Latin Artist on the Rise: Khea on Exporting Argentine Trap to the Masses

Ivan Resnik


In less than five years, Khea (real name: Ivo Alfredo Thomas Serue) has managed to scale the Billboard charts with his trap and hip-hop fusions. He also inked a deal with Interscope Records worldwide in early 2020, further cementing himself as a promising newcomer.

“Music has always surrounded me. I come from an artistic family,” the Argentine artist tells Billboard. “I discovered Justin Bieber, who’s important to my generation. As I got older, I discovered rap music and that’s when I realized that instead of listening to music, I wanted to create it.”

In 2017, Khea made the decision to quit school for a year to follow his dreams. It was that same year that his career began to flourish.

“I went viral with ‘Loca,’” he says of his collaboration with Cazzu and Duki, which was remixed by Bad Bunny. “My life changed from zero to a hundred and it also marked the beginning of a movement in Argentina.”

Though he came from the trap scene in the South American country, Khea, who officially signed with Interscope Records in January 2020, has tapped into different genres as of late. He has a pop urban collaboration with Piso 21 (“Donde Estas”), a bachata-trap with Lenny Santos, Natti Natasha and Prince Royce (“Ayer Me Llamo Mi Ex Remix”) and, most recently, a bilingual bop with Rita Ora (“Mood”).

“I could define my sound as pure, universal and versatile,” he says. “I believe that I’m capable of doing something fresh with other genres. I love to compete with myself to see how far I can go.”

On the Billboard charts, Khea earned his first entry on both the Latin Airplay chart and the Latin Rhythm Airplay chart dated Feb. 27 with “Ayer Me Llamó Mi Ex.” On Tropical Airplay, the track peaked at No. 5. He also earned an entry on both the Global 200 and Global Excl. U.S. charts with the same song.

“There’s a movement behind me and I think that as an artist and colleague, we find ways for Argentine music to become global and I think that it’s happening already,” he notes.

Learn more about this week’s Latin Artist on the Rise below:

Name: Ivo Alfredo Thomas Serue. His artistic name was inspired by the automobile brand Kia.

Age: 20

Recommended Song: “Ayer Me Llamó Mi Ex (Remix)”

Major Accomplishment: “Truthfully, being able to help my family and friends in many aspects. Not only financially, but also share my experiences and knowledge with my friends. Another accomplishment of mine is learning every day and meeting new people in this industry.”

What’s Next: “There’s an important remix for Argentina coming soon. It includes artists such as Duki, Lit Killah and Maria Becerra. It’s going to be incredible.”