meta-script10 Incredible Moments From The 2023 Latin GRAMMYs: Rosalía, Shakira, Peso Pluma & More | GRAMMY.com
Leon Leiden, Natascha Falcão and Paola Guanche perform onstage during The 24th Annual Latin Grammy Awards on November 16, 2023 in Seville, Spain.
Leon Leiden, Natascha Falcão and Paola Guanche perform onstage during The 24th Annual Latin Grammy Awards on November 16, 2023 in Seville, Spain.

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Latin Recording Academy

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10 Incredible Moments From The 2023 Latin GRAMMYs: Rosalía, Shakira, Peso Pluma & More

The 2023 Latin GRAMMYs were truly international, embracing sounds of flamenco, norteño, reggaetón, and everything in between. Read on for 10 of the most exciting moments from the Biggest Night In Latin Music.

GRAMMYs/Nov 17, 2023 - 03:27 pm

It is not a coincidence that the 24th annual edition of the Latin GRAMMYs took place in Sevilla, Spain — far away from the traditional epicenters of Latin music production. More than ever before, the sound of the Latin GRAMMYs are truly international, embraced by fans all over the world.

At a time of unprecedented global turmoil and collective anxiety, the songs of Bad Bunny, Shakira, Peso Pluma and Rosalía — to name a few of many reigning stars — have enough zest, honesty and passion in them to provide comfort. Both Spain and Latin America boast a long standing tradition of healing through rhythm and melody. Not surprisingly, this year's ceremony felt like a casual gathering of friends for an evening of dancing and celebrating.

From the strains of flamenco to the boom of Mexican music and the ongoing permutations of reggaetón, these are the takeaway points from the unforgettable 2023 Latin GRAMMYs.

The Genius Of Rosalía Transcends Her Own Songbook

It was only fitting that Rosalía — one of the most visionary singer/songwriters in global pop — should open up the first Latin GRAMMY ceremony in Spanish territory.

She could have certainly taken advantage of the opportunity to drop a new single or perform one of her many hits. Instead, Rosalía sang an achingly beautiful version of the 1985 classic "Se Nos Rompió El Amor" by the late singer Rocío Jurado. It was a lovely way to deflect the spotlight and focus on celebrating her Spanish roots.

Spain And Latin America Make Beautiful Music Together

From beginning to end, the telecast underscored the organic kinship that unites the music of Spain and Latin America. It took place during the International Day of Flamenco, and the transcendent genre was present in Alejandro Sanz's moving performance of "Corazón Partío." The award for Best Flamenco Album, won by Niña Pastori for Camino, was presented during the main ceremony — a GRAMMY first.

Later in the telecast, Spanish pop singer Manuel Carrasco and Colombian artist Camilo performed an acoustic duet of "Salitre." They were soon joined by Brazilian singer IZA Texas-born producer/songwriter Edgar Barrera, transforming the Sevilla stage with Carnivalesque energy.

Hell Hath No Fury Like A Pop Star Scorned

Since its release in January, “Shakira: Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53,” the collaboration between Shakira and Argentine producer Bizarrap, has become a global cultural phenomenon. Not only is it a grand pop song with slick EDM accents, but the Colombian diva's lyrics struck a chord with its message of empowerment and fortitude in the face of adversity.

The duo's brisk performance — preceded by a brief intro with Shaki showcasing her tango dancing skills — was an iconic pop culture moment. The track itself won awards in the Best Pop Song and Song Of The Year categories.

Emerging Talent Is The Lifeline That Keeps Latin Music Alive

Watching young artists performing together with the legends that inspired them is a Latin GRAMMY staple. This year was particularly poignant, as Colombian singer/songwriter Juanes performed a moving rendition of the atmospheric rocker "Gris" — about overcoming a relationship crisis — with majestic background vocals provided by six of the 10 Best New Artist nominees: Borja, Natascha Falcão, GALE, Paola Guanche, León Leiden and Joaquina — who ended up winning the award.

For Mexico, The Time Is Now

The moment was ripe for the richness and depth of música Mexicana to shine on an international scale. 2023 was the year when the entire world fell in love with the strains of banda, norteño and corridos tumbados.

