It was refreshing to see names like Gaby Moreno, iLe, Sanoleja and Joss Favela among the 2017 Grammy nominees in the Latin categories. And while familiar and more commercial artists like Jesse & Joy, Laura Pausini, Vicente Fernández, La Santa Cecilia and Fonseca are also among this year’s nominees, the inclusion of indie and 2016 breakthrough artists gives the categories a good sense of balance.
Rising musicians like iLe and Favela (both were also nominated for best new artist at the Latin Grammys) scored a Grammy nomination with their debut album, while, to some, Moreno and Los Rakas’ recognition can seem long overdue.
Below, check out some of this year’s Grammy breakouts in the Latin categories.
iLe: From boleros to Latin funk and jazzy blues, iLe’s tracks on her debut album iLevitable seem timeless and effortless. The well-crafted album, co-produced by Calle 13‘s drummer Ismael Cancel and iLe, allows the Puerto Rican singer/songwriter to show off her deep and powerful vocals. For iLe, the old-school romance album is about “music that has a lot to say. And in the times we are living in today, I think people are looking for that kind of direct communication.”
Gaby Moreno: Inspired by artists such as David Bowie, Memphis Minnie and B.B. King, Moreno’s Latin American folk and jazzy music is anything but pop. Even so, the Guatemalan singer/songwriter scored a nomination under the best Latin pop category for her fifth album Ilúsion — a beautiful bilingual collection of soulful lyrics mixed with blues, country and rock ‘n roll beats. Moreno shares the category with Jesse & Joy, Laura Pausini, Sanalejo and Diego Torres. This is Moreno’s first Grammy nomination. She has been previously nominated twice for a Latin Grammy and won best new artist in 2013.
Joss Favela: The 25-year-old singer from Sinaloa scored a nomination for best regional Mexican album thanks to his beautifully crafted debut album, Hecho A Mano. He shares the category with his idol Vicente Fernández. “It’s a dream come true,” Favela told Billboard. His album, which debuted (and peaked) at No. 13 on Top Latin Albums, includes heartbreak and love songs all penned, produced and arranged by Favela, who became the youngest youngest-ever songwriter winner at the ASCAP Latin Music Awards back in May. The Grammy nomination follows his Latin Grammy nods for best new artist and best norteño album.
Los Rakas: “Hard work, faith and perseverance,” Oakland-based duo tweeted following their Grammy nomination for best Latin rock, urban or alternative album. Rapping cousins Raka Rich and Raka Dun of Panamanian descent, have been dropping beats and fast rhymes since 2006, both in English and Spanish. Their Grammy-nominated LP Los Rakas showcases Latin pride with songs like “Orgulloso de ser latino,” while also including politically charged tracks including “Hablemos del amor.”
The 59th Grammy Awards will take place Feb. 12, 2017. Check out the complete list of nominees here.