Photo (L-R): Imagine It Media, Sony Music Latin, DEL Studios/DEL Records
6 Regional Mexican Music Acts Redefining The Genre: Christian Nodal, Grupo Firme, Ángela Aguilar & More
From Mexico's Christian Nodal to the Bay Area's Eslabón Armado, get to know six acts who are putting a new spin on an age-old genre.
The sound of regional Mexican music has endured for centuries, thanks to Mexican crooners and balladeers like the late greats Vicente Fernández and Jenni Rivera. Now, a new generation of artists — from both sides of the Mexico–United States border — are helping the genre continue to evolve, while also reaching bigger global success than ever before.
Regional Mexican music is a catch-all term that encompasses several music styles that are native to Mexico, including norteño, banda, mariachi, and ranchera music. Along with Fernández and Rivera, artists that have defined the genre over the past few decades include Pedro Infante, Juan Gabriel, Selena, and Ariel Camacho. Though all of them are sadly no longer with us, a new crop of artists are reviving and redefining the sound of regional Mexican music — and helping the age-old genre connect with a younger audience.
Mexican singers Christian Nodal and Natanael Cano spearheaded the movement, pushing regional Mexican music up the charts in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Nodal fused mariachi and norteño music, while Cano ushered in corridos tumbados, which put a hip-hop and trap twist on traditional corridos.
In the few years since, many more Gen-Z acts from both the U.S. and Mexico have put their own stamp on the traditional genre, even breaking records in the process. As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, GRAMMY.com is spotlighting six acts who are refreshing regional Mexican music.
Hailing from the city of Caborca in Sonora, Mexico, Christian Nodal has become one of the biggest artists of today's regional Mexican music since he broke out in 2018. His fusion of mariachi and norteño music (mariacheño, as he coined), along with his vocal range and vaquero charm, has helped him connect with regional Mexican music fans young and old. Those have also gained him wide critical acclaim, including four Latin GRAMMYs and two GRAMMY nominations.
While Nodal is putting a youthful touch on the genre, he's also ushering in new fusions. Alongside Mexican rapper Gera MX, Nodal made history in 2021 with their global hit "Botella Tras Botella," which was the first regional Mexican song to ever reach the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In 2022, Nodal has brought his unique flair to songs with the King of Bachata, Romeo Santos ("Me Extraño"), and Christina Aguilera ("Cuando Me Dé la Gana").
Ángela Aguilar is proudly carrying on the legacy of her last name. The Aguilar family legacy runs deep in regional Mexican music: Her grandparents are Mexican legends Antonio Aguilar and Flor Silvestre, and her father is icon Pepe Aguilar.
The Mexican-American artist embraces a more traditional sound of the genre, captivating audiences of all ages with her soulful voice that's beyond her years. Along with continuing her family's legacy, she's proving to be a star in her own right — and one that's making waves in a male-dominated genre. She scored her second No. 1 on Billboard's Regional Mexican Airplay chart in May with "Ahí Donde Me Ven," making her just the seventh female act who has had at least one No. 1 in the chart's 28-year history.
Natanael Cano spun regional Mexican music on its head by ushering in the corridos tumbados movement. The emerging genre blends the corridos of his Hermosillo, Sonora roots with the hip-hop flow of L.A, where Cano is currently based.
Cano had a breakout year in 2019 thanks to the swaggering hit "El Drip," which first gained popularity on YouTube. His fiery follow-up single "Soy El Diablo" captured the attention of Bad Bunny, who jumped on a remix.
Cano continues to take corridos even farther with cross-genre collabs with the likes of Snoop Dogg ("Feeling Good") and Steve Aoki ("NataAoki"). He took the genre to its biggest stage yet in April, when he performed at Coachella.
Fans of the late Mexican singer Ariel Camacho will love Bay Area-based band Eslabón Armado, who are reviving sierreño music for a new generation of fans. Eslabón Armado's version of the guitar-driven genre reflects their Mexican-American background, also giving the traditional Mexican sound an emo touch.
