took it to the next level. They are a dream team. 

You break from the reggaeton beat a lot in the album — "Fatal Fantassy" is very house. Tell us about these electro elements.

I like to experiment with different sounds. It’s harder for me to do reggaeton than do experimental things. Different tracks just come naturally. Tainy and I were listening to the album after we had 60 percent of it ready, and we felt like it was missing energy, it needed a bit more uptempo. So we did three sessions and came up with those ideas. 

I made a playlist with everything I want to do in the album, so I could say "I want a riff like this." I like to take a lot of ideas and work them little by little. My process is different to a lot of my friends who go to the studio and make three or four songs a day. I really like to feel like what I’m creating.  

You’re in Japan right now, and this album frequently mentions Japanese words, people and culture: from "Sayonara," "Kawa," "Majin Buu" and "Yoko." How did Japan influence you?

Japan is really important in this album, the names, the creation. I didn’t want it to be obvious, but it’s there, in the minimalism, the names, It’s magical for me to be now in Japan and listen to the album. I can say, damn this song feels like Toyko, this one feels like Osaka. Now I’m in Kyoto, and I feel "Quien te quiere como el nene" is definitely a song for this city. 

I’m a cinematographic guy, I create songs with movies on mute. I recreate the vibe, how I feel it would sound. Even movies filmed in Japan, like ‘Lost in Translation’—I watched that a lot and was inspired by that. That feeling of being lost, of not knowing what’s next. 

"Majin Buu" is one of the most heartfelt tracks on this album, and references a "Dragon Ball Z" villain. Why do you draw on that character?

It’s a 2024 alternative love poem! He’s a bad guy, but I flip and use it in a good way. 

I like to play with names, most of the time I have the name of the song. I knew I wanted to make a song with Majin Buu but I didn’t know how it was going to sound. The same day I made "Majin Buu," I made the track "Yoko."

Speaking of "Yoko," do you relate to the person who has been painted as the bad guy?

Definitely. When I watched the Get Back documentary about the Beatles on Disney+, I remember seeing Yoko every single moment beside John Lennon. They were inseparable until his last day. All the Beatles had a family, they all had wives, but it was Yoko who was next to John at every moment. 

It was a romantic way to say, I want you by my side like Yoko was with John Lennon. 

You're very close to your fanbase. Is there anything that artists can do to stay grounded with their fans? As you’re getting bigger, how do you manage the relationship with fans?

Fans made me. Especially during those years when my project didn’t have the light it deserved, my fans were there for me. It’s important for me to have a healthy relationship with them. 

I always try to put myself in the shoes of a 16-year-old and think what things could he say to me to make me fall in love with this project?, or what did this artist do that made me a superfan? I try to create experiences. In the run-up to releasing Sayonara, we did listening parties with 15 fans in different parts of the world, with exclusive merch. Seeing the reactions of the people is important for me. 

I’ve been making music since 2012. Some [artists] don’t know the hustle; they get big after two to three years. But [success] is not given, it’s earned. I get the rockstar mentality, but that’s not me. It’s impossible for me to lose touch with the fans. 

[Sayonara] is a celebration for me and for the fans. I want to do small shows in Puerto Rico, places I played when I was started. I love the shows where you can feel people’s emotions. When you get big, you kind of lose that. But to me, that connection is magical, I never want to lose that.

Kenia Os Unveils Her 'Pink Aura': How The Mexican Pop Star Let Her Feminine Energy Shine

Photo of a gold GRAMMY trophy against a black background with white lights.
GRAMMY Award statue

Photo: Jathan Campbell

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How Much Is A GRAMMY Worth? 7 Facts To Know About The GRAMMY Award Trophy

Here are seven facts to know about the actual cost and worth of a GRAMMY trophy, presented once a year by the Recording Academy at the GRAMMY Awards.

GRAMMYs/May 1, 2024 - 04:23 pm

Since 1959, the GRAMMY Award has been music’s most coveted honor. Each year at the annual GRAMMY Awards, GRAMMY-winning and -nominated artists are recognized for their musical excellence by their peers. Their lives are forever changed — so are their career trajectories. And when you have questions about the GRAMMYs, we have answers.

Here are seven facts to know about the value of the GRAMMY trophy.

How Much Does A GRAMMY Trophy Cost To Make?

The cost to produce a GRAMMY Award trophy, including labor and materials, is nearly $800. Bob Graves, who cast the original GRAMMY mold inside his garage in 1958, passed on his legacy to John Billings, his neighbor, in 1983. Billings, also known as "The GRAMMY Man," designed the current model in use, which debuted in 1991.

How Long Does It Take To Make A GRAMMY Trophy?

Billings and his crew work on making GRAMMY trophies throughout the year. Each GRAMMY is handmade, and each GRAMMY Award trophy takes 15 hours to produce. 

