Latin

Natalia Jimenez Signs Management Deal With Sergio Lizarraga's LM Events

Natalia Jiménez
Omar Cruz

Natalia Jiménez

A meeting of Pop and regional Mexican

Natalia Jiménez, the bold-voiced Spanish singer/songwriter who is beloved in Mexico, has signed a management and booking deal with LM Events, the management and booking company headed by Banda MS manager and founder Sergio Lizárraga, Billboard has exclusively learned.

The move marks the first time in recent memory that such a prominent pop act enters a management agreement with a company that specializes in the regional Mexican market. The deal underscores how fluid and collaborative genres have become in Latin music, with the former demarcated lines between sounds and formats, and now business, increasingly fading.

"He [Lizárraga] has been a pioneer of the genre with Banda MS, taking them to international success, and he’s proven his mettle by remaining relevant in a very difficult industry,” Jiménez told Billboard from her home in Miami. “I think it’s a fascinating challenge and I’m 100% vested in this pairing.”

Jiménez rose to prominence as the lead singer of hit Spanish pop group La Quinta Estación. Since launching her solo career in 2011, she’s placed three albums on the top 10 of Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart and six songs on the Hot Latin Songs chart, including No. 1 “Lo mejor de mi vida eres tú” with Ricky Martin.

And for the past decade, Lizárraga’s Banda MS has been one of the top groups in Latin music, in any genre, with 19 top-10 hits on Billboard's Latin Airplay chart.  They are also Mexico’s top-touring banda act and ended 2018 as the country’s most streamed act on Spotify. Last year, the band made history by pairing up with Snoop Dogg in the hit track “Que Maldición.” The fusion track marked the first time a major Mexican banda collaborated with a major American rap act, and landed both acts their first top 10 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs track.

However, signing Jiménez or bridging pop and Mexican music, wasn’t something that Lizárraga was actively looking for. He and Jiménez met in 2019 when the singer and the group recorded a new version of “El Color de Tus Ojos,” a Banda MS hit, as part of Jiménez’s album México de mi Corazón, an homage to Mexican music that featured prominent acts from different genres.

Jiménez wanted to record the track with the full band, so Lizárraga invited her to their home base of Mazatlán to record in his studio. There was a feeling of mutual respect, and last year, Jiménez called Lizárraga and asked if he’d be interested in handling her. “I was surprised at first; I wasn’t sure whether to take her seriously,” says Lizárraga. “Then, we met and I took it very seriously indeed. I know it’s a different genre, but in the end, it’s the music business and a lot of things overlap.”

Lizárraga is widely seen as one of Mexican music’s most successful executives. He helms Banda MS’s label, Lizos Music, launched in 2013, and also opened up LM Events as a management and booking subsidiary for the band and other groups.

“We have a lot of plans [with Natalia],” he says. “I have great songwriters in my team, and she can sing rancheras, mariachis, ballads, which is our expertise. I’m giving her a huge team to work with, in every department, and I’m bringing my honesty, which is flag. Finally, I plan to devote myself entirely to her new music.” Jiménez’s upcoming album is México de Mi Corazón 2, which will be produced by Armando Ávila, who worked on the first set.

She continues to be signed to Sony Music Latin, which also has a close relationship with Banda MS; the label was in charge of distributing and marketing the Snoop Dogg collaboration.

"This is a new and fascinating direction for me, particularly because regional Mexican music is the genre I’m most enjoying right now," said Jiménez. "This is a woman who, musically speaking can sing anything, in any genre. I definitely feel the pressure,” laughs Lizárraga. “But I like a good challenge."

Jiménez was previously signed to Westwood Entertainment, the company that manages Carlos Rivera and Reik, among many others.

Watch Jimenez's performance during Billboard Latin Music Week here: