First Stream Latin: New Music From Carlos Rivera, J Balvin, Denise Rosenthal & More

Carlos Rivera
Dream Team Agency*

Carlos Rivera

First Stream Latin is a compilation of the best new Latin songs, albums and videos recommended by the Billboard Latin editors. Check out this week's picks below.

Carlos Rivera, Leyendas (Sony Music México)

Mexican Carlos Rivera is a young crooner with a teen spirit and a classic heart. In Leyendas, he strives to put all this together, duetting with older, iconic singers on some of their best-known tracks. From Roberto Carlos’ “Un Millón de Amigos” to José Luis Rodríguez’s “Agárrense de Las Manos,” Rivera traverses the Latin American songbook with the care of someone who grew up admiring, and finally emulating, the voices and personalities that defined Latin pop in the '70s and '80s. These are big arrangements, big strings, big voices, big productions, and it’s a reminder of another face of Latin music. We love that Rivera took the care to curate in songs by artists who are dead: The set includes Rocío Dúrcal’s  “Amor Eterno” and José José’s “Amor, Amor,” both recorded from existing tracks, of course. The most poignant inclusion is Armando Manzanero’s “Todavía,” which Rivera was actually able to record live with Manzanero during the pandemic, just a few months before his death. It’s a reminder that there’s no reason to wait to celebrate greatness.  -- LEILA COBO

J Balvin & Maria Becerra, “Qué Más Pues?” (Sueños Globales/UMG Recordings)

J Balvin has reeled in Maria Becerra for his latest single, further proving that he not only has his eyes set on but supports fresh talent. Following his Khalid-assisted "Otra Noche Sin Ti," "Que Mas Pues?" is a melodious reggaeton surrounded with catchy hooks left and right. At some point, Balvin even samples Aqua's 90's hit "Barbie Girl." On the track, Balvin and the Argentine newcomer go back-and-forth on a relationship that didn't work out and will never work out. A standout on this new bop is easily both of their harmonizing energy: Balvin with his distinct voice and Becerra with her dulcet vocals. Their magnetic chemistry comes out to play in the edgy music video. -- JESSICA ROIZ

Reik & Maluma, “Perfecta” (Sony Music México)

Reik and Maluma have already proven to be an effective pairing. In 2018, they delivered the pop-urban anthem “Amigos Con Derechos,” which peaked at No. 1 on Billboard’s Latin Pop Songs Airplay chart (Nov. 17, 2018). Now, three years later, Mexican pop trio and Colombian superstar Maluma have joined forces once again for “Perfecta,” a song that deftly fuses two worlds and sounds, and strikes the perfect balance between pop and reggaeton -- with subtle elements of reggaeton and bachata. As ever, Reik and Maluma are ultra-romantic in these lyrics confessing their love for the girl of their dreams. “What can I do to make you understand that I’m blown away by you, that you’re perfect, that there’s no one else?” Reik’s Chuy Navarro sings. Maluma adds, “you’re the only one that compliments me, I have no doubts. Without me noticing, you cured the solitude that killed me. You gave me everything I needed.” The track was written by Reik (Chuy, Julio and Bibi) alongside Kevyn Cruz, Maluma, Andrés Marin and Germán Danilo. It was produced by Edgar Barrera, Sherman y Keityn. -- GRISELDA FLORES

Denise Rosenthal, Todas Seremos Reinas (Universal Music Chile)

Fifteen songs to remind women that they are beautiful, perfect, fierce and strong is what brings Denise Rosenthal's new album to life. Todas Seremos Reinas (We'll All Be Queens) is an ode to womanhood from start to end. Rosenthal best explains it herself as "a narrative journey because everything has a reason." Her previously released singles, such as "Tiene Sabor," "Agua Segura" and "Dormir," to name a few, easily set the tone for Todas Seremos Reina, an album with dance-pop-R&B fusions, injected with Rosenthal's powerhouse vocals and empowering lyrics. "I know this isn't the era of CDs, much less conceptual albums, but this is a dream come true because each detail is important and reflects part of who I am," Rosenthal expressed on Instagram. "Thank you to all of the queens who continue to inspire and collaborate together, freely, building a new reality. We'll all be queens because, deep down, we already are." Collaborations on this album include Spanish queens Mala Rodriguez and Lola Indigo. -- J.R. 

Juanes, Origen (UMG Recordings)

Juanes returns to his Colombian rocker roots in Origen, and we couldn’t be happier. Beginning with a fast-paced rock 'n' roll version of Joe Arroyo’s “Rebelión,” Origen pays homage to the songs that shaped Juanes’ life and career. The set, produced by Juanes with Sebastian Krys and featuring no loops or samples, is a refreshing sonic journey that includes iconic tracks like Carlos Gardel’s “Volver” –reimagined as a bachata/tango—and unexpected gems like “Todo Hombre Es Una Historia,” originally recorded by Medellín rock band Kraken.  There are also English-language covers: Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing IN The Dark,” which morphed into a soft rock ballad, and “Could You Be Loved,” now a syncopated vamp set over a medley of guitars. Juanes has said that after experimenting with urban beats in his past two albums, Origen is his return to his true self. It is, and happily so.  -- L.C.