Where Are The GRAMMY Trophies Made?

While Los Angeles is the headquarters of the Recording Academy and the GRAMMYs, and regularly the home of the annual GRAMMY Awards, GRAMMY trophies are produced at Billings Artworks in Ridgway, Colorado, about 800 miles away from L.A.

Is The GRAMMY Award Made Of Real Gold?

GRAMMY Awards are made of a trademarked alloy called "Grammium" — a secret zinc alloy — and are plated with 24-karat gold.

How Many GRAMMY Trophies Are Made Per Year?

Approximately 600-800 GRAMMY Award trophies are produced per year. This includes both GRAMMY Awards and Latin GRAMMY Awards for the two Academies; the number of GRAMMYs manufactured each year always depends on the number of winners and Categories we award across both award shows.

Fun fact: The two GRAMMY trophies have different-colored bases. The GRAMMY Award has a black base, while the Latin GRAMMY Award has a burgundy base.

Photos: Gabriel Bouys/AFP via Getty Images; Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

How Much Does A GRAMMY Weigh?

The GRAMMY trophy weighs approximately 5 pounds. The trophy's height is 9-and-a-half inches. The trophy's width is nearly 6 inches by 6 inches.

What Is The True Value Of A GRAMMY?

Winning a GRAMMY, and even just being nominated for a GRAMMY, has an immeasurable positive impact on the nominated and winning artists. It opens up new career avenues, builds global awareness of artists, and ultimately solidifies a creator’s place in history. Since the GRAMMY Award is the only peer-voted award in music, this means artists are recognized, awarded and celebrated by those in their fields and industries, ultimately making the value of a GRAMMY truly priceless and immeasurable.

In an interview featured in the 2024 GRAMMYs program book, two-time GRAMMY winner Lauren Daigle spoke of the value and impact of a GRAMMY Award. "Time has passed since I got my [first] GRAMMYs, but the rooms that I am now able to sit in, with some of the most incredible writers, producers and performers on the planet, is truly the greatest gift of all." 

"Once you have that credential, it's a different certification. It definitely holds weight," two-time GRAMMY winner Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter of the Roots added. "It's a huge stamp as far as branding, businesswise, achievement-wise and in every regard. What the GRAMMY means to people, fans and artists is ever-evolving." 

As Billboard explains, artists will often see significant boosts in album sales and streaming numbers after winning a GRAMMY or performing on the GRAMMY stage. This is known as the "GRAMMY Effect," an industry phenomenon in which a GRAMMY accolade directly influences the music biz and the wider popular culture. 

For new artists in particular, the "GRAMMY Effect" has immensely helped rising creators reach new professional heights. Samara Joy, who won the GRAMMY for Best New Artist at the 2023 GRAMMYs, saw a 989% boost in sales and a 670% increase in on-demand streams for her album Linger Awhile, which won the GRAMMY for Best Jazz Vocal Album that same night. H.E.R., a former Best New Artist nominee, saw a massive 6,771% increase in song sales for her hit “I Can’t Breathe” on the day it won the GRAMMY for Song Of The Year at the 2021 GRAMMYs, compared to the day before, Rolling Stone reports

Throughout the decades, past Best New Artist winners have continued to dominate the music industry and charts since taking home the GRAMMY gold — and continue to do so to this day. Recently, Best New Artist winners dominated the music industry and charts in 2023: Billie Eilish (2020 winner) sold 2 million equivalent album units, Olivia Rodrigo (2022 winner) sold 2.1 million equivalent album units, and Adele (2009 winner) sold 1.3 million equivalent album units. Elsewhere, past Best New Artist winners have gone on to star in major Hollywood blockbusters (Dua Lipa); headline arena tours and sign major brand deals (Megan Thee Stallion); become LGBTIA+ icons (Sam Smith); and reach multiplatinum status (John Legend).

Most recently, several winners, nominees and performers at the 2024 GRAMMYs saw significant bumps in U.S. streams and sales: Tracy Chapman's classic, GRAMMY-winning single "Fast Car," which she performed alongside Luke Combs, returned to the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the first time since 1988, when the song was originally released, according to Billboard. Fellow icon Joni Mitchell saw her ‘60s classic “Both Sides, Now,” hit the top 10 on the Digital Song Sales chart, Billboard reports.

In addition to financial gains, artists also experience significant professional wins as a result of their GRAMMY accolades. For instance, after she won the GRAMMY for Best Reggae Album for Rapture at the 2020 GRAMMYs, Koffee signed a U.S. record deal; after his first GRAMMYs in 2014, Kendrick Lamar saw a 349% increase in his Instagram following, Billboard reports. 

Visit our interactive GRAMMY Awards Journey page to learn more about the GRAMMY Awards and the voting process behind the annual ceremony.

2024 GRAMMYs: See The Full Winners & Nominees List