Mariah was 16 years old when she knew her calling was music. Now, at 20, the Miami-based half Puerto Rican, half Cuban emerging artist is on the radar thanks to her 2019 hit “Perreito,” which at the time of publishing had over 38 million views.
Currently, she’s making the rounds with her Guyanaa-assisted single “Taxi,” which she debuted live on television at the 2020 Premio Lo Nuestro awards.
But her four-year rodeo has not been easy. It began when she left home at 16 to pursue her dream. “I knew I wanted to be an artist,” she tells Billboard. She would spend nights and days at the recording studio, initially creating songs in English. She was then discovered by veteran reggaeton producer Nely “El Arma Secreta,” who encouraged her to sing in Spanish.
“I was thankful that I had fallen into the right hands. I needed that push,” she says, expressing that because of him, she was able to get her name out there. “He began introducing me to the best producers and best songwriters at the time. Jhay Cortez was a writer when I was 16. I got features with Casper, Tainy, Nio Garcia. He introduced me to a lot of people in the urban industry.”
At 18 years old, Mariah inked an exclusive recording deal with Universal Music Latin Entertainment, a full management deal with GTS and an exclusive publishing deal with Universal Music Publishing Group, which she says was her first goal as a new artist. “I’m so happy to be part of one of the best labels,” she says. “I remember that one of the first songs I wrote and released under the label was ‘Mienteme’. It’s very motivating to be signed with them.”
Mariah, whose biggest inspirations derive from artists such as Chris Brown, Aaliyah, Drake, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, and Marc Anthony, is keeping the perreo scene alive one hit at a time. Her sound, overall, fuses R&B, trap and the essence of reggaeton.
“I’m way more focused now than when I was 16. I was lost as an artist and I was influenced by a lot of people,” she recalls. “I always knew the path I wanted to take, and now I have a clear vision of it. I have more discipline and I keep making great music.”
With one of her favorite quotes ever, Mariah, who is confirmed to speak at the 2020 LatinFest+ by Billboard and Telemundo, concludes her interview. “Sometimes life is about risking everything for a dream no one can see but you,” she proudly states.
Meet this week’s Latin Artist on the Rise below:
Name: Mariah Angelique Perez
Major Accomplishment: “Being in Premio Lo Nuestro and opening the show with one of my latest songs next to Guaynaa. That’s major.”
Recommended Song: “Honestly, ‘Lo Prohibido,’ my song with Casper Magico. I put it out a while ago but it’s one of my favorite songs because I wrote it completely and with lots of passion.”
What’s Next: Mariah is confirmed for the Billboard & Telemundo LatinFest+, formerly known as Billboard Latin Music Week, as part of the On the Rise — The New Generation of Urban Men and Women: A Candid Conversation panel alongside Cazzu, Natanael Cano, Manuel Turio, Sech, Lunay, Myke Towers and Jhay Cortez. Registration for 2020 LatinFest+, taking place from April 20 – 23 in Las Vegas, is already open at http://latinfestplus.com.