The infectious collaboration between Peso Pluma and Eslabón Armado, "Ella Baila Sola" became the emblem of this revolución mexicana. A buoyant rendition of the track was a telecast highlight, as well as the performance by Carín León, who won the award for Best Norteño Album.

Laura Pausini's Artistry Evokes The Elegance Of Decades Past

Introducing herself as "the most [expletive] Latina Italian woman in the world," Laura Pausini seemed overjoyed with her Person Of The Year award. Her medley of career highlights — full of drama and gorgeous melodies — included nods to her first mega-hit, the nostalgic "La Solitudine," and the cinematic "Víveme."

"I thank my father because he chose not to go to the movies with my mom, and instead stayed at home, made love to her and had me, the Person Of The Year," Pausini quipped. Her songbook evokes the golden era of Latin pop, a time of elegance and style.

Radical Genre Bending Never Fails To Intrigue

Latin music is currently experiencing a moment of grace, and this creative apex is frequently expressed through intriguing fusions of seemingly disparate styles. The adrenaline-fueled performance by Puerto Rican neo-reggaetón star Rauw Alejandro gained in electricity when he was joined by Juanes on a rocked-up rendition of "BABY HELLO." 

Elsewhere, Carín León's duet with Maluma and Bizarrap's foray into electro-tango were fueled by a similar spirit of playful experimentation.

Exquisite Singing & Songwriting Will Never Go Out Of Style

There's something to be said about an album that was recorded live on tape with analog equipment — the singer surrounded by her band, as they perform together in the same space, with no outside guests allowed.

Natalia Lafourcade's "De Todas Las Flores" is all about feeling and warmth, her vulnerable vocals framed by delicate piano notes and supple percussion. A worthy Record Of The Year winner, this exquisitely layered track proposes that some traditional methods of music making are definitely worth preserving. At the Premiere Ceremony, Lafourcade also took home golden gramophones for Best Singer-Songwriter Song and Best Singer-Songwriter Album.

Hip-Hop Is A Natural Component Of The Latin Music DNA

At the tail end of the ceremony, the performance by Colombian vocalist Feid — aided by the stellar skills of producer DJ Premier — included a moody reading of "Le Pido a DIOS" with nods to '90s rap and jazzy keyboard flourishes. Just like EDM, hip-hop has been fully incorporated into the Latin music lexicon, assuming an identity of its own.

KAROL G Is Much, Much More Than Just A Global Pop Star

Just like Rosalía's Motomami, KAROL G's fourth studio LP – winner of the coveted Album Of The Year award — will be remembered for the dazzling quality of its songs and the kind of indelible magic that can only be experienced, not described. The Colombian singer's artistic partnership with producer Ovy On The Drums has resulted in a futuristic sound that leaves ample space for the warmth of her vocals — and it grooves like crazy.

Most importantly, MAÑANA SERÁ BONITO celebrates the small pleasures, the brief glimpses of inner peace, and the decision to embrace self-acceptance even in the wake of emotional storms. In KAROL G's world, optimism is the only pathway out to a better tomorrow.

2023 Latin GRAMMYs: See The Complete Winners & Nominations List

Nathy Peluso Talks 'Grasa,' The Mob & More
Nathy Peluso

Photo: Kito Muñoz

interview

Nathy Peluso Is 'Grasa': How Hard-Earned Lessons, The Mafia & A Lost Album Led To Her Most Vulnerable Work

Both honest and brash, Nathy Peluso's first album in four years is the culmination of therapy and deep musical work. "It’s important to bring that energy to the music, like, rude, strong, dangerous," she says.

GRAMMYs/May 24, 2024 - 04:45 pm

Those who follow underground Spanish music have known the name Nathy Peluso for a while, but in 2020 the Argentine-Spanish artist came to the attention of a broader audience. That year,  the rapper and singer released her official debut album Calambre, which won a Latin GRAMMY for Best Alternative Album and received a GRAMMY nomination for Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album in 2021. 

Four years later, Peluso is back with Grasa [Grease]. Out May 24, the 16 track follow-up is simultaneously bolder, more vulnerable and more revealing than its predecessor, crystalizing the artist's iconoclastic and often cinema-inspired vision.

