Entertainment

The Billboard Latin Music Awards Nominations Are Out And Justin Bieber Is Among The Most Nominated Artists

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The nominations for the 2018 Billboard Latin Music Awards are out and a lot of your favorites made the cut. J Balvin, Shakira, Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, Maluma and Ozuna lead the pact with the most nominations. There are a couple non-Latino artists on the list but they were a vital reason so many songs went mainstream. In the category for Crossover Artist of the Year, Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran, Little Mix, and Justin Bieber, were all nominated. Bieber leads that pack with eight nominations. All of his awards come from his work on the smash hit “Despacito.”

Let’s take a look at some of the nominees.

“Despacito” is up for six nominations.

The remix version is nominated for Hot Latin Song of the Year; Hot Latin Song of the Year, Vocal Event; Airplay Song of the Year; Digital Song of the Year; Streaming Song of the Year; and Latin Pop Song of the Year.

Billboard reports that every writer of “Despacito” is also nominated including Daddy Yankee, Erika Ender, Luis Fonsi, Justin Bieber, Marty James Garton and Poo Bear.

J Balvin’s “Mi Gente” featuring Beyoncé earned five nominations.

The track is nominated for Hot Latin Song of the Year; Hot Latin Song of the Year, Vocal Event; Digital Song of the Year; Streaming Song of the Year; and Latin Rhythm Song of the Year.

Shakira is nominated for 12 Billboard Latin Music awards tying her with the J Balvin for the most awards this year.

In other amazing news, Shakira — who was suffering with strained cords — has fully recovered and is going on tour in support of her nominated album El Dorado.

Luis Fonsi is nominated for Artist of the Year, of course. 

You can’t have the most streamed song of all time and not be nominated for Artist of the Year along with nine other awards.

El Buki —Marco Antonio Solis — is nominated for Tour of the Year.

After all these years, El Buki is still bringing it. Other nominees include Marc Anthony, Ricardo Arjona, Enrique Iglesias & Pitbull.

Jennifer Lopez is nominated for Social Artist of the Year and Hot Latin Songs Artist of the Year, Female.

Issa lion … #calibash #amoramoramor #leosbelike

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Others in her category include Becky G, Natti Natasha, and Shakira, J Balvin, and Maluma.

Justin Bieber has eight nominations.

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Justin already has a Latin Grammy in his collection so this would just add to his Latin awards.

The 2018 Billboard Latin Music Awards will air April 26 on Telemundo.


READ: Spotify Dubbed Justin Bieber A ‘Latin King’ And People Called Them Out On It

What do you think of the Justin’s nominations? Let us know by sharing this story and commenting below!

Here Is The Psychedelic Cumbia Band Changing The World With Their Sound

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Here Is The Psychedelic Cumbia Band Changing The World With Their Sound

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The Coachella Valley is known to most as the home of one of the largest music gatherings, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. But if you look deeper, the desert area is home to miles of agriculture, a developing suburb, and a growing music scene.

Ocho Ojos, a local band from the Eastern Coachella Valley, is a product of that underground culture that many outside of the area might not be aware of. The group, Danny Torres (Synthesizer), Cesar Flores (Guitar/Vocals), James Gastelum (Bass) and Rafael Rodriguez (Drums), wears their hometown on their sleeve and are proud of it.

The group’s name, Ocho Ojos, is Spanish for eight eyes, a reference to the thick black glasses that both Flores and Torres wear.

Credit: chrisvphotography / Instagram

Dressed in matching white button-ups and white patent leather shoes, similar to the kind chambelanes wear for a quinceanera, the group likes to keep it fresh. Flores says he found the shoes at a local Goodwill one day and realized this was going to be their look. It was also helpful during the hot Coachella nights to be wearing white.

“If you look good, you feel good. And if you feel good, you play good,” Torres said. “It’s a part of who we are as a group and a reflection of our style.”

The group, which started as a duo of only Flores and Torres in 2016, started off by playing backyard gigs in their hometown. They slowly moved up to bars and local clubs and after a year, people began recognizing them.

“We just wanted to create songs that people could dance to and escape to,” Torres said. “We moved up after a year and soon we realized that people got attached to the group.”

After three years, the group would expand to a four-piece, with the addition of Rodriguez and Gastelum. This has helped them keep up with the numerous requests to play shows throughout the Coachella area.

The group likes to call themselves a “psychedelic cumbia band.” It’s a tribute to the fusion of sounds they’ve been inspired by.

Their style is what makes Ocho Ojos so unique and popular in the Coachella Valley. The group says they were inspired by the music they and their parents listened to growing up. It was a mixture of cumbia, classic rock and a lot of heavy metal.

“The music I grew up listening to had a huge influence on me and really inspired much of the music we are creating today,” Torres said. “People here love our sound and I think it’s a reflection of what we listened to growing up.”

That sound is thriving in Coachella’s alternative music scene, where indie rock, desert rock, and punk are more popular than ever. The mixture of cumbia is a tribute to their Latin upbringing and plays a special part in their success with locals.

“Our environment inspires our music. It’s consistent right in the middle of the area and the desert,” Rodriguez. “We even have a song with a sound of a snake in it, I think Coachella inspired us all.”

While the group had success, it wasn’t until a last-minute addition to the 2017 Coachella lineup that they had their big break.

Credit: chrisvphotography / Instagram

When Ocho Ojos first performed at the Coachella Festival in 2017, they performed on a Sunday to a small crowd of about 100-150. The group was also a last-minute addition, so their name wasn’t on the official concert poster and found out they’d be on the bill on Monday of that week.

