meta-scriptLatin Music Industry Executives Launch "Conciencia Collective," Aim To Create Awareness About Racial And Social Injustice | GRAMMY.com
Gloria "Goyo" Martinez of ChocQuibTown attends the 2017 Latin GRAMMYs

Gloria "Goyo" Martinez of ChocQuibTown attends the 2017 Latin GRAMMYs

Photo: Denise Truscello/Getty Images for LARAS

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Latin Music Industry Executives Launch "Conciencia Collective," Aim To Create Awareness About Racial And Social Injustice

Composed of 35 executives artists, activists and music industry figures, the newly launched initiative will also debut a series of online conversations discussing the pressing issues of the day

GRAMMYs/Jun 26, 2020 - 09:54 pm

Artists and leading figures from the Latin music industry have launched Conciencia Collective, a new initiative focusing on creating awareness about racial and social injustice. The group, which is composed of 35 executives from across the artist, activism, management, media, publicity and other fields within the Latin music industry, came together "in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement" and with the intent to "educate our colleagues, artists, and peers of influence in order to gain their advocacy," Billboard reports. The group will also focus on issues impacting the Latin community. 

As part of its initiative, the group will launch a series of online conversations, dubbed "Conciencia Talk," in partnership with Latinx culture and news site mitú, which will feature artists and figures from the entertainment and sociopolitical worlds discussing the pressing issues of the day. 

The inaugural conversation, livestreaming Friday (June 26) starting at 7 p.m. EST on mitú's YouTube and Facebook pages, will include Gloria "Goyo" Martínez, the singer of GRAMMY-nominated Afro-Colombian band ChocQuibTown; Puerto Rican singer-songwriter Rafa Pabón; and Dr. Aurora Vergara Figueroa, director of the Center for Aphrodiasporic Studies at Icesi University in Colombia, who will moderate the event. The panel will "discuss the important role that the Afro-Latino community plays in society, and what we can do to help amplify their voice and dismantle systemic racism," according to the event's Facebook page.

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mitú will also share "quotes on solidarity and racial inequality" from more than 100 Latin music artists including Anuel, Zion & Lennox, Farruko and others, according to Billboard. 

In a recent statement, Martínez addressed racism within the Latinx community.

"In order to consciously educate the Latinx community and change the derogatory narratives towards people of color within our community, we commit to leading with acknowledgement in solidarity with the Black community to enable the rise of leaders in our respective communities," she wrote in a statement. 

"We want to extend our platforms to our brothers and sisters so that their voices and needs can be heard. We want our brothers and sisters across the U.S. and Latin America to know that we see them, we hear them and we will champion equality and justice on behalf of our industry."

The launch of Conciencia Collective follows a recent wave of nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice, specifically against Black people and people of color, in response to the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and other Black U.S. citizens by police.

Ivan Barias On Silence As Complicity, Holding Major Labels Accountable & How To Be A Non-Black Latinx Ally

Nelly Furtado Press Photo 2024
Nelly Furtado

Photo: Sammy Rawal

interview

Nelly Furtado On How Remix Culture, ADHD & Gen Z Inspired Her New Album '7'

On the heels of announcing her seventh studio set, Nelly Furtado details her emotional return to the studio, and why she's having "more fun than ever" making music.

GRAMMYs/Jul 17, 2024 - 08:31 pm

If you're a millennial, odds are you have fond memories of Nelly Furtado's music. Her early hits are 2000s playlist staples, including her GRAMMY-winning debut single, "I'm Like A Bird," and Timbaland-produced classics "Say It Right," "Maneater" and "Promiscuous."

Yet the Portuguese-Canadian pop auteur is far from a relic of Y2K nostalgia. In the seven years since her last album, 2017's The Ride, Furtado has seen her back catalog resurface in many ways, from remixes in DJ sets to viral TikToks. Not only did the millennial appetite for her music remain, but Gen Z was discovering — and loving — it. And the singer/songwriter took notice.

