These Are Our 21 Favorite Latino Artists Ranked By Their Awards
Whether you love rocking out to reggaetón or listening to the sweet sounds of bachata, bossa nova, or flamenco guitar, we can all agree that music is something that brings us together. Music grows and changes on a daily basis, and things that are popular one day can fall out of favor in the same week (sorry, Offset). Today, we’re going to showcase some of the most popular and awarded Latino music artists in history. Their triumphs prove that good musicians need only their instrument to win over the world.
1. Celia Cruz
Celia Cruz can claim the singular honor of being the most popular Latin artist of the 20th century, making over 23 albums that went gold during her illustrious career. Her operatic voice gave her incredible range, and she created a stage presence to match, with gorgeous wigs, high heels, and sequined dresses. She was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1994. ¡Azúcar!
The Queen of Tejano Music died at only 23 years old- it’s incredible to think of what she could have accomplished if she had lived even just a few more years. She was Billboard’s top-selling Latino artist of the 1990s, and her five solo studio albums are some of the most influential of the era.
3. Tito Puente
Known alternately as the Musical Pope, El Rey de los Timbales, and The King of Latin Music, Tito Puente is most recognized for his song “Oye Como Va.” He helped to bring several Caribbean and Afro-Cuban genres to America. He has uncountable awards, including several buildings and stadiums named in his honor.
4. Daddy Yankee
Daddy Yankee’s single “Gasolina” helped catapult reggaetón into the American mainstream, and has helped him sell over 20 million albums. After that came “Despacito”, the first Spanish-language song to hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 21 years. As of 2017, he’s won 82 major awards including 5 Latin Grammys, 2 Billboard Music Awards, and 8 Lo Nuestro Awards.
5. Gloria Estefan
Latin pop legend Gloria Estefan has a treasure trove of awards, including three Grammys, a Lifetime Achievement AMA, and as of just a few years ago, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She has sold over 115 million records worldwide over the course of her 40+ year career.
6. Vincente Fernandez
Vincente Fernandez is an iconic singer who helped to bring Mexican ranchera music into the mainstream. After singing on the street and in restaurants, he received his first recording contract in 1966. Since then, he’s sold over 50 million albums, has been nominated for 13 Grammys (winning three), and 33 Lo Nuestro Awards (winning fourteen), and 14 Latin Grammys (winning eight).
Those hips sure don’t lie- dancer and singer Shakira has over 67 major awards and has sold an incredible 140 million records worldwide. She’s still the 3rd most streamed female singer on YouTube.
8. Paulina Rubio
Paulina Rubio is one of the most talented and versatile artists of the Latin music sphere. She’s recorded Latin pop, electronic, and dance music, and is considered one of the most influential celebs in the world by Univision.
With the release of his third solo album Mi Sangre, Colombian artist Juanes became a global superstar. He’s won two Grammy Awards and 20 Latin Grammys- and he’s only 46, and is still actively releasing music.
10. Jennifer Lopez
Singer, actress, and producer Jennifer Lopez is truly a global powerhouse. She was the first woman to have a number one album and film released the same week. In 2002, she broke another record when her remix album J to tha L-O! The Remixes hit the charts at #1.
11. Marc Anthony
J.Lo’s one-time husband Marc Anthony is the top-selling tropical salsa artist of all time, having sold more than 12 million albums. He made the leap to the American market in the late ‘90s and has been switching between Spanish and English-language albums ever since.
12. Carlos Santana
One of the greatest guitarists in the world is Carlos Santana, who played at Woodstock in 1969 when he was only 22 years old. Santana has worked with countless bands including his own, in a huge variety of genres. He was a 2013 Kennedy Center Honoree.
13. José José
Balladeer José José, who is known as El Príncipe de la Canción, was one of the most popular Latin artists of the 1980s, and has influenced generations of new singers and bands. Dozens of his albums have gone gold, and several have gone all the way to double platinum.
14. Los Tigres Del Norte
The corridos sung by Los Tigres Del Norte have become some of the most respected and cherished of the norteño genre. Their songs about drug running and illegal immigration have helped the genre feel more relatable to the next generation.
15. Ricky Martin
Often called the King of Latin Pop, Ricky Martin is so beloved that in 2008 he was given his own holiday in Puerto Rico. His song “Livin’ la Vida Loca” help jumpstart the Latin pop craze of the 1990s. His eponymous album sold over 22 million copies when it was released in 1999 and was certified 7x platinum.
Miami-born Pitbull is one of the most popular Latino rappers of all time. He’s been nominated for 142 major awards and has won 45. In addition to promoting his own career, he’s also the founder of Bad Boy Latino, a Latin-focused record label that’s a subsidiary of Diddy’s Bad Boy Records.
Maná is considered one of the most influential bands in all Latin America, with a 30+ year career and over 55 awards to their name. Their genre-hopping style includes elements of pop, calypso, reggae, and ska. The band is comprised of singer Fher Olvera, drummer Alex Gonzalez, bassist Juan Calleros, and guitarist Sergio Vallin, most of whom have been with the band for 20+ years.
18. Hector Lavoe
Puerto Rican singer Hector Lavoe helped to establish salsa in North America, and recorded dozens of albums on his own, with Fania All Stars, and as part of the Willie Colón Orchestra. His fascinating life has inspired two biopics and an off-Broadway show.
19. Luis Miguel
Luis Miguel is one of Mexico’s most cherished artists. He released his first album, Un Sol, at only 11 years old. He was one of the few artists not to make the crossover to English-language music in the 1990s, and still managed to sell over 100 million albums. His latest album ¡México Por Siempre! was released in 2017, and was certified double platinum.
Bronx-based Aventura was formed in 1994 with the goal of fusing bachata with American R&B and hip-hop music. Their unique sound made them a chart-topping hit, and although they broke up in 2011, they’re still considered one of the best bachata groups in history.
21. Ritchie Valens
Although Ritchie Valens is most famous for the way that he died (he perished in the same plane crash that killed Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper) this trivia doesn’t give enough credit to his enormous individual talent. He was one of the first Mexican-Americans to break into the rock and roll scene and was on the verge of creating an entirely new genre when he died at only 17 years old. He was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, 42 years after his death.