King of Streams: Daddy Yankee is Now #1 Artist on Spotify Worldwide

this-is-daddy-yankee-new

It’s taken me a while to post on here again, but I can’t think of a better reason to come back and say something…

History has been made. A heartfelt congrats to the one & only Daddy Yankee, the #1 artist in the world on Spotify (and the first Latin artist to hold that position). Forgive me if I get a little sentimental but it seems appropriate…

From its inception, and much like hip hop, reggaeton was dismissed as a passing fad, a trend that would burn out. At times it retreated from the spotlight. Because frankly it needed to evolve, like most things. But it never disappeared. What DY and the other true pioneers of the genre have proven is that it was always supposed to be more than just fiesta, perreo & mucho dembow. These are the storytellers of a generation. And the first chapters of these stories were born out of the ghetto, depicting what it was like growing up in the caserios of Puerto Rico. It was raw and it was often not pretty. But it was real. The party vibes came much later, as DY will tell you. And it was one song in particular that busted down the doors for the world to pay attention. That song was “Gasolina.”

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 8.42.32 AM

I’ll never forget a quote DY gave me during our first sit-down interview for Vibe magazine back in 2004. He told me that Nas was an MC he deeply admired and this next part I remember so clearly. He said: “Blacks and Latinos have the same struggles, in different languages.” So it’s no surprise, all these years later, that the spirit behind these musical movements, whether it be hip hop, reggaeton, etc, is indestructible, mainly because they had to fight for people’s respect. Now the world can’t seem to get enough but let’s not forget where it all started. Daddy Yankee’s journey to the top has been anything but an overnight one.

This is a win for DY, his formidable team, for Latin music & for everyone in the industry who continues to work hard to represent our culture through music.

Seguimos!

Watch this video in which Yankee talks about what it means to be #1.

And also, be sure to check out DY’s “This Is” playlist on Spotify, with the best of his music.

It’s all about #LatinosOnSpotify!

Screen Shot 2016-09-28 at 10.44.15 AM.png

So proud of our Hispanic Heritage Month campaign on Spotify! It was a true team effort and the first of many big things to come on the platform as we seek to give Latin music lovers the best experience. 

About #LatinosOnSpotify:

Data shows that Latin music is now one of the most popular genres globally on Spotify. To mark this milestone and to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, on September 15, Spotify launched #LatinosOnSpotify, a month-long campaign featuring, for the first time in a category’s history, Latino-centric video, podcasts and specially curated playlists all in one place.

Debuting just in time for Hispanic Heritage Month, Spotify.com/Latino celebrates the diversity and nuances within the culture, offering music for every taste and catering to different Hispanic audiences within the United States.

Screen Shot 2016-09-28 at 2.36.21 PM.png

Fans of Regional Mexican, Tropical, Latin Urban, Pop, Rock, Alternative, Jazz, and more, will have a chance to experience the music they love like never before and connect with their favorite artists in a unique way. Enrique Iglesias, Prince Royce, Marc Anthony, Los Tigres del Norte, Maluma, Daddy Yankee, Becky G, Yandel, Gloria Estefan and many other superstars have all come together with Spotify to bring you an unforgettable musical experience.

 

Screen Shot 2016-09-28 at 2.36.27 PM.png

Artist interviews with the biggest Latin stars in the world are available for streaming in the new Latino hub alongside Spotify’s most popular and beautifully redesigned genre-specific playlists and special one-off playlists such as “Latinos, Let’s Vote!”, our collaboration with Voto Latino to mobilize the vote among Latino millennials in this upcoming election. Also, for the first time ever inside the Latin category on Spotify mobile, people are able to enjoy some of the best podcasts on a range of topics of interest to Latinos!

Screen Shot 2016-09-28 at 2.36.15 PM.png

The first thing you see when you visit the new Latino hub is “La Familia, With Marc Anthony & his Father Felipe Muñiz,” Spotify’s first ever Latin music documentary. The 3-episode short doc profiles legendary recording artist Marc Anthony as he delves into the story and process behind one of the most exciting passion projects of his career: recording the new bolero-flavored track ‘Dejé de Amar’ with his father, Felipe Muñiz, who makes his recording debut at 81. Joining them is multiple Grammy Award winning producer Sergio George. In this intimate session, Marc and his father come together to discuss family, play music, and to celebrate the sound that was passed down from father to son, a gift that ultimately produced one of the biggest Latin stars in the world.