"I really feel like I was called back to the industry by the industry, especially DJs. I would go out and hear my songs played before arena shows of other artists, and at house parties and clubs," Furtado tells GRAMMY.com. "There was a sense of joy and celebration in it…I thought, This can only be remixed so many times, I better go make some new stuff."

Enter 7, Furtado's aptly titled seventh studio album. Due Sept. 20, 7 is the product of four years of fully immersing herself in the catharsis and connection of the studio. The Canadian songstress is confident and vulnerable across its 14 tracks, showcasing the malleability of her rich voice with a wide range of sounds that result in a fun, largely upbeat collection of songs.

The album's energy is indicative of the freedom and openness Furtado not only felt in the studio — where she crafted over 400 songs during the process — but also in today's musical climate. Furtado has been tapping into the collaborative spirit of the industry, teaming up with friends new and old for her latest material. Producer Dom Dolla helped birth Furtado's first new music since 2017 with the dance floor heater "Eat Your Man," a coy nod to her own "Maneater" that arrived last June; their partnership has also included appearances at Australia's Beyond The Valley festival in 2022, Lollapalooza and Portola Fest in 2023, and Coachella 2024. Along the way, the singer has also linked with past collaborators Timbaland and Justin Timberlake ("Keep Going Up") and Juanes ("Gala y Dalí").

Even 7's first two singles are collaborations: the sultry electronic-fused bop "Love Bites" with dance pop experts Tove Lo and SG Lewis, and the confident anthem "Corazón" with Colombian electro-pop wizards Bomba Estéreo. Along with offering a taste of the joy and sonic breadth of 7, both songs prove that Nelly Furtado isn't just back — she's having more fun than ever.

Read on to hear from the "Maneater" herself about her new album, finding sisterhood with Bomba Estéreo's Li Samuet, leaning into ADHD as a creative superpower, and why she'll never tire of singing "I'm Like A Bird."

You feel really free on your upcoming album, 7. I was curious what sounds and styles you're feeling most excited to explore and lean into now and which ones made it on the album?

That's a good question. When I was touring over the years, you always soundcheck at each venue, which might be this big, beautiful space, like a theater. I love the way the music would come back at me through the big speakers and monitors of a large live space, and it's something I never quite felt in the recording studio.

When I started recording this album four years ago, I started getting a bunch of friends in a room, setting up wedges and monitors and speakers with a bunch of microphones on amps and instruments, recording absolutely everything we're saying and doing. I started recording in Toronto and would invite my friends, and all of a sudden, I found myself spending Friday nights there. It became this very social event with lots of collaborations. I loved the way my voice sounded back at me through the speakers in real time, much like those soundchecks I remembered so fondly.

Halfway through the recording process, I started meeting producers like Dom Dolla. We had reached out to each other because we were going to perform at the same festival, Beyond The Valley in Australia, where I also met SG Lewis. I was blessed to meet these really key collaborators for me who are making great current music I had special connections with. I just felt blessed to be so open.

I grew up learning a spontaneous style of improvisational singing called Desafio from Portugal, where people freestyle on stage together. [We channeled] the spirit of spontaneous freestyling in the studio. I have songs on this album that are freestyles. There's this beat that FnZ did, and I just opened my mouth and sang something, and that's the song. I went back and changed maybe three words and re-sang the vocal. You just kind of open the portal and sing. [Laughs.] For me, this album's really about community and, always, fusion.

Can you speak to how your daughter, as well as seeing Gen Z discovering your music on TikTok, and DJs remixing your songs encouraged and inspired you to go back to the studio?

Oh, that was cool. Dom had been communicating about [his Beyond the Valley] performance because he did a special mashup of "Give it To Me" and [his song] "Take It" that we premiered there. To top that off, he wanted to do the Bicep "Glue"/"Say It Right" [mashup]. He created this whole archway for me to come out and do this dramatic, beautifully received rendition of the song. That was a magical moment I'll never forget.

Four or five years ago, my daughter came home from high school and was like, "Mom, you're trending on TikTok." I didn't know what that meant. I'm not gonna lie; it wasn't until I walked out at Beyond the Valley and saw these Gen Z kids singing all the lyrics to my songs that I really understood the power of social media and TikTok. It was real; new people had discovered me. 

