Before ‘Despacito’: 25 Latino Artists Who Stormed the Grammys 

You’ve probably heard that “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee could win big at the Grammy Awards next month.  And while a win for the entirely-en-Espanol song would certainly be historic, Latinos have been walking the Grammy red carpet for years.  Here are 25 artists who stormed the Grammys before ‘Despacito.’

1. Shakira

Source: Shakira gushes over her Grammy win.  Digital Image.  Latin Grammy Awards.  Undated.

The Colombian pop sensation was an international superstar before finally hitting the US (and the rest of the English-speaking world) in 2002.  Since then, she’s won two grammies, for Best Latin Pop Album and Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album and she has racked up four additional nominations.  Estoy aquí?  Damn right!

2. Christina Aguilera

Source: Christina Aguilera walks the red carpet.  Digital Image.  Zimbio.  Undated.

Ecuadorean on her father’s side, the pop superstar and famed coach on The Voice has been to Grammys once or twice or 15 freakin’ times.  She has 5 wins and a total of 18 nominations.   And with pipes like that, it’s safe to say she’ll be back.

3. Lin-Manuel Miranda

Source: Lin-Manuel Miranda holds up his Grammy statuette at a performance of his smash hit musical.  Zimbio.  Digital Image.  Feruary 15, 2016.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, isn’t he that theatre guy?  What’s he doing in a Grammy article?  If this is what you’re asking right now, you’ve come to the right place, because theatre albums get attention from the Grammys, too.  So just chill and listen to the “Hamilton” soundtrack.  Or “In the Heights” from 2008.  Because they both won Lin-Manuel Grammys!

4. Pitbull

Source: Pitbull holds his Grammy aloft.  Digital Image.  Baltimore Sun.  November 22, 2013.

Admit it, you can’t believe it’s taken until the fourth slide to get to your favorite dance-party staple, Pitbull.  Well calm down, because we’re here!  And I’ve got good news: Pit is 1 for 1, winning Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album for 2015’s “Dale”.  

5. Gloria Estefan

Source: Gloria Estefan celebrates Grammy gold.  Digital Image.  CBS News.  February 28, 1996.

Turn down your Mom’s radio, press pause on that DVD of “Music of the Heart” and crying out loud, get out of that conga line.  Why?  Because we’re talking Gloria Estefan, that’s why.  The groundbreaking Cuban American singer has three Grammy Awards to her name, with 9 more nominations.  

6. Ricky Martin

Source: Ricky Martin calls on you to share his Grammy glory.  Digital Image.  Yahoo! News.  February 4, 2015 .

After graduating from the teen band Menudo in the ‘80s and early ‘90s, Ricky took on the pop charts as a solo artist in the late ‘90s.  He scored 2 wins and 7 total nominations, including one each for his biggest hits, “She Bangs” and “Livin’ La Vida Loca”.  His energetic performance at the 1999 Grammy Awards is legendary in its own right.

7. Marc Anthony

Source: Marc Anthony is really not surprised.  Digital Image.  New York Daily News.  November 22, 2013.

Born in New York City to parents of Puerto Rican descent, Marc Anthony becaome a household name when he married Jennifer Lopez.  But he was writing and performing Latin and Tropical music long before he met JLO, and he’s been at it ever since, racking up 2 Grammy wins and 8 nominations in the process.  And since we’re on the subject of his ex-wife…..

8. Jennifer Lopez

Source: Jennifer Lopez is excited for the festivities to begin.  Digital Image.  Billboard.com.  February 13, 2017.

…We might as well state upfront that as famous as she is, Jenny from the Block has won fewer Grammys than you thought.  How many did you think?  Well, it’s less than that.  It’s zero.  Really!  And two total nominations.  Keep at it Jennifer.  Something will shake loose one of these days.

9. Enrique Iglesias

Source: Enrique Iglesias has been thinking about that first win ever since.  Digital Image. Billboard.com.  June 29, 2015.

Kinda like our pal Ricky Martin, Enrique took his talents to the US pop charts in the late ‘90s after scoring major success in his native Spain.  His lone Grammy win is for his self-titled first album.  He’s had three nominations since, and multiple chart-topping singles.

10. Daddy Yankee

Source: Daddy Yankee was born ready.  Digital Image.  Billboard.com.  July 21, 2017.

Sure, he’s everywhere.  Sure ‘Despacito’ is a historic song and his earned him three nominations this year.  Sure, the video is most-watched YouTube clip EVER.  But did you know Daddy Yankee was nominated for a Grammy a full decade ago?  Yep, he was, for Best Latin Urban Album.

11. Carlos Santana

Source: Carlos gives all praise to his Guardian Angel, who doesn’t even get a percentage.  Digital Image.  Cincinnati Enquirer.  February 24, 2000.

Carlos Santana had earned very little Grammy love for the first two decades of his career, garnering his first nomination in 1988 and only a couple more for a decade after that.  But this was before 1999, the year Carlos came out of nowhere with “Supernatural” and his soft-rock classic, “Smooth”.  The album won 6 Grammies, and “Smooth” is playing in a grocery store somewhere right now, don’t you just know it?

12. Celia Cruz

Source: This is hold hat to Celia Cruz.  Digital Image.  Repeating Islands.  October 21, 2013.

Salsa legend Celia Cruz is that singer your abuela is always saying you should to listen to if you want to hear some “real music.”  And you know what, you should!  She’s really good, and it’s always a win when you can impress abuelita.  Grammy voters dug her too, granting her three wins out of the 14 times she was nominated.

13. Tito Puente

Source: Tito Puento is psyched.  Digital Image.  L20 Listas. February 13, 2013.

Tito Puente was often called “The King of Latin Music”.  And a king has to have his gold, right?  6 Grammy wins, a Lifetime Achievement Award and 14 total nominations for this native New Yorker and salsa legend, who passed away in 2000.

14. Selena

Source: Selena shows off that Grammy bling. Digital Image.  Pop Sugar.  July 25, 2017.

How many golden gramophones would Selena have taken home?  Tragically, we’ll never know.  In her short life, she won one and was nominated for two.  But with or without awards, her music has touched countless lives.  Since her death in 1995, she has sold nearly 60 million records.

15. Juanes

Source: Jaunes gives thanks.  Digital Image.  Billboard.com.  February 14, 2013.

Who needs to crossover?  Juanes is famous the world over, much like his fellow Colombian Shakira.  And like Shakira, Juanes is no stranger to the Grammys.  He has two Grammys to his name and 7 total nominations.

16. Fat Joe

Source: Fat Joe doesn’t need to be here.  Digital Image. Billboard.com.  Undated.

Born in the Bronx to Puerto Rican and Cuban parents, Fat Joe paved the way for Latin rappers like Pitbull and Daddy Yankee.  You think not?  Think again.  Still chasing his first win, Joe has 5 nominations.

17. B-Real

Source: B-real is here, really.  Digital Image.  Zimbio.  Undated.

The artist with the best name on this list, B-Real of Cypress Hill is a legend in the rap game for his lyrisc and his unique voice.  Who hasn’t kicked the party into high gear by finding “Insane in the Brain” on Spotify?  Let’s be real.  Yes, let’s.  B-real and his crew have been nominated for three Grammys.

18. Big Punisher

Source: Big Pun.  Digital Image. Complex. January 27. 2014.

Protest if you will, Big Pun, but you sir are a player.  And maybe the greatest Latin rapper ever.  Tragically taken way too soon, Big Pun was awarded one nomination for Best Rap Album in 1998.

19. Julio Iglesias

Source: Julio Iglesias.  Digital Image.  El Mundo. September 29, 2015.

The definitive Latin crooner, Julio Iglesias romanced the ladies with his golden pipes years before his son Enrique came on the scene and started hogging all the attention.  With one Grammy win and seven total nominations, he has done very well for himself, thank you very much.

20. Esperanza Spalding

Source: Esperanza Spalding is going to remember this one. Digital Image.  NPR.  February 14, 2011.

This jazz singer and bassist has three wins and five total nominations.  But despite all that hardware, she may still be best known for beating out a little known singer named Justin Bieber for best new artist in 2011.  What’s better, having genuine artistic merit or beating the Biebs?  Now that’s a tough choice.

21. Mariah Carey

Source: Mariah Carey heard there was a list going and just thought she’d pop by.  Digital Image.  Celebrity NetWorth. Undated.

Mariah Carey should be on every list.  The half-Venezuelan native New Yorker is certainly on this one, taking home 5 Grammys of the years and racking up nearly three dozen total nominations.  And if you’re still not impressed, she was pretty good in “Precious”.

22. Paulina Rubio

Source: Paulina Rubio came here to party.  Digital Image.  Celebmafia.  Undated.

Famous the world over, Paulina Rubio is one of the “bad girls” of Latin pop.  After splitting from a popular teen group in the early ‘90s, she has made it as a solo artist ever since.  “La Chica Dorado” has two nominations.

23. Demi Lovato

Source: Demi Lovato has her game face on.  Digital Image.  Time.com.  February 16, 2016.

Hailing from New Mexico, Demi Lovato is half-Mexican and considers her Latin heritage very influential in her life.  With all her success as a child actress and pop star, she has only garnered one Grammy nomination.  Just last year.

24. Cafe Tacuba

Source: Cafe Tacuba look for where that draft is coming from.  Digital Image.  LA Weekly.  March 10, 2017.

This critically acclaimed Mexican rock band achieved their greatest name recognition when they became known as the “Mexican Radiohead”.  In reality, they’re much more than that, and the Grammys have agreed, granting them one award and 4 nominations.  

25. Hector Lavoe

Source: Hector Lavoe, wrapping up this list in style.  Digital Image.  Kien y Ke.  June 29, 2017.

Known to his many fans as “El Cantante”, Hector Lavoe was the most important Salsa singer of his era and one of the biggest Latin stars ever.  Although he died young, his music endures, as does the street named after him in The Bronx.  He was nominated for a Grammy in 1987.

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Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato


Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

Luis Fonsi is kicking off 2021 with a new single. The Puerto Rican superstar premiered the music video for “Vacío” on Feb. 18 featuring rising Boricua singer Rauw Alejandro. The guys put a new spin on the classic “A Puro Dolor” by Son By Four.

Luis Fonsi throws it back to his románticas.

“I called Omar Alfanno, the writer of ‘A Puro Dolo,’ who is a dear friend,” Fonsi tells Latido Music. “I told him what my idea was [with ‘Vacío’] and he loved it. He gave me his blessing, so I wrote a new song around a few of those lines from ‘A Puro Dolor’ to bring back that nostalgia of those old romantic tunes that have been a part of my career as well. It’s a fresh production. It sounds like today, but it has that DNA of a true, old-school ballad.”

The world got to know Fonsi through his global smash hit “Despacito” with Daddy Yankee in 2017. The remix with Canadian pop star Justin Bieber took the song to new heights. That was a big moment in Fonsi’s music career that spans over 20 years.

There’s more to Fonsi than “Despacito.”

Fonsi released his first album, the fittingly-titled Comenzaré, in 1998. While he was on the come-up, he got the opportunity of a lifetime to feature on Christina Aguilera’s debut Latin album Mi Reflejo in 2000. The two collaborated on “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” Fonsi scored multiple Billboard Hot Latin Songs No. 1s in the years that followed and one of the biggest hits was “No Me Doy Por Vencido” in 2008. That was his career-defining romantic ballad.

“Despacito” remains the second most-viewed music video on YouTube with over 7.2 billion views. The hits did not stop there. Later in 2017, he teamed up with Demi Lovato for “Échame La Culpa,” which sits impressively with over 2 billion views.

He’s also appearing on The Voice next month.

Not only is Fonsi working on his new album, but also he’s giving advice to music hopefuls for the new season of The Voice that’s premiering on March 1. Kelly Clarkson tapped him as her Battle Advisor. In an exclusive interview, Fonsi talked with us about “Vacío,” The Voice, and a few of his greatest hits.

What was the experience like to work with Rauw Alejandro for “Vacío”?

Rauw is cool. He’s got that fresh sound. Great artist. Very talented. Amazing onstage. He’s got that great tone and delivery. I thought he had the perfect voice to fit with my voice in this song. We had talked about working together for awhile and I thought that this was the perfect song. He really is such a star. What he’s done in the last couple of years has been amazing. I love what he brought to the table on this song.

Now I want to go through some of your greatest hits. Do you remember working with Christina Aguilera for her Spanish album?

How could you not remember working with her? She’s amazing. That was awhile back. That was like 1999 or something like that. We were both starting out and she was putting out her first Spanish album. I got to sing a beautiful ballad called “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” I got to work with her in the studio and see her sing in front of the mic, which was awesome. She’s great. One of the best voices out there still to this day.

What’s one of your favorite memories of “No Me Doy Por Vencido”?

“No Me Doy Por Vencido” is one of the biggest songs in my career. I think it’s tough to narrow it down just to one memory. I think in general the message of the song is what sticks with me. The song started out as a love song, but it turned into an anthem of hope. We’ve used the song for different important events and campaigns. To me, that song has such a powerful message. It’s bigger than just a love song. It’s bringing hope to people. It’s about not giving up. To be able to kind of give [people] hope through a song is a lot more powerful than I would’ve ever imagined. It’s a very special song.

I feel the message is very relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic we’re living through.

Oh yeah! I wrote that song a long time ago with Claudia Brant, and during the first or second month of the lockdown when we were all stuck at home, we did a virtual writing session and we rewrote “No Me Doy Por Vencido.” Changing the lyrics, kind of adjusting them to this situation that we’re living now. I haven’t recorded it. I’ll do something with it eventually. It’s really cool. It still talks about love. It talks about reuniting. Like the light at the end of the tunnel. It has the hope and love backbone, but it has to do a lot with what we’re going through now.

What do you think of the impact “Despacito” made on the industry?