At Legacy Records, a hotspot for haute Mediterranean fare in Manhattan's Hudson Yards neighborhood, Nathy is draped in an oversized blazer and pants. She looks like a relaxed, elegant CEO and the style becomes her, especially as she balances it with ultra-feminine touches. Today, its long nails tipped in fire-engine red.

Her fashion choices are as pointed as her manicure, on and off stage. In the recent video for "Aprender a Amar," she raps ferociously into a mirror, sharply dressed in a pin-stripe tie, a jacket with exaggerated shoulders, and delicate black lace gloves. These sartorial choices ask, Why settle for a mob-wife aesthetic when you can be a don yourself?

Both visually and aurally, Nathy Peluso is part cinematic diva and part underworld kingpin, with a fair amount of Missy Elliott swagger. Her tough, independent persona was on full display on her now-multimillion streamed 2020 Bizarrap session, which smoldered and crackled with her bombast. It was fully formed on "Business Woman," from Calambre, and returned with a roar on her 2021 single "Mafiosa," a high drama salsa track.  

Her powerful energy is pure hip-hop in steel-toe Timbs, but she performs with the generous spirit of a burgeoning pop star ministering to a big house of fans. On Grasa, Nathy Peluso brings humanity to her braggadocio. This doesn’t stop her from picking up the mafia saga where she left off on Calambre. The opening track is titled "Corleone." 

Ahead of the release of her first album in four years, Nathy Peluso spoke with GRAMMY.com about overcoming creative burnout, taking inspiration from mob movies, and the true meaning of "grasa."

This album is more personal than your previous releases. What led you to open up more lyrically?

I think it just happened because I am growing. I am learning and I need to tell my truth. The way for me to do that is music. It’s been four years, but, when the moment came, I was ready.

Speaking of four years ago, 2020 was a very big year for you. A lot happened. What are your most vivid memories from that time?

Calambre was the moment. It was really special for me. Winning the GRAMMY was the moment, and then touring with that album was an amazing learning experience for me. I grew up on the stage. 

I grew up as a woman, as an artist, as a performer, maybe as a lover too. You are traveling around the world with so much pressure. Physically, it was a difficult show. I was alone on stage, with my musicians, but no dancers. It was a challenge. 

I grew up in so many ways, but when I finished that tour I was broken. My soul was broken. I was empty. I started looking for myself. It was very tough. 

It sounds like you were experiencing creative burnout.

Yes, my brain was broken, but it was necessary in order to start again. I did an album then, but I decided not to go with that album and to start again. So, it was a very long path. 

You wrote a whole album and then discarded it? What wasn’t working about it?

It was working, but it wasn’t the feelings I wanted to share and the music I wanted to share. Sometimes there are projects whose purpose is just to learn from. It was a process of learning for me. That was a very special moment. 

You start feeling like a failure, but no. It was necessary to go through that to get to Grasa. The things I learned were exactly the things I needed to know to then make this music. 

So, how did you overcome this period of burnout and get to the point where you were feeling creative again?

A lot of therapy. A lot of working on my s— and confronting it.

Is there one song on Grasa that is more intense to perform, or more emotional for you than the others?

"Envidia" is talking real s—. Things happen around you and you need to know who you are and what your intention is. You have to be focused on what you want to bring to the world and not care about anything besides your craft. People are going to talk. Things are going to be crazy. You’ve got to know your choice, your path.

Can you tell me about the song "Corleone"? How do gangster movies inspire you?

I have a song called "Mafiosa." It’s a character I love to perform and I see myself in that character. It’s relatable. The mafia have codes that represent me — not everything [laughs] — but, you know, the family, the legacy, working hard, respect. That kind of feeling in music, in cinema, is what I was looking for. I love the aesthetic. I love Tarantino. I love Tony Montana, the character. On stage, I feel like him sometimes. 

I love for a woman to be that type of character. I think it’s interesting. Usually, those kinds of feelings in music or cinema are represented by men. It’s always that way in salsa. If you look at Celia or Gloria, they were always more romantic. Maybe La Lupe was dangerous. For me, it’s important to bring that energy to the music, like, rude, strong, dangerous. Be careful, bitch!