I just went to Stockholm and these kids were so young, singing every word of my old songs, and it blew my mind. I don't even know if they were born when the first records came out. [Laughs.]

I mean, people dressed up like Dom Dolla and I at Lollapalooza for Halloween with my same snake shirt. It was so meta and so cool. I love remix culture and nostalgia culture, and I lean into it. It's just like making a scrapbook.

Did that motivate you to want to make new music?

Oh yeah, are you kidding me?! I really feel like I was called back to the industry by the industry, especially DJs. I would go out and hear my songs played before arena shows of other artists and at house parties and clubs. I heard it in a lot of different contexts, and something clicked for me where I just wanted to have fun and party with my music. There was a sense of joy and celebration in it. People kept remixing all kinds of songs of mine from all my different albums. I thought, This can only be remixed so many times, I better go make some new stuff.

I love meeting artists online and making those connections in real time. I love the current climate of music. I think it is more fun than ever for artists, because we get to be very in the moment and we get to create moments. We get to focus on what we want to, we get to activate different things in our own way and on our own timeline. I connect with so many DJs online.

That's so my vibe; I've always been about collaboration. I feel like the industry is tailor made for artists like me right now who just want to collaborate and vibe out and make friends and have fun. I've always been in it for the music, so it's just so fun to be doing this.

7's second single, "Corazón" featuring Bomba Estéreo, is very confident and celebratory. What was it like working with them and how did that song come together?

"Corazón" started with this very special beat that T-Minus had made for me. He was such a champion of me doing this new project, and really pushed me to make sure I was putting my best foot forward with these new songs. The beat for "Corazón" was already magical, but I needed to find its stamp. [Working on the album] was like mining. You're digging until you see a glimmer, and then you chase it until you [hit] gold.

I co-produced the song and invited Bomba Estéreo to be on it. I brought them to the studio after a concert they had in Toronto. I got off a plane from recording in L.A., went straight to their gig, and embraced Li on stage. I hadn't seen her since I flew to her home on the beach in Santa Marta [Colombia] at the begging of my friend Lido Pimienta, who thought I needed to go meet Li. I'd never met her before [then]. I stayed at her home and met her family. She's an incredible woman. She's really a goddess.

We're at the studio [in Toronto], just eating chicken wings and having some tequila, and magic kind of happens. They're playing all these beautiful parts on their instruments. There, you get the fusion. It becomes something a little bit more than the song was before, and Li has her rap feature on there.

How did bringing Bomba Estéreo into the studio make the "Corazon" into something different?

I just knew it would make it more special. What's really weird is Li and I have another song that's not on this album— that will probably be on the deluxe — called "Corazónes" that we wrote in Colombia. I don't think it's a coincidence that this song is called "Corazón." I think it's some weird subconscious tick. [Laughs.] It was almost like the collaboration was meant to be more than one song.

Colombia made such a huge impression on me. I also spent time in Barranquilla because Lido was filming artwork for a project of hers; we were right in the thick of it in downtown Barranquilla. Li and I wrote a song at her treehouse jungle studio called Papaya Studios in Santa Marta. I really needed that sisterhood at that time. That trip was almost like a woman's retreat.

I just knew Bomba Estéreo needed to be on the song. I wanted [Li] to rap. On "Soy Yo" she's rapping and doing her thing. She's a really amazing rapper. She's an amazing singer and writer too; she's pretty rare. She's in her own lane.

I really connect with how Bomba Estéreo's music has a love vibration that I think is very rare. That's what sets them apart. That's why I knew they had to be a part of this song called "Corazón." They embody that idea.

Can you speak a bit more to the creative process of working on this album, as well as the emotions you were processing through it?

On this album there are some cool moments where I just let the music happen. Something clicked in me the last couple years where I realized it's really quite simple: You just have to enjoy what you're singing.

