Jesse Huerta remembers two specific pangs of nervousness at the Latin Grammys last November. One came when his guitar was dropped by a technician 30 seconds before his televised performance with his s

Jesse Huerta remembers two specific pangs of nervousness at the Latin Grammys last November. One came when his guitar was dropped by a technician 30 seconds before his televised performance with his sister, Joy; he had mere seconds to re-tune it before the lights came up. The second time, however, was when it was announced that his project Jesse & Joy won best new artist at the ceremony.

Just as "before you die, you see your whole life pass before your eyes," recalls Jesse, he saw "all the work we had done. Now we're harvesting a little of what we've planted over the last two years," he says. He and Joy's debut album, 2006's "Esta Es Mi Vida," had already gone gold in Mexico.

The duo's folk-pop single, "Espacio Sideral," took a while to break Billboard's Hot Latin Songs chart, but finally did so last month, with the song at No. 35 the week of Jan. 28.

Meanwhile, the singing and songwriting duo is on its fifth single in Mexico, and U.S. bilingual entertainment channels mun2 and MTV Tr3s have picked up their videos.

"It was the last push we needed," says Jesse of the Latin Grammy win. "We're grateful for the prize, but we're glad we got to play." Indeed, downloads of the single took off after the Univision telecast, with 8,000 sold to date according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Instead of rushing into the studio to record their next album, the Huertas -- who write their own songs and count the Carpenters and James Taylor as influences -- have recorded some demos at the home they share with their American-born mother and Mexican father in Mexico City. That's how they began their first album four years ago, before they had a label, Jesse says. "We felt totally free to explore and experiment... We're trying to keep that vibe."

For now, the singer-songwriters are in the process of "internationalizing" their debut album on promotional tours in Puerto Rico, Spain and Latin America.

Performing with a sibling, Jesse adds, is a "support system. We share something, music, that is really special to us both. We just have each other on stage."