How Los Angeles Azules Got Their Groove Back, Landing Their First No. 1 Hit in 19 Years With 'Nunca Es Suficiente'
Los Angeles Azules became a trending topic after a video of a shirtless Justin Bieber dancing to their set at the 2018 Coachella Music Festival circulated the Internet. But before their viral success, the cumbia group had three decades of experience under their belts.
Formed by siblings of the Mejia Avante family -- Elías, Alfredo, José Hilario, Jorge, Cristina and Guadalupe in 1983 -- Los Angeles Azules is a Mexican musical group known for their catchy cumbia sonidera sound.
In 1997, their heartfelt cumbia “Como Te Voy a Olvidar” landed the group for the first time ever on the Hot Latin Songs and Latin Airplay charts, peaking at No. 7 on the Feb. 22, 1997-dated charts. Their other big hit, “El Liston de tu Pelo,” arrived three years later, nabbing them many positions on the Billboard Latin charts, including peaking at No. 4 on the Hot Latin Songs chart dated March 25, 2000, and reaching No. 1 on the Regional Mexican Airplay chart dated Feb. 5, 2000, where they ruled for five weeks.
On their mission of keeping cumbia alive, the group launched their album Cómo Te Voy a Olvidar Edición de Súper Lujo! in 2014, recruiting artists such as Ximena Sariñana, Lila Downs and Carla Morrison to add their own unique twist to their timeless cumbia tracks. Next thing you know, the Mexican-based group is hitting the stage at Coachella making Bieber and other millennials flaunt their cumbia-dancing skills.
“We’ve been working for many years with cumbia and romantic music,” founding member Dr. Elias tells Billboard. “I think that everything that’s happening to us right now is something very historic for a tropical group.”
Even though the festival organizers reached out to the group, Elias owes it all to destiny. “Everyone in Mexico told us that we shouldn’t perform there because it was a festival for other genres and international groups,” he recalls of their Coachella gig last year, blessing it as a “fabulous adventure.”
Now, kicking off 2019 with more waves of cumbia, Los Angeles Azules landed their first No. 1 in 19 years on the Regional Mexican Airplay chart (dated Jan. 26) with their latest single “Nunca es Suficiente” featuring Natalia Lafourcade. The song led the chart for three consecutive weeks.
“We talked with Natalia’s team to be able to give one of her original songs our own Los Angeles Azules twist,” Elias says of the track that has currently amassed more than 427 million views on YouTube.
“Nunca es Suficiente” also peaked at No. 7 on the Hot Latin Songs chart dated Jan. 26, 2019, and peaked at No. 3 on the Latin Airplay chart dated Feb. 9, 2019.
The single is part of Los Angeles Azules' 2018 album Esto Si Es Cumbia, which peaked at No. 7 on the Regional Mexican Albums chart dated Feb. 16, and features a cumbia twist to original songs by Ha*Ash, Miguel Bose, Yuri and Gloria Trevi, to name a few.
“We’ve been doing cumbia for 37 years, and keeping it alive has been very challenging,” Dr. Elias admits. “The group has had its up and downs, but the most important part of all is taking cumbia to all parts of the world and that’s what’s happening.”