It’s a blessing to be a part of something so big. Again, it’s just another song. We write these songs and the moment you write them, you don’t really know what’s going to happen with them. Or sometimes you run into these surprises like “Despacito” where it becomes a global phenomenon. It goes No. 1 in places where Spanish songs had never been played. I’m proud. I’m blessed. I’m grateful to have worked with amazing people like Daddy Yankee. Like Justin Bieber for the remix and everyone else involved in the song. My co-writer Erika Ender. The producers Mauricio Rengifo and Andrés Torres. It was really a team effort and it’s a song that obviously changed my career forever.

What was the experience like to work with Demi Lovato on “Echáme La Culpa”?

She’s awesome! One of the coolest recording sessions I’ve ever been a part of. She really wanted to sing in Spanish and she was so excited. We did the song in Spanish and English, but it was like she was more excited about the Spanish version. And she nailed it! She nailed it from the beginning. There was really not much for me to say to her. I probably corrected her once or twice in the pronunciation, but she came prepared and she brought it. She’s an amazing, amazing, amazing vocalist.

You’re going to be a battle advisor on The Voice. What was the experience like to work with Kelly Clarkson?

She’s awesome. What you see is what you get. She’s honest. She’s funny. She’s talented. She’s humble and she’s been very supportive of my career. She invited me to her show and it speaks a lot that she wanted me to be a part of her team as a Battle Advisor for the new season. She supports Latin music and I’m grateful for that. She’s everything you hope she would be. She’s the real deal, a true star, and just one of the coolest people on this planet.

What can we expect from you in 2021?

A lot of new music. Obviously, everything starts today with “Vacío.” This is literally the beginning of what this new album will be. I’ve done nothing but write and record during the last 10 months, so I have a bunch of songs. Great collaborations coming up. I really think the album will be out probably [in the] third or fourth quarter this year. The songs are there and I’m really eager for everybody to hear them.

Read: We Finally Have A Spanish-Language Song As The Most Streamed Song Of All Time

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Lifestyles Of The Rich And Dangerous: Cartels Are Using TikTok To Lure Young People

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Lifestyles Of The Rich And Dangerous: Cartels Are Using TikTok To Lure Young People

If you’ve ever wondered what someone with a bulletproof vest and an AR-15 would look like flossing — the dance, not the method of dental hygiene — apparently the answer to that question can be found on TikTok.

Unfortunately, it’s not as a part of some absurdist sketch comedy or surreal video art installation. Instead, it’s part of a growing trend of drug cartels in Mexico using TikTok as a marketing tool. Nevermind the fact that Mexico broke grim records last year for the number of homicides and cartel violence, the cartels have found an audience on TikTok and that’s a serious cause for concern.

Mexican cartels are using TikTok to gain power and new recruits.

Just a couple of months ago, a TikTok video showing a legit high-speed chase between police and drug traffickers went viral. Although it looked like a scene from Netflix’s Narcos series, this was a very real chase in the drug cartel wars and it was viewed by more than a million people.

Typing #CartelTikTok in the social media search bar brings up thousands of videos, most of them from people promoting a “cartel culture” – videos with narcocorridos, and presumed members bragging about money, fancy cars and a luxury lifestyle.

Viewers no longer see bodies hanging from bridges, disembodied heads on display, or highly produced videos with messages to their enemies. At least not on TikTok. The platform is being used mainly to promote a lifestyle and to generate a picture of luxury and glamour, to show the ‘benefits’ of joining the criminal activities.

According to security officials, the promotion of these videos is to entice young men who might be interested in joining the cartel with images of endless cash, parties, military-grade weapons and exotic pets like tiger cubs.

Cartels have long used social media to shock and intimidate their enemies.

And using social media to promote themselves has long been an effective strategy. But with Mexico yet again shattering murder records, experts on organized crime say Cartel TikTok is just the latest propaganda campaign designed to mask the blood bath and use the promise of infinite wealth to attract expendable young recruits.

“It’s narco-marketing,” said Alejandra León Olvera, an anthropologist at Spain’s University of Murcia, in a statement to the New York Times. The cartels “use these kinds of platforms for publicity, but of course it’s hedonistic publicity.”

Mexico used to be ground zero for this kind of activity, where researchers created a new discipline out of studying these narco posts. Now, gangs in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, and the United States are also involved.

A search of the #CartelTikTok community and its related accounts shows people are responding. Public comments from users such as “Y’all hiring?” “Yall let gringos join?” “I need an application,” or “can I be a mule? My kids need Christmas presents,” are on some of the videos.

One of the accounts related to this cartel community publicly answered: “Of course, hay trabajo para todos,” “I’ll send the application ASAP.” “How much is the pound in your city?” “Follow me on Instagram to talk.” The post, showing two men with $100 bills and alcohol, had more than a hundred comments.

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