Kany García’s simply beautiful “Para Siempre” (Forever) from her very fine fifth album, Soy Yo, highlights just how much can be accomplished when you have relatively simple acoustic accompaniment at the service of outstanding lyrics and melodies. “Love, let me always be the desire that makes you return home; that you still see my waist and want to be who encircles it,” sings Garcia, and truly, we ache to hear those words spoken straight to us. García is the type of singer/songwriter who keeps the tradition of intimate composition alive today thanks to her knack for connecting at a visceral level, and delivering intimacy with universal appeal. -- LEILA COBO
Rozalén, “La Puerta Violeta”
With “La Puerta Violeta,” Rozalén turned a song drawn from personal experience into an anthem for thousands of women who have been victims of physical or emotional abuse by their romantic partners. After its release in 2017, the song and its symbolic video about escaping a toxic relationship was adopted as marching music at feminist demonstrations in Spain and Argentina. The track is from Rozalén’s album Cuando el Río Suena, which is nominated in the Latin Grammys album of the year category. The album went to No. 1 on Spain’s Top 100 album chart and has remained in the top 10 for 59 weeks. -- JUDY CANTOR NAVAS
Carlos Vives & Sebastian Yatra, "Robarte un Beso"
In 2017, Carlos Vives dropped "Robarte un Beso," featuring Sebastian Yatra. The feel-good song, which fuses vallenato with tropical urban flairs, hit No. 1 on the Latin Airplay chart (dated Jan. 13). For Yatra, this collaboration has changed his life. "We wrote that song together and it has touched many hearts," he told Billboard in a recent interview. In addition to being nominated for song of the year, "Robarte un Beso" takes a Latin Grammy nod for producer of the year, honoring its masterminds Mauricio Rengifo and Andres Torres. -- JESSICA ROIZ
Jorge Drexler, "Telefonía"
Jorge Drexler’s “Telefonía,” nominated for record of the year as well as song of the year, reprises the singer-songwriter’s recurring and endearing role as a geek in love. The sweet and clever ode to simple romance and evolving telecommunications is one of 11 tracks on his album Salvavidas de Hielo. Nominated for album of the year and singer-songwriter album of the year, it's a perfect showcase for Latin music’s most erudite star. -- JCN
Rosalía, “Malamente” (Cap. 1: Augurio)
Bursting a poetic lyrical imagery, “Malamente” is a conceptual song with forceful handclaps and an avalanche of sounds burrowed into flamenco’s roots and meshed with contemporary urban components. The first single from the album El Mal Querer, the song was written by Antón Alvarez Alfaro, Pablo Diaz-Reixa and Rosalía. Her stylistic musical collision makes the 25-year-old a trailblazer of a genre that leans more on the senses than on a model that can be grasped. While her style seems disproportionate in its inspirations -- flamenco, trap and R&B, are all fused in an uncharted domain -- "Malamente" is meticulously shaped. -- PAMELA BUSTIOS
Fito Paez, "Tu Vida Mi Vida"
One of the hallmarks of a great songwriter is the ability to connect with words both simple and complex, allowing the listener to find meaning on both ends of the spectrum. Fito Paez has navigated both these waters successfully through the years, going from the very complex to something like “Tu Vida Mi Vida” (Your Life My Life), a song that’s achingly beautiful in its simple proclamation of love, set to an uptempo beat that gives it an almost anthemic feel. Paez appears in the video with real-life girlfriend Eugenia Kolodziej, the inspiration behind the song. No wonder lines like “Baby when I’m with you, you light the way” and “The entire universe connects with our love” sound believable. -- LC
Natalia Lafourcade (En Mano de Los Macorinos), “Danza De Gardenias”
Natalia Lafourcade’s lead single from Musas: Un Homenaje Al Folclore Latinoamericano en Manos de Los Macorinos, Vol. 2, which debuted in the top five of Billboard’s Latin Pop Albums chart, “Danza De Gardenias” (Dance of Gardenias) is an homage to Latin American folklore. Written by Natalia Lafourcade and David Aguilar Dorantes, the song traverses through Cuban bolero nuances, with Lafourcade jabbing out phrases of contemplation, detachment, flourishing and joy. Lafourcade’s honeyed voice bookended by the sounds of Los Macorinos ricochets effortlessly between a double bass, bongos, a sonorous Cuban tres, a Venezuelan cuatro, conga drums, clarinet and trumpet. -- PB
Monsieur Perine, "Bailar Contigo"
If Latin alternative and tropical music were to have a hipster lovechild, it would be Monsieur Perine. The Bogota-based group, which won the 2015 Latin Grammy for best new artist, gave music junkies a taste of their new album Encanto Tropical when they released "Bailar Contigo" in the spring. The song, which made it to Spotify's viral chart in 19 countries, sheds light on Monsieur Perine's musical style, which laces the best of pop, tropical, alternative, Afro-Colombian and European music. "Bailar Contigo" is also nominated for a Latin Grammy for record of the year. -- JR
El David Aguilar, "Embrujo"
With a touch of tropical jazz mixed with flamenco sounds, "Embrujo" is a very happy song that describes the beauty of a person in an abstract way. David Aguilar is the composer of the song, and this year he surprised everyone with several Latin Grammy nominations, including album of the year and best new artist. -- SUZETTE FERNANDEZ
Mon Laferte, "Antes De Ti"
Earlier this year, Mon Laferte released the beautiful ballad "Antes de Ti." Mon Laferte definitely has a very subtle and powerful voice that gives a classic and unique sound to the song. Written by Manú Jalil and Mon Laferte, the lyrics define the movement of a powerful woman who can survive without a man. With its unique style, Mon Laferte simply takes it to another level. -- SF