A 2014 Guide To Latin Music Trends
Whether it’s chart-topping hits or underground festival sounds, Latin American music spans across a wide array of genres, trends and fanbases. Over the last few years, we have seen Latin music crossovers from commercial American artists like Drake and Rihanna. Latin music has a rich history; some sounds have held strong for decades now, some are constantly evolving while other are new and different. It’s almost impossible to understand all the music trends sweeping across Latin America. So we broke down the top five. Get educated, have fun, and dance to the sounds of the times.
Bachata music originated in the Dominican Republic as a way to express romantic feelings of heartbreak, sadness and love. Over the past couple of decades, Bachata has transitioned to a more mood-neutral sound along with the Bachata dance. Typically, Bachata is comprised of guitars, electric bass, bongos and guitars. Bachata is one of the most broad and popular forms of music in Latin America, so much so that it’s crossing over to other realms of music outside of Latin America. Popular Bachata artists like Don Omar now collaborate with electro-pop artists like Pitbull to create poppy-Bachata hits.
Aventura (led by now solo artist, Romeo Santos) were pioneers of revolutionizing Bachata music. Now, artists like Drake have features in Latin Bachata hits, blending the old school sound with modern R&B and hip-hop.
Leslie Grace, nominated for two Billboard Latin Music Awards this year, combines the rhythms of Bachata with older American hits like “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.”
Prince Royce has taken the same approach with his reworking of “Stand By Me,” adding a Spanglish twist. Prince Royce basically dominates the bachata scene right now. Originally from the Bronx, Prince Royce was introduced to music at an early age, teaming up with his first manager when he was 19. All three of his albums have hit No. 1 in the U.S. Latin and U.S. Tropical charts, with over six No. 1 singles, including his latest "Darte un Beso," which hit No. 1 in the U.S. Latin, Tropical, Latin Pop and Mexican charts.
Legends Making Comebacks
Latin ’90s pop stars will always have a special place in our hearts. They have hits that will never die and a presence that will last forever. In the past couple of years, we have seen some of Latin music’s biggest names return with a resurgence of sound. These heartthrobs are back and making chart-topping pop hits.
Ricky Martin exploded onto the Latin pop scene with hits like “Livin La Vida Loca” and “Shake Your Bon-Bon.” Now, he’s had nine studio albums and over 50 singles. Martin never stopped making music, but he’s collaborating with new artists like Wisin and Jennifer Lopez.
Enrique Iglesias has made 10 albums in the past twenty years. He’s a Latin American icon with close to 50 singles and music videos. Now, he’s coming back and making hits with artists like Pitbull and Marco Antonio Solis. His pop sound just gets better with age. Oh, he’s also nominated for over five Latin Billboard Music awards this year. Good luck Enrique!
Marc Anthony is a two-time Grammy and four-time Latin Grammy winning artist. Anthony has been making music since the ‘80s, with 13 studio albums to date. He’s had close to 50 singles, selling over 11 million albums worldwide. Now, he’s currently a top finalist for the 2014 Billboard Latin Music awards, with Romeo Santos and Prince Royce and is nominated for “Tour Of The Year,” along with legend Alejandro Fernandez.
Banda is one of the oldest and most traditional forms of Mexican music. Banda bands are made up of bass instruments, specific harmonies, tenor, singing and more. Although it seems like Banda groups are most often comprised of men, there are popular girl groups like Mariachi Divas, as well. The sound is deeply engrained in Mexican culture and heritage, but is also able to transition into more modern, Mexican pop tracks. Banda songs have a depth that is completely their own.
Banda Sinaloense MS De Sergio Lizarrága are a Banda band currently nominated for a Billboard Latin Music Award for Hot Latin Songs Artist of the Year, Duo or Group. This regional Mexican group has released a series of albums, including Escuela de Rancho and Corridos Atrevidos, with singles like “Mi Razon De Ser” and “Armor Express."
La Arrolladora Banda El Limón De Rene Camacho has been performing since the 1960’s and are also nominated for a Billboard Latin Music Award this year. After blowing up in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, the band has become a staple of Banda music, with close to 20 members.
Voz de Mando, from Los Angeles, California, broke out with their single “Comandos del M.P (500 Balazos)” back in 2010. The band is comprised of an accordion, bajosexto, tuba, drums and vocals. After releasing an album for fun, the band caught attention of Banda lovers and shortly shot to success.
Latin Dance Music
Latin America is known for its dancing and rhythm. With artists like Shakira, J.Lo and dances like the salsa, rumba and jive, dance music is a part of culture. Now, whether it's based on electronic production or heavy vocals, dance music has broadened into a variety of sounds with many different artists.
Sango made a stamp on the Latin music scene, introducing trap to baile funk. Although Sango grew up in Michigan, Latin music runs in his blood. His grandfather was in an Afro-Cubano band and passed the taste for Latin music onto Sango. Sango has been able to combine his taste with more contemporary sounds and artists, like Ryan Hemsworth, Kaytranada and CFCF.
Shakira has been making pop and dance hits since the ‘90s. With “Whenever, Wherever,” “Hips Don’t Lie” and “Waka Waka,” she’s become a staple of Latin dance music. She’s currently nominated for a Billboard Latin Music “Social Artist of the Year” Award!
Jennifer Lopez, aka J.Lo is an artist who has made her mark on both American and Latin music scenes. She’s had 40 singles, and her latest “I Luh Ya Papi” featuring French Montana is a banger. J.Lo has often collaborated with rappers, but still been able to maintain Latin roots with songs like “Waiting for Tonight” and “Live It Up” featuring Pitbull.
New Mexican Electronic Music
3Ball MTY is a Latin DJ group comprised of Erick Rincon, Segio Zavala and Alberto Presenda. Their name comes from the word “tribal” (pronounced like tree-ball), which refers to the Guaracha tribal music native to Colombia. The trio toured with the Mad Decent crew last summer. They dropped their single "Quiero Bailar (All Through The Night)" ft. Becky G at the end of last year. There is definitely more to come from these guys, keep an eye out! If you haven't already, check out the video we made with them in Miami during the 2013 Latin Billboard Awards above.
Los Macuanos is comprised of three young musicians that belong to a generation of producers in an age of rapid change- echoing party music in an introspective way. Their influences come from minimal techno and dubstep, but their sound is more melodic and smooth.
DJ Smurphy is a Mexico City native who is creating a new form of dance music. Her style is weird and ambient, but somehow still something that makes you want to dance. She is a vocalist and producer, combing her bizarre vocal sounds with heavy rhythm to create music that is a magical must hear. Check out her Soundcloud.
April 24, 2014 via Pepsi