Since releasing their breakthrough hit, the haunting love song "Con Tus Besos," in 2020, the band have landed six songs in the top 20 of Billboard's Hot Latin Songs chart — two of which reached the top 5. And just two years in, Eslabón Armado is making history: The trio's 2022 album, Nostalgia, peaked at No. 9 on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart in May, becoming the first regional Mexican album to place within the top 10.
Grupo Firme have become mavericks to watch out for in regional Mexican music. Through their brassy banda music anthems, the seven-piece group have amassed millions of fans in and outside of the genre.
That's been further proven by their impressive streaming numbers: At press time, the music video for their kiss-off track "Ya Superame" has more than 305 million views on YouTube alone, and the raucous "El Toxico" (featuring fellow Mexican singer Carin Leon) has more than 413 million. Their infectious melodies and free-spirited performances also helped them earn a Latin GRAMMY for Best Banda Album in 2021 and a slot on the Coachella bill this year. Perhaps their 2020 album title said it best: Nos Divertimos Logrando Lo Imposible, which translates to "We Have Fun Achieving the Impossible."
The band has also become a bright spot of LGBTQ+ representation in the genre, as member Jhonny Caz is openly gay. His brother, lead singer Eduin Caz, sings about the band's message of inclusiveness and tells off naysayers in "Cada Quien," which features Colombian superstar Maluma.
Yahritza y Su Esencia
Yahritza y Su Esencia is the latest success story in regional Mexican music. The trio is comprised of Yahritza Martínez and her brothers, Jairo and Mando, who hail from Washington's Yakima Valley.
Yahritza, who is the lead singer, started teasing the band's debut single "Soy El Unico" on TikTok before the group officially released it in March. The heartfelt corrido that showcased Yahritza's soulful voice debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Latin Songs chart and No. 20 on the Hot 100. With the latter entry, Yahritza made history as the youngest Latin performer to appear on the all-genre chart at just 15 years old.
The family band continued their chart success with their first EP, Obsessed, which opened at No. 1 on the Regional Mexican Albums chart in May, showing that the genre's next generation isn't just resonating — they're dominating.
Get Familiar With The Best New Artist Nominees At The 2022 Latin GRAMMYs
Learn more about the 11 rising stars nominated for Best New Artist at the 2022 Latin GRAMMYs: Angela Alvarez, Sofía Campos, Cande Y Paulo, Clarissa, Silvana Estrada, Pol Granch, Nabález, Tiare, Vale, Yahritza Y Su Esencia, and Nicole Zignago.
The below article is an excerpt from the 2022 Latin GRAMMYs program book, which you can read in full here.
As some of the biggest artists, songs and albums in Latin music are celebrated at the 2022 Latin GRAMMYs, so will its next generation in the Best New Artist category.
This year, there are 11 nominees: Angela Alvarez, Sofía Campos, Cande Y Paulo, Clarissa, Silvana Estrada, Pol Granch, Nabález, Tiare, Vale, Yahritza Y Su Esencia, and Nicole Zignago. Whether you're a huge fan or new to the names, GRAMMY.com has all the info you need to know about each of those artists ahead of the Nov. 17 broadcast.
Below, get to know all of the 2022 Latin GRAMMY Best New Artist nominees. Then, be sure to tune into the 23rd Latin GRAMMY Awards on Univision at 8 p.m. ET/PT (7 p.m. CT) to see which rising star wins!
The 2022 Latin GRAMMYs will also air on cable channel TNT at 19.00 (MEX) / 20.00 (PAN-COL) / 21.00 (VEN) / 22.00 (ARG/CHI/BRAZIL), and on Televisa Channel 5. The show will also be available on HBO Max in Spanish only.