I was in the studio with Dom Dolla, producer Jim Beanz [who worked on Loose] and singer/songwriter Anjulie [Persaud] in Philly last Valentine's Day. We recorded and wrote "Eat Your Man," a track I put out with Dom last summer. Very early on when we were working on demos, Dom was like, "Why are you pronouncing every word when you sing?" 

There's something to letting yourself relax into the music and just letting it be. I kind of forgot that. In the studio with Dom that day in Philly, it was a real aha moment for me. It was like, Oh man, I remember what this is like, just singing for the joy of it all.

Emotionally, I got into the studio four years ago with a bit of a broken heart. I'd been through a lot in my personal life and I was quite sad. The first day I opened my mouth, I almost felt like I was having a heart attack from the amount of emotion moving through my chest. I had been a stay-at-home mom for about three years straight — my two youngest children were born a year apart — and I didn't go to the studio at all. So that first time back was quite impactful for me. 

That pain quickly turned into joy because I started spending Friday nights at the studio with my friends and collaborators. We would often jam until 7 in the morning. The studio is my happy place. I really learn so much about myself every time I make an album. It's uncanny; I have this moment before I put the album out where I'm almost sad because I have to detach from the process.

I've become overcome with emotion a lot of times making this album, hearing the mixes back and completing songs. I did purge a lot of emotions, but it's amazing how happy the album is. 

I think that comes from the sense of community and really leaning on people I've met along the way. I met moms who make music during this process, like Li and Lido. I'd be coming home from the studio texting them, and they'd be coming off the stage in Holland or Paris and I'd feel so motivated. Community is such a huge part of this album. I loved welcoming that into the mix. It was really fun to make.

How did you take all of that — four years, so many emotions, over 400 songs — and narrow it down into an album? I can't even imagine.

I was diagnosed with ADHD about two years ago, and it was really an aha moment. I've had it my whole life. People always say, "Hey, Nelly, you're so spaced out. Where'd you go?" I got used to people making fun of me for spacing out and used to the procrastination. I [also] got used to the self-judgment and beating myself up about it.

So, getting diagnosed kind of changed my life. It is a superpower in the studio. I can write five songs at once. I can invite so many people. We can have two rooms, sometimes three, going at once and we can keep making stuff all night. So I leaned into the ADHD, embraced it, claimed it — and there we have it, so many songs.

Luckily, I have great people around me, like my engineer, Anthony [Yordanov], really kept me in check. He became that North Star of, "Okay, these are the songs we have. What are we working on today?" Also, my daughter Nevis [Gahunia] is one of the A&Rs on the album. She works in the music business and is very organized. 

I leaned on other people to help me hone it in. I don't know how a bunch of stuff magically becomes 14 songs. It kind of happened by bringing a lot of friends in the studio for these long, fun parties just listening to stuff and everybody being like, "We like this song."

I have a lot of my favorite people on the album. And there's a lot more to come. I really feel like the deluxe [version] is going to be jammed with a bunch more stuff.

It's your seventh album and it's been seven years since your last, but is there any further meaning in naming it 7?

To be totally honest, the songs are all so different. It was the only title that made sense because it's more like a collection. Fashion collections don't really have titles, they're just called collection number 10 or 21. This is my collection seven. 

And yeah, it's been seven years since my last album, and it's my seventh album. I love the simplicity [of the title]. Honestly, sometimes I feel a bit like a music librarian trapped in a pop star body. So it's really appropriate for me to put together this random collection of songs and just call it a number, like a librarian. [Laughs.] Go to the seventh section.

I want to go back to the very beginning, to "I'm Like a Bird," your GRAMMY-winning debut single. How does it feel now when you perform that song you wrote when you were 20?

I wrote it in a little room by myself before [going to] the studio. When I sing it, I love it. It's wild, I love it more every time I sing it. It feels incredible singing that song. 

There are certain songs in my set that almost feel like one big fun karaoke session with the crowd. Who doesn't love that? It's fun every single time.

