Every month, Billboard Latin editors will feature a small group of new or relatively unknown artists whose music we love. Think “diamantes en bruto,” or “diamonds in the rough.” These are newcomers who have yet to impact the mainstream — but whose music excites us, and who we believe our readers should make a point to discover. Check them out below:
Country: Panama / U.S.
Why They Should Be On Your Radar: If you showed up early to day two of PMC’s LA3C Festival, at some point you probably made your way to the main stage and found Chicocurlyhead opening the fest with his vibey set. That’s the beauty of music festivals, discovering the small-print artists on the lineup or even seeing a newer act perform for the first time. I had heard about Chicocurlyhead but had never seen him live. The Panamanian-born, Atlanta-raised singer-songwriter won new fans over thanks to his groovy, feel-good Spanglish music effortlessly zigzagging through R&B, trap, and rock, showcasing his versatility.
There was some coolness to him that I found him just a delight to watch. He just had so much fun onstage, and never stopped smiling taking it all in, even if it was just a handful of us watching. He made us all feel welcome and interacted with the people watching him, which made him just so likable. Not all artists can pull that off. Chicocurlyhead is not only ultra-talented, but his onstage personality really just pulls you in. — GRISELDA FLORES
Song For Your Playlist: “Cheap Wine”
Country: Mexico / U.S.
Why They Should Be On Your Radar: Also a LA3C discovery, Monogem is truly a … gem. I regret only listening to her for the first time just now, but I feel I did so at the right time and moment. The Mexican-American artist most recently delivered her first-ever Spanish-language album Gardenia, and “nothing has been the same ever since” she wrote her first Spanish song, she said during her set.
Enjoying every second of her time onstage, Monogem was meant to sing and perform in Spanish, because she does so with pathos and passion. Writing from her own experience as a Mexican American who grew up in Los Angeles, Monogem sings about the complexities of being bicultural while embracing her duality, making it so easy for us to identify with her music. “Bienvenidos a mi vida, una vida muy tranquila yo sé que soy una pinche gringa,” she declares confidently in “Dame La Fuerza,” one of my new favorite songs. — G.F.
Song For Your Playlist: “Dame La Fuerza”
Why They Should Be On Your Radar: At the age of nine, Svetlana Maury began to take piano and guitar classes, which to this day she combines with her academic studies as a high school senior in Sarasota, Fla., where she lives. Now, at 18 years old, the Venezuelan artist is making herself known as a promising singer-songwriter, backed by three independently-released songs this year, including the refreshing pop ballad “Bailemos Juntitos”.
“So let’s dance together/ Let the rumors cry / So let’s dance together / Your rhythm with my rhythm / Mixing colors / Of blue inks,” she belts in Spanish in the song, which was written by her and produced by Alejandro Campos. Svetlana, who cites Kany García as one of her biggest inspirations, plans to release more music in 2023. In addition to “Bailemos Juntitos,” Svetlana’s blossoming catalog includes the singles “Droga” and “La Gota.” Collectively, she’s amassed nearly one million video videos on YouTube. — SIGAL RATNER-ARIAS
Song For Your Playlist: “Bailemos Juntitos”
Why They Should Be On Your Radar: This year, Victor Cibrian unleashed his debut single “En El Radio un Cochinero” (Rancho Humilde), a track that instantly put him on the radar — especially on TikTok, where the sound boasts over 220K video creations. With his deep, raspy-yet-crispy vocals, relatable lyricism, and melodious corrido tumbao sound, the up-and-coming Cibrian easily represents the new generation of Música Mexicana — and many of the genre’s established acts have begun to take notice. Just this year, Cibrian secured key collaborations with Fuerza Regida, Natanael Cano, Luis R. Conriquez, and most recently, Régulo Caro in “El Beso de la Muerte,” to name a few. His debut track also earned the viral song of the year award at the coveted 2022 Premios de la Radio. — JESSICA ROIZ
Song For Your Playlist: “En El Radio Un Cochinero”
Country: Puerto Rico
Why They Should Be On Your Radar: Hailing from Añasco, Puerto Rico, Young Miko (real name: María Victoria) is a force to be reckoned with. At 25 years old, the newcomer is earning her crown as the next big trap star. She was discovered by Latin hitmaker Caleb Calloway, who produced her debut single “105 Freestyle” in 2021. Since, she’s collaborated with popular urban acts such as Villano Antillano, Lunay, Lyanno, Casper Magico, and Akapellah. In her saucy viral trap track “Riri,” you’ll discover her witty rapping abilities, while in tracks such as “Condado,” you’ll come across her dulcet vocals. Working her way up in the industry, Miko joined Bad Bunny on stage at his Puerto Rico show this summer, and is also a featured act on Arcángel’s latest album Sr. Santos. — J.R.
Song For Your Playlist: “Riri”