Angela Alvarez's story is like something out of a movie. At an early age, she was forbidden by her father from pursuing a career singing in Cuban nightclubs. After the Cuban Revolution, she made the harrowing decision to send her four children to the United States. After joining them later and building a life in her adopted homeland for decades, her grandson, composer Carlos José Alvarez, recorded her performing the songs that had entertained countless family gatherings. Condensing an entire life into one powerful hour, her self-titled debut was a sensation. It not only made the 95-year-old bolero singer the oldest Latin GRAMMY nominee, but also a film star, with an acclaimed biographical documentary (Miss Angela) and a role in the latest remake of Father of the Bride. — Andrew Casillas*
Sofía Campos, an independent singer/songwriter from Argentina who makes dreamy, inviting and heartfelt music in Spanish and Portuguese, describes it as "a mix of the places I've visited: Brazil, Mexico, Argentina." In 2021, she self-released her sunbeam-filled 10-track sophomore album, Lugares Imaginarios, recorded with producer Matías Cella. It features her beautiful collaboration with Natalia Lafourcade, "Verde Nocturno," as well as one with her brother, Chaco Campos, "Segredos Nossos." She released her first EP, Rosa Laranja, in 2018, followed by her debut album, Salvar El Fuego, in 2019. The prestigious South by Southwest Conference selected her to perform as an official artist at its Austin, Texas, festival in April, her first U.S. show. Campos wears her heart on her sleeve with her music, which is perfect for a walk admiring nature or a laid-back cafecito break. — Ana Monroy Yglesias
Cande Y Paulo
Cande y Paulo embody all that is unexpected and sensuous in a style that blends jazz, the classics and the unflinching daring. One day in 2017 this duo decided to upload to social media their performance of the eternally beloved song by Luis Alberto Spinetta, "Barro Tal Vez." A few months and 10 million views later, many discovered that the Cande Buasso y Paulo Carrizo duo was a force to be reckoned with. Hailing from a valley in the San Juan province of Argentina, they're both tenacious, products of a classical music education and families with diverse tastes in music and rhythms. Paulo impresses with his musical prowess, and Cande bewitches with her velvet voice. The end result is a sound that has already traveled much further than they ever imagined. — Ana Santiago
Going from social media influencer to Latin GRAMMY nominee in the span of a year and a half would be a feat for anyone. But for Brazilian indie pop chanteuse Clarissa Müller, it seems almost expected. She has a versatility that's exceedingly rare these days and that is reflected on her self-titled debut EP. Anyone expecting simple songs about overnight fame will be quickly surprised, however, as Clarissa explores themes like love, desire and empowerment with a startling maturity. Perhaps this is best showcased on the single "Ela," which details a burgeoning same-sex romance and the accompanying fear, anxiety, affection and tenderness that are familiar to anyone who's ever been in love. — Andrew Casillas
Silvana Estrada calmly entered the Latin music landscape, and her poetic revolution instantly began. Reared in a family of luthiers in Coatepec, Veracruz, where the son jarocho resonated, the singer and multi-instrumentalist searched her soul to find her voice early on. Her roots, also inspired by jazz, run deep in Latin American folklore, cultivating a powerful, intimate voice that at times channels the spirit of its greats; think Chavela Vargas or Mercedes Sosa. One quality of her raw, hushed voice is that it can turn fiery in an instant. Paired with the pristine fingerstyle of her Venezuelan cuatro, it can evoke the twinkling of a starry night, and the sky's more thunderous moments too. Despite her latest work sprouting from lost love (2022's "Marchita" or "withered"), it flourishes brilliantly like a rose sprouting from concrete. — Isabela Raygoza
Barely into his teens, Pol Granch (born Pablo Grandjean) began to release songs on social media. In 2018, a TV musical talent contest in his native Spain, Factor X España, opened doors for him. In 2019, he released his first single, "Late," and a self-titled EP. They would be followed by a debut album, Tengo Que Calmarme. Since then, however, the agenda of this pop singer/songwriter, who also claims French heritage, has been anything but calm. Last year, he found widespread recognition with a single and remix, "Tiroteo," featuring Marc Seguí and Rauw Alejandro, respectively. And this year, the twentysomething has another album to his name, Amor Escupido. Spit Love? Well, no one ever said love was easy to understand. — Juan Carlos Pérez-Duthie
With his rugged mix of cowboy-pop with an R&B sensibility, up-and-coming Colombian troubadour Nabález is someone to watch. Growing up in Atlanta, Felipe González Abad got immersed in the world of gospel and country, but his heart is clearly in his Colombian heritage as he delves ever deeper into the art of the Latin American ballad. As a producer, the beatmaker started cooking tracks for Latin pop stars like Bebe, Greeicy and Karen Méndez, which elevated his proficiency in contemporary pop. As a solo artist, Nabález set his sights on the regional Mexican music horizon, mastering genres such as ranchera and banda. With a string of successful singles that comprise his ranchera debut and with worthy collaborators such as Majo Aguilar (granddaughter of Antonio Aguilar, an icon from Mexican cinema's golden age), his star will only shine brighter. — Isabela Raygoza
Venezuelan-Peruvian newcomer Tiare's aptly titled debut EP Dieciséis is a compositional snapshot with material she wrote between the ages of 13 and 16.
