Our radio stations do not do justice to Latino artists. While we have seen a Latin boom on the big charts sponsored by the Latin pop boom with stars like Luis Fonsi, Bad Bunny, and J. Balvin, a large repertoire of alternative and indie artists continue to be overlooked.
That’s why we at BELatina have decided to curate a playlist with the top five Latino indie artists you should be listening to this Hispanic Heritage Month.
But before we get into our list, let’s reflect a bit on the importance of these established crossover hits.
Phenomena like Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito,” which broke geographical and all kinds of barriers, demonstrated to the English-speaking media the reach of Latin culture and even boosted tourism in Puerto Rico, which caught everyone by surprise.
And who didn’t hear “Despacito” in 2017 or “Mi Gente” by Colombia’s J. Balvin?
According to NBC News, “With 4.5 billion (and growing) YouTube views, ‘Despacito’ became the ‘most viewed of all-time’ video while ‘Mi Gente’ followed with 1.4+ billion views landing at #3 for top music videos of 2017.”
While this took the mainstream media by surprise, for us Latinos, it was foreseeable.
This musical revolution opened up new avenues for the crossover collaborations that we have started to see much more frequently, such as The Weeknd’s remix of Maluma’s “Hawaii,” Drake’s appearance on Bad Bunny’s album, or the latter’s collaboration with Gorillaz.
Now, mainstream artists know that the key to a hit is a collaboration with a Latin star.
But what about the rest of the genres?
Latin America is a continent full of culture and a musical tradition that has influenced all the world’s genres. However, it seems that anything that isn’t Pop doesn’t make it to the big playlists.
In honor of this Hispanic Heritage Month, BELatina News has put together a playlist of alternative and independent Latin artists you should have on your radar.
Keisha Monique is another independent artist you should listen to without delay! She is a bilingual Afro-Latin singer/songwriter based in New York City, and her music can be defined as Etta James meets Celia Cruz. Currently, Keisha Monique has released two singles, “Own The Night” and “Sahara,” on all streaming platforms.
Los Angeles-based indie pop and psychedelic band The Marías is a group that we have enjoyed since its beginning. We recently covered them at their hypnotic presentation at the Ford Theatre in Los Angeles, where they performed their debut album entitled CINEMA. The entrancing and soothing vocals of Puerto Rican frontwoman María Zardoya undeniably leave an impression. The band continues to leave its mark and recently made its late-night performance for Jimmy Kimmel Live! on September 14. Kudos to them!
Mexican-American songstress Monogem debuted her album Gardenia this month. It’s a soothing, easy-to-listen-to album with a beautiful blend of Spanish and English sung tracks. We are all grateful for that push to have her tap into her roots and deliver beautiful songs such as “Paraíso,” which is featured on BELatina News’ playlist.
The 20-year-old mesmerizing vocalist Ambar Lucid is making waves on her own terms in the music industry. Her sensitivity and straight-up realness are what keeps her connected to her fans through social media. She recently was featured in an episode on Netflix’s Élite Season 4, dressed up all-mystical and fairy-like singing her single “Fantasmas” and “Shades of Blue.” This expanded her fan base and had viewers of the show asking who she was, proving her artistic determination is being recognized internationally. Her latest bilingual EP is entitled “Get Lost In The Music” and features five new tracks that tap into a spectrum of psychedelic, pop, and R&B. We love an ethereal queen!
The emerging Mexican-American electro-pop artist KORDELYA is one of our favorites. She playfully blends in pop and trap-like sounds on top of her demanding vocals and has captivated us from the start with tracks such as “Consentido” and “Pedazo De.” We’ve been following her career for a while now, and we are ecstatic now that she is back with her single “Dime Cómo” alongside collaborator õndas.
Puerto Rican duo Buscabulla, formed by Raquel Berrios and Luis Alfredo Del Valle, is one of the most futuristic sound creators in this timeline. Both their sonic and artistic execution is always on point. They are creatively versatile in a way that keeps you on your toes. They recently collaborated with reggaeton artist Jhay Cortez on the closing track “Eternamente” for his album Timelezz. Apart from that major success that will surely broaden the crossover of each artist’s fan base, the duo is currently touring in selected cities of the United States. This is all following their last year’s debut album Regresa release that took them to perform an NPR Tiny Desk (Home) Concert inside their car in front of a beach in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Such a wonderful pair!