More Sounds From Latin America & Beyond

Peso Plum press photo
Peso Pluma

Photo: Arenovski

feature

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 

Photo of Carlos Vives wearing a black shirt, black leather jacket and a silver necklace.
Carlos Vives

Photo: Natalia Gw

news

Carlos Vives Named The 2024 Latin Recording Academy Person Of The Year: What To Know About The Latin Music Icon

Vives will be honored at a star-studded gala leading up to the 2024 Latin GRAMMYs, which this year marks the 25th anniversary of the Latin GRAMMY Awards.

GRAMMYs/May 22, 2024 - 01:53 pm

The Latin Recording Academy today announced that 18-time Latin GRAMMY winner and two-time GRAMMY winner Carlos Vives will be the 2024 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year. He will be honored at a star-studded gala leading up to the 2024 Latin GRAMMYs, which this year marks the 25th anniversary of the Latin GRAMMY Awards.

The heartfelt tribute concert will honor Vives' celebrated career, which spans more than 30 years as a multifaceted singer and composer, and will feature renditions of his renowned repertoire performed by an array of notable artists and friends. In addition to his achievements in music, the 2024 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year gala will honor Vives' continued commitment to environmental and social initiatives.

Details about the coveted event, which takes place during the 2024 Latin GRAMMY Week in Miami, will be announced at a later date.

An architect of Latin music's ongoing evolution and global expansion, Carlos Vives is one of the most respected artists in Spanish-language music around the world. He helped pioneer a new Latin American sound, redefining traditional Colombian vallenato by incorporating pop and rock. The first Colombian to win a GRAMMY Award, he boasts more than 10 billion streams on digital platforms, 20 million albums sold, and enduring hits like "La Gota Fría," "Pa' Mayte," "La Tierra Del Olvido," "Fruta Fresca" and "Volví A Nacer."

Vives has become an ambassador of Colombian and Latin American culture around the world, and his commitment also transcends the musical realm. In 2015, he created the Tras La Perla initiative to promote the sustainable development of Santa Marta and its ecosystem.

In addition, he created the Escuela de Música Río Grande to offer artistic experiences to children and young people and founded the record label Gaira Música Local to promote new Colombian talent. As part of his ongoing commitment to music education, Vives has been a strong advocate and generous supporter of the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation since its inception and sponsored its annual Prodigy Scholarship in 2018.

"Carlos Vives is one of the most prolific and beloved artists of our time, whose commitment to Latin music and support for the new generations truly personifies the values of our Academy," Latin Recording Academy CEO Manuel Abud said in a statement. "We honor him as our Person of the Year for his vast contributions to our musical heritage and for his many philanthropic initiatives."

"I am honored and moved to have been chosen as the 2024 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year. It is the reward for an authentic journey, for a wonderful team, and, above all, it is the recognition of the musical spirits of our Latin American diversity," Vives said in a statement. "These spirits taught us to love and enrich our language, to take care of it, and to respect it in order to exalt humanity with it."

The Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year honors musicians and their artistic achievements in the Latin music industry as well as their humanitarian efforts. The past honorees are Laura Pausini (2023), Marco Antonio Solís (2022), Rubén Blades (2021), Juanes (2019), Maná (2018), Alejandro Sanz (2017), Marc Anthony (2016), Roberto Carlos (2015), Joan Manuel Serrat (2014), Miguel Bosé (2013), Caetano Veloso (2012), Shakira (2011), Plácido Domingo (2010), Juan Gabriel (2009), Gloria Estefan (2008), Juan Luis Guerra (2007), Ricky Martin (2006), José José (2005), Carlos Santana (2004), Gilberto Gil (2003), Vicente Fernández (2002), Julio Iglesias (2001), and Emilio Estefan (2000).

Net proceeds from the Latin Academy Person of the Year Gala will go toward the charitable work of the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation.

The 2024 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year gala will take place days ahead of the 2024 Latin GRAMMYs, which take place Thursday, Nov. 14, in Miami at Kaseya Center, in partnership with Miami-Dade County and the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB). The nominations for the 2024 Latin GRAMMYs will be announced Tuesday, Sept. 17.

