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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America Ferrera Celebrates 20th Anniversary Of Working On ‘Gotta Kick It Up’ With Sweet IG Post


America Ferrera Celebrates 20th Anniversary Of Working On ‘Gotta Kick It Up’ With Sweet IG Post

It has been 20 years since America Ferrera’s dream of becoming an actor back true. She took to Instagram to reflect on the moment that her dream started to come true and it is a sweet reminder that anyone can chase their dreams.

America Ferrera shared a sweet post reflecting on the 20th anniversary of working on “Gotta Kick It Up!”

“Gotta Kick It Up!” was one of the earliest examples of Latino representation so many of us remember. The movie follows a school dance team trying to be the very best they could possibly be. The team was down on their luck but a new teacher introduces them to a different kind of music to get them going again.

After being introduced to Latin beats, the dance team is renewed. It taps into a cultural moment for the Latinas on the team and the authenticity of the music makes their performances some of the best.

While the movie meant so much to Latino children seeing their culture represented for the first time, the work was a major moment for Ferrera. In the Instagram post, she gushes over the celebrities she saw on the lot she was working on. Of course, anyone would be excited to see Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt hanging out. Yet, what stands out the most is Ferrera’s own excitement to realize that she can make money doing what she loves most.

“I wish I could go back and tell this little baby America that the next 20 years of her life will be filled with unbelievable opportunity to express her talent and plenty of challenges that will allow her to grow into a person, actress, producer, director, activist that she is very proud and grateful to be. We did it baby girl. I’m proud of us,” Ferrera reflects.

Watch the trailer for “Gotta Kick It Up!” here.

READ: America Ferrera’s “Superstore” Is Going To Get A Spanish-Language Adaptation In A Win For Inclusion

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This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi


This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi

On a recent episode of ABC’s game show To Tell The Truth, three celebrity panelists were tasked to uncover the identity of a real mariachi singer.

Each contender embodied “non-traditional” attributes of mariachi culture either through physical appearance or language barriers, leaving the panelists stumped.

When it came time for the big reveal, with a humble smile 53-year-old Timoteo “El Charro Negro” stood up wowing everyone. Marveled by his talents, Timoteo was asked to perform unveiling his smooth baritone voice.

While not a household name in the U.S., his career spans over 25 years thriving on the catharsis of music.

Timoteo “El Charro Negro” performing “Chiquilla Linda” on Dante Night Show in 2017.

Originally from Dallas, Texas, Timoteo, born Timothy Pollard, moved to Long Beach, California with his family when he was eight years old. The move to California exposed Pollard to Latin culture, as the only Black family in a Mexican neighborhood.

As a child, he recalled watching Cantinflas because he reminded him of comedian Jerry Lewis, but musically he “got exposed to the legends by chance.”

“I was bombarded by all the 1960s, ’70s, and ’50s ranchera music,” Timoteo recalls to mitú.

The unequivocal passion mariachi artists like Javier Solis and Vicente Fernandez possessed heavily resonated with him.

“[The neighbors] always played nostalgic music, oldies but goodies, and that’s one thing I noticed about Mexicans,” Timoteo says. “They can be in their 20s but because they’ve grown up listening to the oldies it’s still very dear to them. That’s how they party.”

For as long as he can remember, Pollard “was born with the genetic disposition to love music,” knowing that his future would align with the arts.

After hearing Vicente Fernandez sing “Lástima Que Seas Ajena,” an awakening occurred in Pollard. While genres like hip-hop and rap were on the rise, Pollard’s passion for ranchera music grew. It was a moment when he realized that this genre best suited his big voice.

Enamored, Pollard began to pursue a career as a Spanish-language vocalist.

El Charro Negro
Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

At 28, Timoteo began learning Spanish by listening and singing along to those artists he adored in his youth.

“When I decided that I wanted to be a mariachi, I didn’t think it was fair to exploit the culture and not understand the language,” he says. “If I’m going to sing, I need to be able to communicate with my audience and engage with them. I need to understand what I’m saying because it was about honor and respect.”

Pollard began performing local gigs after picking up the language in a matter of months. He soon attracted the attention of “Big Boy” Radio that adorned him the name Timoteo “El Charro Negro.”

Embellishing his sound to highlight his Black heritage, Pollard included African instruments like congas and bongos in his orchestra. Faintly putting his own spin on a niche genre, Pollard avoided over-saturating the genre’s sound early in his career.

Embraced by his community as a beloved mariachi, “El Charro Negro” still encountered race-related obstacles as a Black man in the genre.

“There are those [in the industry] who are not in the least bit thrilled to this day. They won’t answer my phone calls, my emails, my text messages I’ve sent,” he says. “The public at large hasn’t a problem with it, but a lot of the time it’s those at the helm of decision making who want to keep [the genre] exclusively Mexican.”

“El Charro Negro” persisted, slowly attracting fans worldwide while promoting a message of harmony through his music.

In 2007, 12 years into his career, Pollard received a golden ticket opportunity.

El Charro Negro
Pollard (left) seen with legendary Mexican artist Vicente Fernandez (right) in 2007. Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

In a by-chance encounter with a stagehand working on Fernandez’s tour, Pollard was offered the chance to perform onstage. The singer was skeptical that the offer was legit. After all, what are the chances?

The next day Pollard went to his day job at the time and said, “a voice in my head, which I believe was God said, ‘wear your blue velvet traje tonight.'”

That evening Pollard went to a sold-out Stockton Area where he met his idol. As he walked on the stage, Pollard recalls Fernandez insisting that he use his personal mic and band to perform “De Que Manera Te Olvido.”

“[Fernandez] said he did not even want to join me,” he recollects about the show. “He just was kind and generous enough to let me sing that song on his stage with his audience.”

The crowd applauded thunderously, which for Pollard was a sign of good things to come.

El Charro Negro
Timoteo “El Charro Negro” with Don Francisco on Don Francisco Presenta in 2011. Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

In 2010, he released his debut album “Me Regalo Contigo.” In perfect Spanish, Pollard sings with great conviction replicating the soft tones of old-school boleros.

Unraveling the rollercoaster of relationships, heart-wrenchingly beautiful ballads like “Me Regalo Contigo” and “Celos” are his most streamed songs. One hidden gem that has caught the listener’s attention is “El Medio Morir.”

As soon as the track begins it is unlike the others. Timoteo delivers a ’90s R&B love ballad in Spanish, singing with gumption as his riffs and belts encapsulate his unique sound and story.

Having appeared on shows like Sabado Gigante, Don Francisco Presenta, and Caso Cerrado in 2011, Timoteo’s career prospered.

Timoteo hasn’t released an album since 2010 but he keeps his passion alive. The singer has continued to perform, even during the Covid pandemic. He has high hopes for future success and original releases, choosing to not slow down from his destined musical journey.

“If God is with me, who can be against me? It may not happen in a quick period of time, but God will make my enemies my footstool,” he said.

“I’ve continued to be successful and do some of the things I want to do; maybe not in a particular way or in particular events, but I live in a very happy and fulfilled existence.”

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