The 15 Annual Latin Grammys are airing tonight, so as part of your prep we’ve put together a few artists you should know before kicking off latin music’s biggest event. From singers like Ana Tijoux, rappers like Sensato, and bands Calle 13 and Reik, you’re going to love these musicians who are setting the latin music community on fire!
Ana Tijoux – “Somos Sur” ft Shadia Mansour
Blending trip-hop, urban, Latin American folk and European snap, Chilean-French singer rapper Ana Tijoux made a splash stateside after the lead track on her album 1977 was featured on an episode of Breaking Bad (no spoilers!). Signed to Nacional Records, her latest, Vengo, shows how lyrically and sonically versatile Ana Tijoux is. She’s all the psychedelic realness of M.I.A and in three different languages to boot.
Camila – “Perdón”
If you like deep soulful ballads but think Coldplay has gotten way to happy these days, check out Camila. Formed in 2005, this Mexican have won three Latin Grammys, Billboard Awards and have gone diamond and platinum, selling 2 million albums worldwide. The band released Elypse this year to critical praise. If you wore out the latest from The Fray and The Script, check out these guys.
Jesse y Joy – “Me Quiero Enamorar”
Like Camila, siblings Jessy and Joy (last name Huerta) formed in 2005 in native Mexico. Their last record, Con Quién se Queda El Perro?, garnered the duo multiple Latin Grammys, solidifying them as the next big thing. . Blending soulful two part harmonies, romantic lyrics worthy of a sappy romcom with moody atmosphere similar to The Civil Wars or Lady Antebellum.
Calle 13 – “Ojos Colo” Sol ft Silvio Rodríguez
Keeping it all in the family are Puerto Rican group Calle 13, comprised of stepbrothers René Perez (Residente) and José Cabra Martinez (Visitante) and half sister Illeana Cabrera Joglar (PG-13) Calle 13, starting in the rising reggaeton scene, the group went beyond the urban perrero sound, taking Latin America by storm. Recognized for their political views, incredible music videos and diverse sound, their latest release, MultiViral, showcases the collective’s diverse sound and inescapable artistry. If you miss Rage Against the Machine, these guys have you covered.
J Balvin – “Ay Vamos”
Born José Álvaro Osorio Balvin in Medellín Colombia, J. Balvin, El Negocio Socio, is poised to take the US by storm. Releasing albums independently, J Balvin has built a loyal fanbase in Latin America and he’s starting to cross over into the US market. He spent the summer on tour with mega stars Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull, launched a follow doc web series with a latin network and will be back on the road with Enrique and Pitbull starting January 2015. He’s pretty much with the guys you love.
Reik – “Peligro”
Formed in 2003, this Baja California trio picked their name (pronounced rake) so that their Mexican fans could pronounce it correctly. Sweepy ballads, slick production and great live show, it’s easy to see why these guys are such a hit with the ladies. If you’re into really good looking lead singers, Maroon 5’s like Adam Levine, check these guys out.
Leslie Grace – “Nadie Como Tú”
Nineteen year old New York native Leslie Grace burst onto the urban bachata scene with a cover the classic The Shirelles’ Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow. Fresh on the heels of that single, she released Pasión followed by 2013’s self-titled Leslie Grace. A blend of top 40 pop, urban bachata soul coupled with a big voice, Leslie can breathe life into any type of genre. If you’re an Ariana Grande fan, this is your girl.
Los Rakas – “We Dem Rakaz (Hola)”
Oakland bred Panamanian-American bilingual rappers Los Rakas have built a fanbase in the most unlikeliest places; a classroom. An enterprising Spanish teacher used Los Rakas’ music to help her class improve on pronunciation and music appreciation. Cousins El Negrito Dun Dun Raka Ricardo have been spreading Raka Love with hyper performances in SXSW, Central Park’s Summer Stage and CMJ Festival. They’ll be on the road this winter with Mexican EDM megagroup 3BallMTY. If you love your Bay Area rap like E-40 and Too $hort, listen to these guys.
3BallMTY – “De Las 12 A Las 12”
Pronounced Tribal Monterrey, the DJ collective, comprised of teen deejay Erick Rincon, Sergio Zavala and Alberto Presenda, met online, formed and performed for the first in 2010 in Germany for the Worldtronics Festival ; not bad for kids who couldn’t even get into the clubs their music was playing in. Combining Mexican gaucho, EDM and Eurohouse, the guys are credited with launching the “latino electronica” into the latin maintstream lexicon. Skrillex, Dillion Francis fans, this one’s for you.
Kat Dahlia – “Crazy”
Miami raised Cuban American singer, songwriter, rapper, fashionista and your new best friend Kat Dahlia has built a dedicated fanbase with her Instagram videos, honest lyrics and a very clever remake of 50 Cent’s Gangsta featuring another artist on this list, Sensato. Armed with wit, a sexy rasp and playful lyrics, Kat Dahlia is set to be the next big thing. Signed to Epic Records her debut album My Garden is set for release in 2015 poising her to be the next big thing. Perfect for fans of sweet tough girls like Pink and Jessie J.
Bomba Estereo – “Bosque”
Formed in 2005 in Bogota Colombia, Bomba Estereo have won multiple Grammys, toured the world and played some of the biggest festivals in the world, combining dub, Eurosounds, folk, hip hop and world beats and still feel like they’re a new band with how seamlessly the blend sounds. Ethereal vocalist Liliana Saumet leaps over the band’s music like an acrobat, pulling listeners into their world and making you never want to leave. If you need more trip hop in your life, stop looking.
Twin Shadow – “Patient”
Twin Shadow (born George Lewis Jr), is a Dominican American singer, songwriter, DJ, many hat wearing ex Floridian making Brooklyn New York his home. Deep bass grooves, synth basslines and sensuality reminiscent of Prince, Twin Shadow taps into the Joy Division and Depeche Mode fan in us all, with without seeming like a tribute act. If you love the theatrics of M83, Twin Shadow is for you.
Belanova – Solo Dos” (Live)
This Mexican synth pop group formed in 2000 in Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico and have gone on to become one of the most dynamic groups in music. Releasing five studio albums (two of which are concept records) and the live album Canciones Para La Luna that reimagines their discography with a live orchestra and guest musicians, Belanova continue to reinvent their sound and change electro dance music. If you’re into Katy Perry’s post electro rock phase, definitely check out this band.
Sensato – “Confesion” ft Pitbull
Bronx New York born bilingual freestyle rapper, Sensato (born William Reyna) released a wild batch of mixtapes and dozens of freestyles before he crossed paths with Mr. 305, Pitbull in 2012 for the Spanglish hit “Latinos In Paris,” where the duo rapped over Jay Z and Kanye’s N**** in Paris.” Signed to Pitbull’s lable and working on his studio album and making appearances, Sensato may just become your new favorite party rapper alongside Pitbull or Wiz Khalifa
Ximena Sariñana – “Sin Ti No Puede Estar Tan Mal”
Mexican singer songwriter and actress, Ximena received critical acclaim and a Grammy nomination for her bilingual album Mediocre. She had some success with her crossover “Different” from her self-titled album. Poetic lyrics, unique vocals and melodies make her a stand out in the indie music scene. If complex musicality with a breathy air is your style, definitely check out Ximena’s music.
[Photo: Getty Images]