Billboard Latin Artist on the Rise: José Enrique Morente

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Jose Enrique Morente performs at Circo Price Theatre on Jan. 19, 2014 in Madrid, Spain. 

Spanish eyes are on heir to flamenco royalty as he launches solo career

José Enrique Morente remembers flamenco as being “like food” when he was growing up.

The 26-year-old singer and guitarist is the son of the late Enrique Morente, often called “the Leonard Cohen of flamenco;” he was one the genre’s most iconoclastic artists, and at the same time, one of its most respected internationally.

José Enrique’s sister is Estrella Morente, who over the past decade has gone beyond flamenco’s borders to become known as a global diva, with a theme song for a Pedro Almodovar film (Volver) and two concerts at Carnegie Hall among her many credits. The young Morente’s mother, Aurora Carbonell, is a flamenco dancer; his other sister, Soleá Morente, has also established her singing career.

And now, José Enrique is in the spotlight, set to prove to the flamenco world's tough critics that he can make music worthy of his name.

“What I have to do now is to study and learn everything about flamenco song,” Morente said in an interview backstage before his recent performance at Seville’s Flamenco Biennial. “You can live flamenco all your life, but you then you have to do the work.”

Name: José Enrique “Quiqui” Morente

Big break: Flamenco is traditionally a family affair, and Quiqui began to sing and play guitar at his father’s knee. It was after Enrique Morente’s death in 2010 that he began performing in tributes to his dad and as a special guest at his sister Estrella’s concerts. He debuted as a soloist at a Madrid concert in 2012 whose program proclaimed “the future of flamenco is now among us.”

Major accomplishment: José Enrique Morente scored a spot in the line-up of the 2016 edition of the prestigious Flamenco Biennial in Seville.

What's next: Morente is working on his first solo album to be released at the end of the year by Universal Music Spain.