This year, the Latin Recording Academy will introduce two new Latin GRAMMY categories and a new field: Best Latin Electronic Music Performance, housed within the new Electronic Music Field, and Best Contemporary Mexican Music Album (Regional-Mexican Field). These additions also include several changes, including additional category amendments, to be added to the 2024 Latin GRAMMY Awards Process.

8 Essential Latin Electronic Releases: Songs And Albums From Bizarrap, Arca & More

Grupo Frontera Press Photo 2024
Grupo Frontera

Photo: Eric Rojas

interview

Grupo Frontera On 'Jugando A Que No Pasa Nada' & Fully Expressing Themselves: "This Album Was Made From The Heart"

With their second album, regional Mexican music stars Grupo Frontera aim to honor their roots while showing their wide-spanning musical interests. Hear from some of the group on the creation of the album and why it's so special to them.

GRAMMYs/May 16, 2024 - 08:12 pm

In just two years, Grupo Frontera have gone from playing weddings in their native Texas to joining Bad Bunny on stage at Coachella and performing on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon." No matter how rapid their rise to fame has become, the Texas sextet has held the same ethos: celebrating their Mexican heritage while embracing the American culture they were born into.

Embracing that balance has helped them transcend cultural barriers with their modern take on regional Mexican music, which incorporates a wide range of musical styles. That holds true on Grupo Frontera's second album, Jugando A Que No Pasa Nada, out now. 

With bright accordion lines and a high-energy blend of urbano party anthems, cumbia-inspired ballads, and forays into pop, the album is a masterful display of the group's mixed cultural background. It retains the same Latin cowboy spirit of their first LP, 2023's El Comienzo — which had roots in the norteño genre, a traditional style originated in Northern Mexico — while tapping into the music they grew up listening to in the States, like hip-hop, corridos tumbados, and country music. 

While El Comienzo introduced Grupo Frontera as loyal traditionalists, Jugando A Que No Pasa Nada aims at speaking to younger generations. It's a fitting approach for the group, whose ages range from early twenties to early thirties across its six members — Alberto "Beto" Acosta, Juan Javier Cantú, Carlos Guerrero, Julian Peña Jr., Adelaido "Payo" Solis III, and Carlos Zamora — that also speaks to their evolution amid their whirlwind success. It's proof that they aren't afraid to create music that is completely true to them — and that's exactly what makes Jugando A Que No Pasa Nada special.

Below, Cantu, Guerrero, Peña, and Solis speak with GRAMMY.com about their cultural roots in South Texas and the making of Jugando A Que No Pasa Nada.

The last two years were a very prolific time for Grupo Frontera. What was it like to create Jugando A Que No Pasa Nada after everything that's happened to the group?

Adelaido "Payo" Solis: Last year we were working a lot, playing four or five concerts a week, and that didn't give us time to structure El Comienzo as well as we wanted to. Now we made time to record all these different types of songs. It was amazing to have time to work on the album cover and all the songs the way we wanted to, and have everything set in a certain way to represent the new album to its highest potential.

Between 2023 and this year, were you able to take any time off to work on this new record, or was it done in between touring?

Juan Javier Cantú: There were times when we were touring El Comienzo that we would record before the people got inside the theater. We would record onstage. We'd be like "Wait, don't let the people in — 20 more minutes, we have to finish this session!" That happened with our new songs "Quédate Bebé" and "Nunca La Olvidé."

Solis: It's a little bit of both because those were recorded live, but then two months ago, we locked ourselves in the house for a good four or five days, and out of that came, like, 15 more songs.

You mentioned that, for this new record, you had more time to work on the order of the songs. What's the general feeling behind this track list? Starting with "F—ing Amor."

Solis: The general feel of this album is literally the album's name, Jugando A Que No Pasa Nada [which loosely translates to "pretending everything is OK"]. Since we had more time to think about it, we tied many things to that name, to that phrase.

Everyone, at some point, has pretended everything is OK when in reality, it's not. You can see it in the album cover — the truck is on fire, but our character, who represents Grupo Frontera, is sitting in the car as if nothing is wrong. So the idea — and I know everyone experienced this — is that when you get in your truck, you can play our record and you can drop the act. You can stop pretending everything is alright. You can get in your feelings.