Fast-forward two years later, the group was officially part of the lineup and performed along with the likes of Bad Bunny and Tame Impala. When comparing those two different experiences, Torres says it felt like the second time around the group in a way earned the spot.

“It was a completely different experience and it was a completely different process,” Torres said. “We made the lineup and we weren’t just that band from Coachella, we made it because of who we are. We felt like rock stars that night.”

From playing in bars and backyard gigs, the group felt the event was a culmination of all that hard work put forward. Rodriguez says after attending the festival as fans for years being on that stage was special.

“It was surreal after attending the festival for years to find yourself up there it felt like an out of body feeling,” Rodriguez said.

The sky is the limit for Ocho Ojos as they now plan on expanding their reach beyond Coachella.

Credit: chrisvphotography / Instagram

The group sees growth in themselves and their unique sound that has played a big role in where they are today. For them, performing at Coachella wasn’t anything close to the pinnacle of what they hope is a long music career but another stepping stone.

“All the work that goes on behind the scenes and all the little things that you consider the tedious work is important,” Torres says. “If you go into it with the idea that you’ll be famous it won’t work.”

They hope to continue expanding their fan reach and keep touring around the country. Their love of experimental music and more importantly, their love for the Coachella Valley is what drives them to keep going.

“It’s that desert love and that appreciation for what music has brought into our lives,” Gastelum says. “At night when the temperatures drop, people are dancing and they are enjoying the night, we love it and it keeps us going.”

READ: As Coachella Weekend Two Starts, Some Want Concertgoers To Respect Those Cleaning Up After Their Day Of Partying

Mexican-American Conductor Jessica Bejarano Is Showing The Power Of Representation In Classical Music

Entertainment

Mexican-American Conductor Jessica Bejarano Is Showing The Power Of Representation In Classical Music

When you think of a conductor for a symphony orchestra, the image of a male suited up with tails and wielding a baton is usually what comes to mind. Mexican-American conductor Jessica Bejarano, who sports multiple tattoos on her arms, is working to change that image to be more inclusive for the multiple communities she is a part of.

Growing up in Bell Gardens in southeast Los Angeles County, Bejarano lived with her single mother and two other siblings. She grew up hearing the sounds of loud gang members and gunshots before she ever heard the notes of classical music.

Jessica Bejarano is taking up space as a Latina woman in the orchestral conductor community.

The 38-year-old told PBS she credits classical music with saving her life.

“Unfortunately kids get arrested, kids are murdered, kids are imprisoned, kids get pregnant. I defied all those odds, I didn’t become any of those statistics because music was always there to keep me on a straight path,” she told PBS’ Chasing the Dream.

Bejarano started playing the trumpet in elementary school through college. However, it wasn’t until she was in an orchestral class at Pasadena City College that she became interested in classical music.

She can even pinpoint the specific piece of music that made her fall in love with classical music.

She told KCRW one rehearsal in college sparked an intense love for classical music when she heard the orchestra play Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.

“What is this music, and why is this the first time I’m ever listening to it? It was like an instant spark in my being, in my energy, in my body. I will never forget that evening,” she told KCRW’s Press Play. “I knew at that point, I needed to know more about classical music, and I needed to immerse myself as much as possible.”

She knew that he needed to chase the education that would help her open doors.

From that moment, Bejarano went full force into attaining the education she needed to become a conductor. She went to the University of Wyoming to attain her Bachelor of Music in Music Education and she pursued a Master of Arts in Conducting from the University of California, Davis.

However, her background was questioned by music instructors in her program. It was as if they questioned why someone who looked like her wanted to or thought they could be a conductor.

In an interview with XQsi magazine in 2010, Bejarano shared the shocking statement an instructor made to her.

After sharing her dream to be a conductor, she said the instructor told her, “Are you serious, you really want to become an orchestral conductor? Why don’t you try going down to Mexico, you might have better luck down there,” Bejarano told the magazine. She continued, “It was definitely a hard pill to swallow but the more people told me I couldn’t do it, the more I wanted it. I used that negativity as fuel to push me to where I want to go.”

She did use that negativity to push through and apply to programs for her Ph.D. in conducting and job opportunities to become an assistant conductor.

That was when an opportunity popped up in the city she had always wanted to live in—San Francisco.

Bejarano was offered the job of an assistant conductor for $2,000 a year. After discussing the matter with mentors and friends, she decided to take the job despite the dismal pay and juggled multiple jobs to make ends meet.

“This is my life. This is my career, my passion. No one’s going to take away my right to have the life that I want,” Bejarano told Natalie Morales from ‘The Today Show.’

Bejarano is definitely living the music life she wants.

Aside from being the current music director and conductor for the San Francisco Civic Symphony, she has also been invited to be a guest conductor at concert halls across the country.

She also continues to inspire the LGBTQ+ community in the arts. Although Bejarano told XQsi she had a tough coming out experience of her own, she wants to be a safe haven for others to be included in all areas of music. She has practiced that by being the music Director of VOICES Lesbian Choral Ensemble in Oakland and a guest conductor for the Bay Area RAINBOW Symphony, whose mission is to promote and support LGBTQ+ musicians and composers.

What’s up next for this conductor?

Bejarano wants to crack the glass ceiling of maestros being only men for the largest symphonies in the country. As of now, there is only one female maestra for the top 20 largest symphonies in the U.S.

By continuing to compose a symphony of inclusivity, resilience, and representation in music, we believe she can get there.

READ: Meet The 28-Year-Old Mexican Woman Who Has Just Been Named Best Chef In The World