What were some of your specific musical influences while working on this album?

Always folklore and roots, salsa and bolero, but then I was paying attention to Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West. They are a big inspiration for me. 

How do you bridge the gap, or find the connections among your different influences?

I don’t even know. I just do music, really. I go to the studio and I start singing. I just feel it.  I go to the studio, and suddenly I want to sing, and I want to cry. And then another day, I feel powerful and I want drama and aggressive stuff. It’s very honest. The starting point is always the way I feel.

Is it important to you to make music that empowers other women?

Yes. For sure. But it wasn’t ever a strategy, like, "I want to do music for empowering women." I just did my music without direction. Then I discovered people were feeling the power and using it. I feel inspired by that, but it wasn’t the point. 

What does the word "grasa" mean to you?

I chose that word because it’s the strongest word. It’s dirty. It’s funky. But it’s a word that, at least in Spanish, has a lot of meanings. So, I want people to choose the meaning. After listening to the album, you can choose the meaning and maybe redefine it with the album.

How Danna Paola Created 'CHILDSTAR' By Deconstructing Herself

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.

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DJ Deorro performs  during the Mextour Live Concert at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles in 2023
DJ Deorro performs on stage during the Mextour Live Concert at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on December 14, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images)

Photo: Omar Vega/Getty Images

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

Electronic sounds can be heard throughout Latin music and will be recognized in a new Field and Category at the 2024 Latin GRAMMYs. In honor of the new Best Latin Electronic Music Performance award, read on for eight Latin electronic music essentials.

GRAMMYs/May 2, 2024 - 01:22 pm

Electronic music is embedded within the diverse world of Latin music and, for the first time, will be recognized in a new Field and Category at the 2024 Latin GRAMMYs. Within that field, the award for Best Latin Electronic Music Performance was created to shine a light on DJs, producers, and artists blending proudly blending electronic music with the sounds of their cultures.

Electronic music embodies various subgenres like house music, techno, trance, electronica, and many others rooted that have been popularized by DJs and producers. Latin artists have long enriched those subgenres: Mexico's Belanova globalized the electro-pop wave, while Bomba Estéreo blended cumbia with electronica in Colombia. 

The explosion of EDM in the 2010s also allowed the careers of Latinx DJs to flourish. Mexican American DJ Deorro has showcased both cultures during sets at music festivals like EDC, Coachella, Tomorrowland, and more. Arca's music pushes the boundaries of electronic music through a Venezuelan and Latin American lens. More recently, Colombian producer Víctor Cárdenas bridged the gap between EDM and reggaeton with the global hit "Pepas" by Farruko. Since then, electronic music has seeped through the work of Latin hit-makers like Tainy, Caleb Calloway, Bizarrap and Diego Raposo. "Pepas" and many of Bizarrap's music sessions crossed over onto Billboard's Hot Dance/Electronic Songs.

"That’s something that’s very big for us," Deorro tells GRAMMY.com about the new category. "How beautiful that this is happening, because it shows that what we’re doing is working, we’re breaking down doors, and we’re creating more opportunities for artists like us in the future." 

In honor of the Latin Recording Academy's new Field and Category, here are eight must-hear Latin electronic music essentials.

Belanova - Cocktail (2003)

Belanova revolutionized the Latin music space with their 2003 debut album Cocktail, an atmospheric LP that seamlessly blends Latin pop with electronic music. In the dreamy deep house of "Tu Ojos," singer Denisse Guerrero sang about getting lost in her lover's eyes. The trippy techno of "Barco De Papel" was reminiscent of the music from Madonna's Ray of Light album. Electronic music on the ambient level wasn’t common in Latin music until Belenova changed the game in Mexico, which later reverberated into the rest of Latin America and the U.S. 

The trio — which includes guitarist Ricardo Arreol and keyboardist Edgar Huerta — later delved into electro-pop on 2007's Fantasía Pop, which won a Latin GRAMMY for Best Pop Album by a Group or Duo the following year. 

