As part of the urban corrido movement, meet Junior H (real name Antonio Herrera Perez), an emerging act making the rounds with his new album Atrapado en un Sueño (Trapped in a Dream).
At only 18 years old, he is the youngest act to score a top 10 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart after Natanael Cano.
His road to success hails back to over six years ago in his hometown Guanajuato, Mexico, where at 12 years old, he and a friend would write music together. “We didn’t know how to play any instruments but we would write lyrics,” he tells Billboard.
At 14, Junior learned how to record music in a studio and dropped a few hip-hop songs until he was 15. After three years of learning and practicing the art of music, Junior had to start from scratch, when his family moved to Utah.
“I taught myself how to play the guitar by watching videos on YouTube. Until this day, I don’t know the music notes but I do know all the chords,” he admits.
Junior recalls the first time he went viral was with his song “No Eh Cambiado” (I haven’t changed) on YouTube. He was a 17-year-old senior in high school and working at a sandwich shop. “In two months, the video reached two million views,” he says, adding that thanks to his viral clip, he was discovered by his now-manager Jimmy Humilde. “I went to Los Angeles, where I currently live, and we talked. Thank God, I was able to release my first album, Atrapado En Un Sueño, under the Rancho Humilde record label.”
The seven-song production, released on March 26, brings to the forefront Junior’s promising proposal to the regional Mexican scene with his infectious tumbao corridos about ambition, being optimistic, the street life, toxic relationships, and more.
In this 27-minute dreamlike journey, the tuba, percussion, and guitar come out to play in each track — but it’s the mesmerizing requintos, as heard in the opening title track and “Dicen,” that really steals the spotlight.
On the Billboard charts, Atrapado En Un Sueño debuted at No. 5 on the Top Latin Albums chart dated April 11, becoming his first top-five debut and the first entry on any Billboard consumption chart. It’s just the second Regional Mexican album to debut in the top 10 this year. Atrapado En Un Sueño also arrives at No. 2 on the Regional Mexican Albums chart.
Junior’s passion for the Regional Urban scene was born as early as his musical career. “This never existed in the Regional Mexican scene. This was a brand new movement and it caught my attention,” he says.
Although he’s just eighteen, Junior says his biggest inspiration comes from his life experiences. “I’ve gone through tough challenges that young people my age shouldn’t go through but they have helped me mature,” he says. “I create music from the heart.”
Learn more about this week’s Latin Artist on the Rise below.
Name: Antonio Herrera Perez a.k.a. Junior H.
“Fun fact, I’m named after my dad, which is why I’m the junior. I decided to call myself Junior H because if my songs didn’t become a hit, people would not link me to them. But now, it just stuck.”
Major Accomplishment: “Being on the Billboard charts. I don’t know what I was doing when I got the news but I was already in quarantine when my team told me. I feel very happy to know that all my hard work is paying off. I would also say my two albums, Mi Vida en un Cigarro and Atrapado en un Sueño. I never thought my songs would become a hit.”
Recommended Song: “‘Dicen’ — I wrote that song for my friend in Mexico. His life is very similar to mine and we’ve gone through some tough times together. I wrote that song with all my heart.”
What’s Next: “My manager is always taking care of us. Before quarantine, he helped me set up a mini-studio in my house. I’ve been on lockdown with a producer of mine and we’ve been creating new music during this time. Even though we’re at home, we are not wasting time and working more than ever.”