It displays thematic maturity and a knack for songwriting. And her mostly
acoustic guitar-driven pop ballads "La Española," "Líneas De Tu Mano" and "Evaluna" showcase Tiare's songwriting talents and her ability to convey coming- of-age themes in a nuanced and relatable way within a warm, flamenco-tinged vocal delivery and skillful guitar. "Evaluna," produced by Latin GRAMMY-nominated hitmaker Periko (Periko & Jessi León), surpassed one million views on YouTube. It's evidence that Tiare's talents are rooted in her ability to connect with a wider audience through her music. — Lissette Corsa
Vale, the Colombian duo comprised of twin sisters Valentina and Valeria Pérez, displays a rare combination of voices that are at once diaphanous and strong, and they're causing quite a stir in the Latin indie-pop music scene. Together they float ethereally as they overlap and meld harmoniously against a beguiling blend of R&B and folk-pop. Their latest album, Línea Recta, is a collection of eight tracks described by the sisters as "a tribute to imperfections and real beauty." Vale's otherworldly melodies and minimalist acoustic arrangements connote light effervescence on the surface and something deeper within, draped in heartfelt lyrics and tender poeticism, that explore the many crevices where love likes to hide. — Lissette Corsa
Yahritza Y Su Esencia
They've been called the great new promise of regional Mexican music, even though at the beginning of the year, the vocalist of Yahritza y Su Esencia was still in high school. Along with her instrumentalist brothers, Jairo and Mando, Yahritza Martínez grew up in a working-class family in Yakima, Washington. As a small child, she picked fruit in the fields, and at 13 she composed "Soy El Único," with which she tasted digital fame on YouTube. Today, the three Martínez siblings are with Lumbre Music. The label's directors saw a video of a cover made by the group and became, like the title of the trio's debut EP, Obsessed. No matter what the future holds, these young talents understand that they must preserve what sets them apart them: their essence. — Juan Carlos Pérez-Duthie
This past year, Nicole Zignago has gone from behind-the-scenes hitmaker into the spotlight. The Peruvian singer/songwriter made her reputation co-penning global hits like Sofía Reyes' "1, 2, 3" and Mariah Angeliq's "Taxi." After signing with Warner Music México late last year, Zignago debuted as an artist in May with the EP Así Me Siento Hoy. As the title suggests, she has compiled a collection of six deeply personal songs that showcase her versatility. Soaring ballad "Preguntas" finds her processing her feelings after a difficult breakup. Later, in the flamenco-infused "Feelings," Zignago has shaken off the heartbreak. She also embraces elements of R&B in the funky love song "Me Gusta Que Me Gustes." Zignago, also known for being the daughter of singer Gian Marco, is now making a name for herself. — Lucas Villa
Photo: JC Olivera/Getty Images
Christian Nodal, La Banda El Recodo & More To Perform At Dia Nacional De La Banda In Las Vegas
La Adictiva and Banda Los Sebastianes are among other performers at the Jan. 24 event set to take place at the T-Mobile Arena
Las Vegas will turn into a banda lover's dream when Dia Nacional De La Banda comes to town in early 2020. Mexican regional stars like Latin GRAMMY-winning singer Christian Nodal and iconic GRAMMY-nominated La Banda El Recodo will perform at the music event Jan. 24 at the T-Mobile Arena.
