© 2019 Billboard. All Rights Reserved.
Billboard is a subsidiary of Valence Media, LLC.
Latino music continues to have a strong representation in the general market, thanks to a refreshing wave of artists, who are bringing their unique fusions, Spanglish-speaking skills and real-talk lyrics to the map.
Cardi B, Camila Cabello and Jennifer Lopez, to name a few, are Latina artists who have marked territory in the music industry by singing primarily in English, but they’re not alone.
From Anthony Ramos to Paloma Mami, check out nine music artists of Latino descent who are changing the game.
Best known from the off-Broadway production of Hamilton, Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It, and portraying Lady Gaga’s BFF in A Star Is Born, actor Anthony Ramos has dipped his toes in the music scene, debuting his album The Good & The Bad on October 2019 via Republic. Ramos previously told Billboard that his music is “real stories with banging beats” that reflects his upbringing in a Puerto Rican household in Bushwick, Brooklyn. In addition to his music career, Ramos will play the lead in the movie adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights, coming in June.
Cuco (real name: Omar Banos) is an Inglewood-based artist born to Mexican parents. His oldies-themed melodies and bilingual lyrics not only nabbed him his first-ever performance at Coachella in 2019 but also a title on the Billboard 200 chart with his debut album, Para Mi. Inspired by love and heartbreak, Cuco told Billboard his music is “like a bunch of synthesizers ... jazz chords, it's like dream pop, if that's the right term.” His most-watched music video on his YouTube channel is “Summertime Hightime” racking over 15 million views.
Canadian-born Daniela Andrade is an emerging singer-songwriter of Honduran descent, whose silky vocals and alternative indie melodies are stealing the spotlight. Andrade’s music, as heard in “Tamale” and “Gallo Pinto,” brings to the forefront lyrics about women empowerment, love, immigration, and her Central American roots. Before penning her own heartfelt lyrics, Andrade was put on the spotlight thanks to her covers on YouTube.
Jessie Reyez’s soulful R&B vibes got on the international map when she collaborated with Eminem for “Good Guy” and “Nice Guy,” both of which landed on the Hot 100 chart dated Sept. 15, 2018. The Canadian-Colombian singer, who recently teamed up with Karol G for the “Ocean (Remix),” is nominated for best urban contemporary album at the 2020 Grammys with her sophomore EP, Being Human in Public. For Reyez, being a Grammy nominee has been a lifelong dream. “The nomination means a lot. I cried,” she confessed to Billboard. “It’s something I’ve thought about since I was a kid. I could say it’s an honor to be nominated, but this kid wants to win!”
Colombian-American artist Kali Uchis is a soul singer for the modern era who sings in both English and Spanish. Although she likes to seek inspiration from the music of the '60s and '70s, Uchis (real name: Karly-Marina Loaiza) is not afraid to experiment with reggae, R&B, jazz, indie pop, and Latin urban melodies. Her Tainy-produced single “Solita,” for example, is an empowering reggaeton track about a woman who’s finding her self-worth after a breakup. Uchis debut studio album Isolation peaked at No. 32 on the Billboard 200 chart dated April 21, 2018.
Kat Dahlia is no new face in the game, charting at No. 13 on the Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart with her 2013 single “Gangsta.” In 2015, she dropped her debut studio album My Garden, showing the world what she’s all about. Last year, the Miami-based Cuban-American powerhouse inked a deal with independent music marketing services and distribution company Ingrooves, releasing her Spanglish urban bop “I’m Doing Good” in June.
Miami-based songstress Lauren Jauregui has fans buzzing with her singles “Expectations” and “More Than That,” preparing the world for her debut solo album set for a 2020 release. “I’m so proud of the way that I’ve been able to articulate my point of view,” she previously told Billboard. “I’m emo, so you’re gonna get some deep, dark lyrics from my soul, but some bops too…It’s gonna be really fun. I’m really excited to share it with the world, but I’m just kind of packaging everything and still finishing up some songs." In 2016, the former Fifth Harmony singer penned an open letter on Billboard, stating she’s a "proud bisexual Cuban-American woman.” Her collaboration with Halsey in "Strangers,” which entered Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in June 2017, is dedicated to the LGBTQ community.
Paloma Mami was discovered after her independently-produced 2018 debut single “Not Steady” became a viral success. The New York-based Chilean singer-songwriter has since signed to Sony Music US Latin, dropping her bops “No Te Enamores,” “Fingias,” “Don’t Talk About Me,” and most recently “Mami.” With a delicate but powerful voice, Paloma Mami is clear about what she intends to accomplish with her music: “My music is a more elegant urban style, without references to drugs and sex."
A self-taught musician and artist, Omar Apollo first gained recognition with his single “Ugotme” released in 2017. Born to hard-working Mexican immigrants, Apollo is originally from Hobart, Indiana. His musical style fuses everything from R&B to funk to pop to folk to psychedelic indie-rock. “My music is all my experience with life,” he told Billboard. “You know, traumas and love and all that good stuff.”
The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.
To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.