So the way it's structured, starting with "F—king Amor," is that you don't want to know anything about love, then in the middle, you have "Ya Pedo Quién Sabe," which says "maybe I miss you," and then by the end, "Quédate Bebe" [which translates to "Stay Baby"]. So it is a ride, an experience, which starts with you being hurt, or left behind by someone, and you being sad about it, then slowly wondering how is she doing, then saying "I miss you," and finally "stay with me."

Cantú: More than anything, we are playing with genres. In this record, you have our traditional cumbias, country music, and then songs like "Desquite." So that was also the goal, for people to know more about our music and the music we like.

Solis: Each member of Grupo Frontera listens and plays different styles, so starting from that, we each had a big say in the genres we wanted to play and styles we wanted to record on this album. 

More than anything, we were thinking of new generations. The Latinos of newer generations that don't speak Spanish, or don't get to come back often to Mexico or the countries where their parents are from. They don't want to hear just cumbia, so in our album, we want to make all these styles for them to find, in our songs, the genres that they like.

You mentioned that each of you has different styles and genres you brought to the new record. How did you work in the studio to generate these new sounds?

Solis: Grupo Frontera doesn't really use a lot of computer sounds, most of the music we play is through our instruments. We used to work on our songs starting from guitar and voice only, but now because we had more time to work on things, we each took a song and would listen to it for days. Then we'd meet again as a group and work on it in the studio: everyone's opinion counts, and no one's opinion takes precedence over the other. That's how, slowly, each new song took shape.

When you talked about the moment in which you get in your car or truck, and finally get to stop pretending everything is alright — does that car culture come from your upbringing in Texas?

Julián Peña: That culture is definitely from where we are from, from the Valley [the Lower Rio Grande Valley, which spans the border of Texas and Mexico], where there are a lot of troquitas tumbadas [lowered or customized pickup trucks]. You'd hear la Raza zooming by, blasting our songs, with the bass booming, from their trucks. So it's kind of like a relief, your safe space.

Like the album's title says, "pretending everything is fine"... you're pretending to be fine and then once you get in your car and you pass yourself the aux, you turn that up and you start bawling, or feeling whatever you're feeling. Then the album's over, gotta get back to work, clock back in, and go back to pretending everything's fine. It's like an escape that we know many people have, it has happened to all of us; you go on a drive to decompress, turn the music up, let it all out, and feel better. That's what we wanted to capture with that image.

What songs did you each play when you needed that kind of moment?

Cantú: When I broke up with a girlfriend, around 2012, my go-to was Drake.

Peña: Mine was "Then," by Brad Paisley. I was just sad and going through a country phase. [Laughs.]

Solis: I would listen a lot to a song by Eslabón Armado called "Atrapado."

Cantú: When I feel a little trapped by this street lifestyle I go, "I Should've Been A Cowboy"! [All laugh.]

I read some of you grew up raising cattle, or come from families of farmers and ranchers. What aspects of that lifestyle do you miss, in contrast with being in a city like LA, and actively involved in the music industry?

Solis: Juan had his ranch around General Bravo [a municipality in Mexico], and I was born in the States, but I would go every weekend to Mexico, to my parent's ranch, where they had cattle. I know Juan can relate to this — when you are at the ranch and play a song, and can sing out loud without anyone around listening or judging you, that's a really nice feeling. When you are on stage, in the industry, you're not singing only to yourself, but to make the audience's day better. So no matter what you're going through, when you're on stage, your job is to make people happy.

Cantú: Going to a place — like a ranch, an open space — to disconnect, it's like a reset. I feel a lot of people have not experienced that, they don't know the power that has.

Through your lyrics, you adapted old love songs and romance to modern times. Some songs even mention emojis, DMs and texting. Do you have any favorite emojis?

Solis: Oh man, I love the black heart emoji because it can mean many things. A dead heart, or that you're not feeling anything. It can mean your heart is broken and needs mending to go back to being red. I think it's super cool.

