In 2005, Shakira and Alejandro Sanz made history by becoming the first people to perform at the Video Music Awards fully in Spanish. Now, Shakira and other Latin artists, such as Peso Pluma and Karol G are rising in the charts and leaving their mark on the music industry.
Latin music is a large and very general umbrella term that encompasses music from Northern Mexico all the way down to the tip of Argentina. According to Britannica, Latin music is defined as musical traditions of Mexico, Central America and portions of South America and the Caribbean colonized by Spain and Portugal. This music has European influences and Indigenous roots but also has aspects of African music and can range from reggaeton to cumbias.
The rise of Latin music has been in the works since the late 1990s with artists such as Shakira, Ricky Martin and Daddy Yanke exploding on the charts. In 2017, Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yanke released “Despacito,” an undeniable success, as the single became one of the most streamed songs in history and was number one on the Billboard charts for 16 consecutive weeks. Following the release of “Despacito,” there were several unexpected artist collaborations, such as Demi Lovato and Luis Fonsi on “Echame la Culpa” and Fifth Harmony and Juan Gabriel on “Vienes o Voy”.
In 2022, the National Public Radio reported that Bad Bunny was the biggest pop star of the year and that same year Bad Bunny earned $6.28 billion in sales for “El Último Tour del Mundo,” according to Pollstar. Bad Bunny’s music was rising in billboard charts and his fame was moving from the Latinx community to the general public.
The 2023 Coachella Music Festival hosted performances from various Latin artists, including Bad Bunny, Peso Pluma, Becky G, Grupo Frontera and Kali Uchis. These performances solidified and increased Latin music’s popularity.
Early 2023 was the renaissance of Latin music, with songs such as Shakira and Bizzrap’s music session and “Ella Balia Sola” by Eslabon Aramdo and Peso Pluma being in the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100. The success of Latin music has been influenced by Tiktok and lead singer for Eslabon Armado, Pedro Tovar, said to Billboard that he knew the song was going to be a hit after the song went viral on Tiktok. Tiktok has been instrumental in the success of Latin music as the songs have gone viral on the social media platform and have been used for dancing trends.
As the Latinx population in the United States rises and states, the rise of Latin music is understandable and justified. As Latin people move from their home countries to other places, music becomes a way to bring home with them and to others.
Latin music is important for rising immigrant communities who crave their home but can not go back. It is also important to show the beauty and mix of cultures that influence Latin music and its culture.
Latin music allows the Latin diaspora to have a voice and shine a light on different issues. From Norteña Mexican music highlighting the struggles of immigrants and border communities to Kali Uchis’s English and Spanish music showcasing the way Latin American people express themselves and weave together both languages.
More recently, Peso Pluma became the first Mexican artist to perform at the VMAs and Karol G finished her sold-out stadium tour. Latin artists are making history and spreading the stories of our people. The Latinx community gets the opportunity to see people who look and talk like us leading in an industry that for many years shut us out.
During the 1940s and 1950s, Mexican cinema was known throughout the world and gave the Mexican and other Latin communities great success and the opportunity to leave their mark on history. The rise of Latin music is a repetition of this momentum and is well-deserved and beyond welcome.
Featured image by Getty Images
Karyme Flores can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org