Carin Leon is the fresh face in regional Mexican music who is refreshing the sound. The Mexican singer-songwriter is a breakout star in the genre thanks to his viral cover of “Tú.” In his new album Inédito, he’s continuing to push the boundaries of regional Mexican to new places. In an interview with Latido Music, Leon talks about his hits, collaborating with Grupo Firme and C. Tangana, and the inspiration for his new LP.

Carin Leon had the most-streamed regional Mexican song on Spotify in 2020.

As a gift to his fans that were quarantined during the COVID-19 pandemic, Leon released the live album Encerrerados Pero Enfiestados. One of the songs he covered off-the-cuff during that recording session was “Tú” by Puerto Rican pop star Noelia. Leon’s sierreño take on the song shaped up to be his biggest hit yet. According to Spotify, it was the most-streamed regional Mexican music song on the platform in 2020.

“The idea [to cover the song] was organic,” Leon tells mitú. “Music is always recurrent. I had the song in my playlist and suddenly it came on. We got up after hearing the song and started playing music to it. We changed the rhythm and we tried that out. With the errors of improvisation, we wanted to leave that in to keep the organic essence. The essence that has a lot of our Mexican culture. It’s a feeling and intimacy that connected with the people.”

Carin Leon teamed up with Grupo Firme for the banda anthem “El Toxico.”

Another one of Leon’s big hits last year was his collaboration “El Toxico” with Grupo Firme. According to Leon, he came up through the industry with the Mexican group. Their big banda anthem has over 139 million views on YouTube.

“I’ve known Grupo Firme for many years,” Leon says. “They’re my friends. We started around the same time more or less. We’ve played in the same places. For me, it was like playing with old friends. That’s what I love about duets. They’re born out of a love for music more than doing business. Thanks to God that was a super hit and that we’re reaching those same heights in our careers together.”

This year, C. Tangana reached out to Carin Leon to feature on his song “Cambia!”

Leon always wants to push the boundaries of regional Mexican music and he did just that with C. Tangana. Leon featured on the Spanish rapper’s song “Cambia!” with Mexican-American singer Adriel Favela. C. Tangana’s Euro-pop met Leon and Favela’s distinct styles, resulting in one of the year’s most gorgeous fusions.

“That’s one of my most gratifying experiences as a musician,” Leon says. “It was a challenge for me to do something different. It’s a song that’s composed with sierreño guitars. It’s practically a corrido with a touch of flamenco and there’s an urban edge. To be part of a major album [El Madrileño] in the Hispanic community, for me it’s something very important that will always stay with me.”

There’s no collaborations on Carin Leon’s Inédito album.

Leon is rising thanks to his covers and collaborations, but for his new album Inédito, he goes it alone. Across the 17 tracks, Leon does a bit of everything from ranchera, banda, and mariachi music to an influence of American country music.

“This album was inspired by challenges and to quiet the naysayers,” Leon says. “I was very criticized for my covers and for my way of singing. I feel like it’s a peculiar style that’s not heard in regional Mexican music. I wanted to prove to the world that I don’t only do covers. That I can do other things. It’s called Inédito because regional Mexican is a very purist genre and I wanted to remove those boundaries to it.”

Carin Leon’s new single “Otra a Tu Salud” is a testament to his regional Mexican fusions.

The fusions in Inédito are very evident in the Leon’s new single “Otra a Tu Salud.” The power ballad has elements of mariachi music, but there’s also a flamenco feel to it.

“Rubén Salazar, a writer from Los Mochis, sent me that song,” Leon says. “When I first heard that song, I liked it a lot. It was like regional Mexican music with a bit of flamenco. It won me over when it’s something different with music that I listen to often. I wanted to give something new and different to the world.”

There’s a few more show left of Carin Leon’s spring tour.

Leon is currently on a spring tour of the U.S. There’s two more show this month in Montgomery, Alabama, and Belton, South Carolina. Next month he will travel to Wilson, North Carolina, Austin, Texas, and Laredo, Texas for the final shows. Tickets are available here.

“The art in our music is very underestimated,” Leon says. “I want to inspire people and the next generation of artists to dare to experiment with our music, to always be sincere with it, and to try new things. It’s our regional Mexican music and you can mix it with other things.”

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