Carlos Guerrero: I like the thinking face emoji.

Cantú: Sometimes he uses it out of context and we don't know if he's thinking, or he's mad. [Laughs.] For me, the one I use the most is the "thanks" [praying hands emoji].

Peña: I like the heart hands emoji. Like "Hey what's up," and throw a heart hands emoji.

Going back to your music, what's your favorite part of making songs?

Solis: I'm not sure if we all have the same answer, but for me, my favorite part about being able to sing, record and write these songs is to sing them with all the feeling in the world. And that is amazing, to be able to let that out.

Cantú: The simple fact of creating something and getting to test it out, seeing people sing it, it's like, Wow, we made that.

Peña: Yeah, that you do something and then put that out there right and you're like, I wonder if this feeling is gonna get translated the way we want it to. And then, like Juan said, when people go to concerts, and sing it back to us, or we see people post stories of them singing it and going through it. It's like, we made that! We got that point across, and it feels good for all of us.

How do you navigate being an American band with a cross-cultural upbringing?

Cantú: It's really cool. We were lucky to go to Puerto Rico, Colombia and Argentina, to collaborate with artists like Arcángel, Maluma, Shakira, and Nicki Nicole. That helped us understand their culture and meditate on what it means to be Latino, not just Mexican. Latino identity entails so many cultures in one, and even Mexican identity is vast. Latinos are from everywhere.

How was it to collaborate with all these other artists, and open your group to collaborate with them in Jugando A Que No Pasa Nada?

Solis: Basically, we are like a group of brothers. We sometimes spend 24/7 together. We see each other every day, and we spend all our time together on the tour bus and at home, even when we don't need to see each other. So when we collaborate with other artists, like Morat, Maluma, or Nicky Nicole, they sense that vibe — we carry that with us. I feel that carries through, to the point where we can all have that vibe together.

When we are collaborating with other artists, it feels as if it was a friendship that has been around for a while. Like, have you ever felt or had that friendship where you can go like a month without seeing each other and when you see each other is like you had seen each other? That's basically how it is when we collab with other artists.

I know it's hard to pick a favorite song from the new album—

Solis: It's not that hard! My favorite is "F—ing Amor."

Why?

Solis: Because before Grupo Frontera started, that was more the style that I listened to. I got into the music of Natanael Cano, Iván Cornejo, and others. I grew up listening to old cumbia songs that my parents played for me, but in high school, I started listening to new stuff and new genres, so I think that's why my musical style is more versatile. So "F—ing Amor" is more Sierreño, has more bass, and the congas and percussion; the vibe of that song reminds me of how, in high school, I would drive my truck listening to Natanael Cano. 

Peña: Mine is "Echándote De Menos." Ever since we recorded it, it has that rhythm in the middle where we all drop, on that note… I like all of them, but that one, in particular. 

Cantú: I have to go with two. When I first listened to them, "Los Dos," our collaboration with Morat, and "Por Qué Será" with Maluma. That song, when they first showed it to me, I felt chills down my back.

Guerrero: Mine is "Los Dos," with Morat, because we liked Morat before being with Frontera.

Cantú: To make a song with them is an achievement for us because our big song ["No Se Va"] was a cover of theirs. So making a song together is pretty cool — not many people get to do that.

Solis: We had people tell us that we were stealing their song! We get that Morat is some people's favorite group but we were like, bro, it is our favorite too, that's why we did that song!

What is your dream for this new record?

Solis: We were talking about this yesterday in the van. We don't want to expect anything out of it — success, or big numbers — because this album was made from the heart. We are just so happy and proud to be releasing it into the world.

Guerrero: I just hope that people like it, because, as Payo says, we explored a lot of different genres, so we hope people dig that. We put our best into it.

Cantú: I want what Payo and Carlos said, but also, to go to Japan to play our songs.

Peña: I want what the three of them want, but for people to really connect and identify with the songs. Even if they connect with one or three, what I want for the album is that — to connect with people.

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