Arca - Kick I-II (2020)

Venezuelan producer/artist Arca is a pioneer in the Latin electronic music space. Arca first began producing her experimental electronica in Spanish with her 2017 self-titled album.

Arca then masterfully mixed the diverse sounds of Latin America and beyond with EDM throughout her Kick album series. 

For Kick I, she combined Venezuelan gaita music and reggaeton with a cyberpunk edge in "KLK" featuring Spanish pop star Rosalía. Arca then blended electronica with neo-perreo on Kick II's "Prada" and "Rakata." Both albums garnered Arca GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY nominations. 

As a trans and non-binary artist, she is also breaking boundaries for the LGBTQ+ community in the genre. Arca is just not creating more space for queer artists in Latin music, but also in EDM at large by embracing the totality of herself in song.  

Bomba Estéreo - Deja (2021)

Bomba Estéreo, which is comprised of core members Simón Mejía and Liliana "Li" Saumet, has masterfully melded the music of Colombia’s Caribbean coast with electronic music. Since breaking out in 2008 with their sophomore album, the group has often reimagined the African and Indigenous rhythms of their country like cumbia through dance music. Bomba Estéreo’s folkloric approach to EDM has led to collaborations with Bad Bunny, Tainy, and Sofi Tukker.    

In 2021, Bomba Estéreo released its most ambitious album Deja, which garnered a GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY nominations. The title track put a funky spin on the band's signature electro-tropical sound. House music collided with the Afro-Colombian rhythms of champeta in "Conexión Total" featuring Nigerian singer Yemi Alade. Their album that was based on the four classical elements was a breath of fresh air in the Latin music scene. 

Bizarrap - "BZRP Music Sessions #52" (2022)

Argentine producer Bizarrap launched the BZRP Music Sessions on YouTube in 2018, first remaining behind the console for freestyle rapping sessions with local acts. The sessions quickly went viral, and have featured increasingly larger names in music.

Over the past five years, Bizarrap worked elements of electronic music into his hip-hop productions. In 2022, he fully delved into EDM with his global hit "BZRP Music Sessions #52" featuring Spanish singer Quevedo. The traptronica banger peaked at No. 4 on Billboard's Hot Dance/Electronic Songs and earned Bizarrap his first Latin GRAMMY Award. 

Since then, his music sessions have become a global event. Bizarrap later infused electro-pop with a trap breakdown in "BZRP Music Sessions #53" with Shakira, which garnered him two more Latin GRAMMY awards. 

Javiera Mena - Nocturna (2022)

Javiera Mena first debuted as an indie act in 2006 with Esquemas Juveniles. With that freedom as a producer and artist, the Chilean star pushed Latin music into the electronic space with her 2010 album Mena

She fully immersed herself into Latin electronica on her latest album, 2022's Nocturna — an album filled with nighttime club bangers that invite everyone to dance with her. Mena also proudly sings about being part of the LGBTQ+ community in the alluring "La Isla de Lesbos" and the fierce house music of "Diva" featuring Chico Blanco. Considering the influence of queer artists in the formation of electronic genres like house, it’s refreshing to see an artist like Mena remind people of those roots and bring that into Latin music.  

Deorro - Orro (2022)

Mexican American producer Deorro has established himself as one of the world's top DJs, and is known for mixing both of his cultures into his music festival sets. Even before the música mexicana explosion last year, he was one of the first mainstream EDM acts to bring the genre to music festivals around the world through his songs and remixes.   

With his debut album, 2022's Orro, Deorro fully bridged música mexicana with house music. He collaborated with Latin acts like Mexico's Los Tucanes De Tijuana and Maffio in "Yo Las Pongo," which blended the band's norteño sound with EDM. Deorro also explored cumbia with deep house in the sweeping "Dime" featuring Los Ángeles Azules and Lauri Garcia. In his recent sets, he is spinning a fiery remix of "Ella Baila Sola" by Eslabon Armado and Peso Pluma

Sinego - Alterego (2023)

Sinego first broke through in 2019 thanks to his house bolero sound like in "Verte Triste," which put a refreshing spin on an age-old Cuban genre. With traditional genres within the Latin diaspora often falling to the wayside as the years go on, he is reintroducing them to new audiences through EDM reimaginings.   