The Mexican regional music fest will also feature big-name bands like La Arrolladora Banda el Limon, Los Recoditos, La Adictiva and Banda Los Sebastianes.
Banda music is a polka-influenced style of regional music from Mexico featuring songs about working-class rural life. As the genre has grown in the U.S., lyrics also recount experiences growing up as a first-generation American.
Dia Nacional De La Banda is a collaboration between Los Angeles' La Raza 97.9 FM, La Musica app and SBS Entertainment. Tickets are on sale now.
Photos (L-R): Frazer Harrison/Getty Images, Mindy Small/WireImage
2022 Latin GRAMMYs: Angela Alvarez & Silvana Estrada Tie For Latin GRAMMY For Best New Artist
Angela Alvarez and Silvana Estrada have tied for the Latin GRAMMY for Best New Artist at the 2022 Latin GRAMMYs.
Angela Alvarez and Silvana Estrada jointly won the Latin GRAMMY for Best New Artist at the 2022 Latin GRAMMYs.
Sofía Campos, Cande y Paulo, Clarissa, Pol Granch, Nabález, Tiare, Vale, Yahritza y Su Esencia, and Nicole Zignago were the other nominees in the prestigious category.
At age 95, Alvarez made history as the oldest musician to be nominated for Best New Artist at the Latin GRAMMYs. At 25, Estrada received a nomination for Best Singer-Songwriter Album in addition to her Best New Artist win.
As the artists shared the stage and gave their moving acceptance speeches, the audience gave a standing ovation.
Check out the complete list of winners and nominees at the 2022 Latin GRAMMYs.
Photo: Mindy Small/FilmMagic/Getty Images
Poll: Who Do You Think Will Win Best New Artist At The 2018 Latin GRAMMYs?
Who Will Win Best New Artist At The Latin GRAMMYs?
Last year Dominican singer/songwriter Vicente García had a big night at the Latin GRAMMY Awards, taking home the high honor of Best New Artist along with two other wins, for Best Singer-Songwriter Album and Best Tropical Song. This year the excitement continues to build, especially after the 2018 nominees were announced on Sept. 20. Now another great class of musicians are waiting to learn who will be crowned this year's Best New Artist: Angela Aguilar, Anaadi, El David Aguilar, Alex Ferreira, Karol G, LosPetitFellas, Nana Mendoza, Christian Nodal, Claudia Prieto and Benjamín Walker are all in the running. Who would you like to see win the title this year?
Are you a big fan of rising reggaeton queen Karol G, hailing from Colombia and shaking up the genre with a fresh sound, or are you rooting for 15-year-old Angela Aguilar, one of the youngest-ever Latin GRAMMY nominees, who is continuing her family's tradition as a Regional Mexican singer? Are you mesmerized by Brazilian Anaadi's sultry Portuguese-language vocals and jazz-inspired beats, do you love Columbian group LosPetitFellas' take on Latin alt-rock or are you digging Mexican Nana Mendoza's R&B-infused beats? Are you a fan of Chilean singer/songwriter Benjamín Walker's fresh blend of pop with Chile's traditional trova style, or are you betting on another singer/songwriter, El David Aguilar, a longtime indie music-maker in his native Mexico? Or do you prefer the smooth vocals of Dominican artist Álex Ferreira, Christian Nodal, another young traditional Mexican singer who's been making mariachi music from a young age or Colombo-Venezuelan Claudia Prieto's upbeat take on Latin folk music?
Let us know who you would pick for Best New Artist at the 19th Latin GRAMMYs with our above poll and don't forget to tune in to the show on Nov. 15, airing live on Univision.