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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