For his debut album, 2023's Alterego, the Colombian producer pushed his electronic music to another level. Sinego traveled to different Latin American countries and Spain to record with local musicians, reimagining genres like cumbia, tango, and mambo through Sinego's EDM lens. With the sultry "Mala," he blended Venezuela's variation of calypso with house music. He also gave Brazilian samba a house music makeover in "Boa Noite" featuring Tonina. 

Diego Raposo - Yo No Era Así Pero De Ahora En Adelante Sí (2023)

Dominican producer Diego Raposo has helped Latin acts like Danny Ocean, Blue Rojo, and Letón Pé embrace elements of electronic music. In 2018, Raposo released his debut album Caribe Express, which demonstrated his knack for mixing the sounds of the Caribbean with EDM. 

Raposo took that inventive mix into overdrive with last year's Yo No Era Así Pero De Ahora En Adelante Sí. The otherworldly "Si Supieras" featuring Okeiflou blended house music with reggaeton, while "Al Contrario" with Akrilla aggressively mixes drum 'n 'bass with dembow. Rapaso also channels Dance Dance Revolution-esque electronica in the spellbinding "Quédate" with Kablito. 

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Shakira attends the Fendi Couture Fall/Winter 2023/2024 show in Paris, France.
Shakira attends the Fendi Couture Fall/Winter 2023/2024 show in Paris.

Photo: Pietro S. D'Aprano/Getty Images for Fendi

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

Shakira's first album in seven years is out March 22, and very much of the moment with glossy Latin pop, reggaeton, bachata and corrido. The GRAMMY winner's path to this new chapter was long, filled with professional changes and heartbreak.

GRAMMYs/Mar 22, 2024 - 01:08 pm

When Shakira’s "Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53" was released in January of 2023; its success seemed like a freak incident, explainable as a perfect but isolated storm. 

Their virulently catchy track — which happens to spill scalding tea on her breakup with retired Spanish soccer player Gerard Piqué —  set streaming records and took home a Latin GRAMMY for Song Of The Year. Today, the song's success looks more like the first crashing wave of a massive comeback for Shakira

The three-time GRAMMY winner followed her Bzrp Session with another hit single, "TQG," collaborating with Karol G. That song went to No. 1 on the Billboard Global 200, and the duo cleaned up at the Latin GRAMMYs. 

In hindsight, all of this was a mere preamble to the announcement of Shakira's Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran (Women Don't Cry Anymore), due March 22. The album will be her first in seven years, but the sound is very much of the moment, leaning into a high-gloss urban Latin pop sound that delves in reggaeton, bachata and corrido. 

The album is no comeback. With a star as big as Shakira — one who performed at the Super Bowl in 2020 and had her own exhibit at the GRAMMY Museum — it's hard to make the case that she ever left the public eye. Yet the Colombian superstar has put out only a trickle of singles since 2017, when she released her GRAMMY-winning album El Dorado. Prior to the BZRP session, her last major hits were in 2016 with "La Bicicleta," a collaboration with Carlos Vives, and "Chantaje," featuring Maluma, which went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs. 

It’s impossible to talk about this period of retreat, or her new album, without talking about the personal upheavals Shakira has gone through in recent years. In June of 2022, Shakira and Gerard Piqué, with whom she has two sons, publicly announced the end of their 11 year relationship. Starting with 2022’s "Monotonía," featuring Ozuna, nearly every song she has released  since then deals directly with the split and the emotional turmoil she has felt because of it. 

The singer and songwriter herself is not shying away from the fact that her music has been a therapeutic outlet. "I feel like in this moment of my life, which is probably one of the most difficult, darkest hours of my life, music has brought light," she told Elle in 2022. 

Case in point: her Bizarrap session. "Someone should have taken my photo the day I worked on the 'Bizarrap Session 53,' a before and after. Because I went into the studio one way and left in a completely different way," Shakira told Mexican television channel Televisa. "He gave me this space, this opportunity to let it out and it really was a huge release, necessary for my own healing, for my own recovery process."