Río Roma & Calibre 50, “Tu Eres Mi Amor” (Sony Music México)

Pop duo Río Roma has recruited norteño band Calibre 50 for their tuba- and accordion-powered love song “Tu Eres Mi Amor (You Are My Love).” The first single off Río Roma’s forthcoming EP, the song is a romantic ballad at its core with melancholic lyrics about falling in love. “Finding you changed my life. I would choose you over and over again, and if I could begin again, I’d only hope to find you sooner. You’re not my life, you’re my love because life passes by but what I feel doesn’t,” they sing in the chorus. “Tu Eres Mi Amor” drops as Río Roma celebrates 10 years in music, which will be marked with a special project where the brothers, José Luis Ortega Castro and Raúl Ortega Castro, revisit their regional Mexican roots and will feature additional collaborations within the genre. -- G.F.

Yeison Jimenez, Quinto Elemento (UMG Recordings)

Jimenez’s six-track EP has him partnering with great regional Mexican composers like Horacio Palencia, singer and composer Jose Luis Ortega (Rio Roma), and composer/lyricist Ernesto de Jesus Velasco Moreno. It’s a perfect marriage of genres. In the first single “Tu Amante,” a story about a love affair between a man and a woman whose feelings and passions are forbidden, we hear and travel through the traditional acoustic Colombian guitar melodies accompanied by trumpets, that will take us directly to the south of Colombia, best known as “El Eje Cafetero.” And in the focus track, “No Te Voy a Perdonar,” Jiménez sings of regret accompanied by the unique blend of accordion and trumpets that “Música Popular” is known for. Jimenez describes this album as a “Masterpiece” that took over two years to record. -- INGRID FAJARDO

Nicky Jam x El Alfa, “Pikete” (Codiscos)

After making fans on social media believe that there was beef between them, Nicky Jam unveiled his new single with Dominican star El Alfa. "Pikete," slang for "swag," is overall a less than three-minute song about a person who has attitude, flow and swagger. Fusing the best of both worlds (Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic), the Slow Mike-produced track marries reggaeton and dembow with electronic music and hints of Middle Eastern-influenced beats. It's globally appealing and can easily become a summer anthem this year. -- J.R. 

Lenny Tavarez, KRACK (Warner Music Latina)

After leaving Puerto Rican duo Dylan and Lenny, Lenny Tavarez dropped his debut solo album, calling it his “first opportunity at life.” He’s also grateful for Warner Music Latina for giving him total creative liberty. “I decided to launch the album progressively, in four seasons, because I wanted fans to digest all the flavors, sounds and lyrics that it brings,” he tells Billboard. Home to 14 tracks, including “La Neta,” “A Cien” and focus track “Lo Tengo Todo,” the set includes collaborations with Nicky JamRauw AlejandroZion & Lennox and Natanael Cano, to name a few. Though Tavarez has released the singles sporadically and in groups, the album has been nearly five years in the making. “My intention is to do different music without changing the genre,” he says. “Krack was created with a lot of sacrifices and stories of perseverance.” The set includes old-school reggaeton, perreo, corridos and more. Standout tracks, according to Tavarez, are "A Cien," "Me Enamora," "Kush" and "Enfermo de Riqueza." -- J.R. 

ÄSTRA & Bunbury, “De La Piel Para Adentro” (Mercado Negro)

Los Angeles-based alt-rock duo ÄSTRA tapped Spanish rock icon Bunbury for their cathartic track “De La Piel Para Adentro (From the Skin to Inside).” Written and produced by ÄSTRA, the duo comprised of Guillermo Morales Vitola and Carlos Calvo, the explosive song is a reflection of the times with existential lyrics about a “world that seems to slip through our fingers,” said Bunbury. “Collaborating with ÄSTRA is a gift of great value. Musically, getting on the steamroller and being able to sing and write 'From the Skin to Inside' is to join a band in effervescence, roaring at the right moment to start the engine of a powerful machine,” he added. “De La Piel Para Adentro” was released alongside a music video that focuses on a consumer-driven society, directed by Sergio Abuja. -- G.F.

Orquesta Failde, Joyas Inéditas (Gemma/The Orchard)

It takes guts to use the word “Joyas” (Gems, or Jewels) in an album title. But Cuba’s Orquesta Failde’s “Gems” are truly precious. This Cuban big band, led by flute player Ethiel Failde, plays vintage danzón, inspired by Failde’s ancestor Miguel Failde, known as the creator of the classic Cuban dance. The five-track EP features previously unreleased tracks penned by Miguel and produced by Ethiel with a sound that is achingly elegant and lovely. Joyas is intricate and seductive, with unexpected rhythmic changes that force the listener and the dancer to take notes. The only sung track is saved for the final “Rompiendo la Rutina,” featuring 90-year-old Omara Portuonda on vocals. It’s worth the wait. -- L.C.