Discovering the “new artist” nominees for the Latin Grammys is always one of the highlights of the awards. It’s a chance to check out ten new artists who we may have never heard of, and decide who has the chops to make it further. And of course, there’s the fun of watching the winner, who can usually be counted on to show more unscripted emotion than any other artist who reaches the podium.
These are the nominees in the new artist category at the 2015 Latin Grammy Awards, taking place this Thursday (Nov. 19). Who is your favorite?
1. Julieta Rada
Julieta Rada’s brand of sensual pop fluctuates between funky and earthy. Her second album Corazon Diamante finds the sweet spot with a kind of jazzy-roots sound. The 25-year-old Argentine-Uruguayan singer started out singing as a teen with her father, Ruben Rada, a roots-pop percussionist and singer well known in Uruguay.
2. Tulipa Ruiz
Tulipa Ruiz’s 2015 album Dancê is a family affair, featuring collaborations with her brother Gustavo and her father, guitarist Luiz Chagas. That said, Ruiz, who follows in a long line of powerful female Brazilian singers, is the star of her own show.
Kaay is a Mexican pop trio formed by Maria Bernal (guitar/vocals), Cecy Leos (guitar/vocals) and Renée Suarez (keyboards/vocals). Each member has worked, separately, as composers for well-known Latin artists including Thalia, Yuridia, and Kalimba. Kaay’s music fuses genres from rock to jazz, reggae and pop.
4. Iván “Melón” Lewis & The Cuban Swing Express
Cuban born and based in Spain, Ivan “Melon” Lewis is known for his prowess at the piano. He formed The Cuban Swing Express after years of touring the world with different artists, including Spanish singer Buika. The band features 10 of the most talented Cuban musicians living in Europe.
5. Manu Manzo
Venezuelan-born and Miami-raised singer/songwriter Manu Mazo started singing, dancing and acting at a young age. Her debut EP features songs, in Spanish, that bring a combination of all the genres that have influenced her to new life: from Latin to jazz to hip-hop, neo soul and R&B.
Matisse is a young group rapidly earning a reputation on the Mexican pop scene for romantic style and vocal harmonies. Pablo Preciado, Román Torres and Melissa Robles make up the trio.
7. Monsieur Perine
From Colombia, Monsieur Perine — also nominated for album of the year –, has been described as “an experimental laboratory of popular music with old spirit.” Catalina Garcia, the vocalist, sings in Spanish, French, Portuguese, and English; languages that are combined to flavor their music in a cultural, artistic, and rhythmic fusion of traditional Latin American music.
8. Raquel Sofía
Puerto Rican soul sister Raquel Sofia has quickly gone from backup singer (for Juanes and Shakira) to rising star. Her debut, Te Quiero Los Domingos [I Love You on Sundays] was one of 2015’s most attention-grabbing pop releases in the U.S. Latin market.
9. Vázquez Sounds
Mexican teen Ángela Vázquez and her two brothers make up Vázquez Sounds, a group that began as a YouTube phenom before coming out with their debut album in 2014. The siblings, who have been previously nominated for four Kids Choice Mexico Awards, including favorite national group, have put out a Christmas album just in time for the holiday season — and the Latin Grammy Awards show.
10. Vitrola Sintética
Sao Paulo’s Vitrola Sintética are perhaps the underdogs in the pack of Latin Grammy new artist nominees. The indie rock band has recorded three albums, most recently Synthetic, all as sort of a side project they fund themselves. “It changes everything and changes nothing,” singer and songwriter Felipe Atunes told the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo, “Because we’ll keep doing the same things.”