That feeling of catharsis continued in her work on Las Mujeres. "Making this body of work has been an alchemical process. While writing each song I was rebuilding myself. While singing them, my tears transformed into diamonds, and my vulnerability into strength," the artist said in a statement on Instagram.

Shakira is styling the album as a testament to resilience in the face of adversity, tapping into an understanding that her experiences have a broad resonance. While accepting Billboard’s 2023 Woman Of The Year award, Shakira discussed her "year of seismic change."

"I've felt more than ever — and very personally — what it is to be a woman," she said. "It's been a year where I've realized we women are stronger than we think, braver than we believed, more independent than we were taught to be." 

Indeed, with strength and bravery, Shakira proceeded to channel her individual hurt into a message of universal empowerment. Ahead of her album release, she’s even more explicit about the details of her separation and the impact the relationship had on her career. "For a long time I put my career on hold, to be next to Gerard, so he could play football. There was a lot of sacrifice for love," recently told The Sunday Times.

As she told Billboard for her 2023 cover story, settling down in Barcelona with Piqué and their two children, far from music industry centers, made it difficult for her to work. "It was complicated logistically to get a collaborator there. I had to wait for agendas to coincide or for someone to deign to come," she explained. 

Shakira has since relocated to Miami, a location that played a major role in making her new album possible.

One of the hallmarks of a true pop star is the ability to evolve with the culture without losing their identity. Over decades, and with each release, Shakira has broken a barrier or risen above an obstacle to succeed beyond expectations – whether it’s leading the first Spanish-language broadcast on MTV with her 2000 "Unplugged" concert, or learning English to write her own crossover pop debut. Each move has felt authentic.

It is not an easy task, but Shakira accomplishes this alchemy beautifully every few album cycles, starting with her debut as an alt-leaning, brunette singer/songwriter in the mid '90s. At the turn of the millennium, she made the jump to international fame with a cascade of golden curls and Laundry Service, the English-language album that capitalized on the first wave of crossover Latin pop. She closed out the decade in a whirl of high-gloss dance pop with the Pharell produced She Wolf. Along the way, there was one platinum selling album after another and the No. 1 hit "Hips Don’t Lie," among several Top 10 singles, setting the stage for her to blaze through much of the 2010s. 

Shakira is well-aware of how hard she has had to work even after crossover success. 

In 2019, she told Billboard, "This whole new world had opened up to me, and with it came so many great opportunities, but I continued to pursue impossible goals such as making a song like 'Hips Don’t Lie,' for example—that had a Colombian cumbia and a mention of Barranquilla in the middle of it—play on American radio. I remember I said to [then Sony Music Chairman] Donny Ienner, ‘You have to trust me on this one. This is going to happen, this song is going to blow up.’" 

With El Dorado, she caught the second wave of Latin pop crossover, the one tipped off by Luis Fonsi’s now-infamous 2017 earworm "Despacito." El Dorado, is one of Shakira’s more Latin leaning albums in the long history of her bicultural and bilingual music career. The songs are sung largely in Spanish and her choice of features on the album are almost entirely Latin pop and reggaeton artists: Maluma, Nicky Jam, Prince Royce and Carlos Vives. The album's May 2017 release coincided with a rising global interest in reggaeton.

Shakira wasn’t following a trend; she was just in touch with the moment as usual. She released "Chantaje" months before "Despacito," and "Bicicleta," her song with Carlos Vives, which combines elements of reggaeton and vallenato, came out in 2016. 

With the continued mainstream global success of Latin artists, Shakira may no longer see a need to release an English-language album for every album in her mother tongue. Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran breaks with tradition in that it is her second Spanish-language album in a row. It's also loaded with features from the world of Latin music, including Ozuna, Rauw Alejandro, Manuel Turizo, and Karol G. The moment could not be better for an album that explores forward looking pop reggaeton, assisted by some of the brightest young stars in the genre.

If the past is any indicator, this era is going to be another step up for the artist. Beyond the album release, Shakira is teasing another tour. As she told Billboard, "I think this will be the tour of my life. I’m very excited. Just think, I had my foot on the brakes. Now I’m pressing on the accelerator­ — hard."

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