Press play now for Hispanic Heritage Month and join the conversation using #LatinosOnSpotify.

 

A new era begins!

IMG_7461-2

When I started my career as an entertainment journalist (and resident reggaeton queen) at VIBE magazine in 2003, I never would have imagined I’d end up here. My dream was to one day be an editor-in-chief (of a print magazine, obviously). Eventually, I’d earn that title, but in the digital era, where instead of worrying about selling newsstand copies and upping subscriptions I would obsess over site analytics. And what I do now simply didn’t exist back then, so I couldn’t have possibly known that it would be the culmination of everything I’ve worked for. But here I am, feeling incredibly blessed to have joined Spotify’s global content programming team as a Senior Editor. In this role, I now curate and program playlists specifically for the US Latin market, as well as create exclusive, multi-platform editorial content that amplifies the streaming service’s role as the undisputed choice for Latin music lovers. In other words: I. Love. My. Job.

Here’s to the dreams you can imagine — and to the ones you can’t even picture yet, but are waiting in the wings.

Jesse & Joy reveal new album title, release date & heartfelt Juan Luis Guerra duet (exclusive)

jesse-and-joy-2015-billboard-650

Mexican brother and sister duo Jesse & Joy are well aware that when you listen to their music, you almost need to have a box of tissues nearby. This is not because their music is depressing (although if you’re going through a breakup it can certainly seem that way), but because it’s so visceral. This in itself is a gift. But then you factor in the powerful instrument that is Joy’s voice, Jesse’s production savvy and their unique bond, and you’ve got something extra special.

The same holds true for their upcoming fourth album, Un Besito Más (One Last Kiss), due Dec. 4 via Warner, for which they expanded their production roster to include Fraser T. Smith (Adele, Sam Smith), Grammy winner Martin Terefe (who handled production on their previous album, ¿Con Quién Se Queda el Perro?), and Dominican legend Juan Luis Guerra, alongside Jesse.

Vocally, there’s a newfound confidence. The first single “Ecos de Amor” (Echoes of Love) positions Joy as a soulful songstress in her prime. The visuals are equally stunning, thanks to Samuel Bayer (Michael Jackson, Rolling Stones, Justin Timberlake) who directed the single’s video.

That Jesse & Joy are doing it big is no coincidence. It’s been 10 years since their Esta es mi Vida debut, and, as Jesse will humbly tell you, “we know there’s something we do that connects.” So the trick this time around was staying true to their sound while exhibiting growth. “It’s a challenge we were totally up for and we put everything we have into this,” says the elder Huerta (he’s 32; Joy is 29).

Billboard spoke via phone to the two siblings, who were at home in Mexico City and offered exclusive details on the album.

Continue reading

Billboard’s 2015 Latin Power Players List Revealed

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 25: Luis Fonsi, Juanes and Jesus Lopez attends Universal Music Hennessy after party to celebrate Latin Billboard Awards at Bamboo Miami on April 25, 2014 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Manny Hernandez/Getty Images)

Luis Fonsi, Juanes and Universal Music Latin Chairman/CEO Jesus Lopez (Photo by Manny Hernandez/Getty Images)

I had the pleasure of interviewing some of the brightest minds in the Latin music industry for Billboard’s annual Latin Power Players edition, out now. Among the execs I profiled were manager extraordinaires Johnny Marines (Romeo Santos), Fernando Giaccardi (Enrique Iglesias), and Walter Kolm (Carlos Vives, Maluma, Fanny Lu). 

Check out a preview below.

Congrats to all who made the list! 

It is the sound of the fastest-growing demographic in the nation — and one of the most diverse.

The Hispanic population of the United States, some 55.4 million individuals comprising 17.3 percent of the nation, is expected to double to an estimated 106 million by 2050, according to U.S. Census estimates. But just as Hispanics are more likely to self-identify more specifically by their land of origin, Latin music reflects that ­diversity through its styles — pop, tropical, regional Mexican and more — while remaining a unifying cultural force.

The 29 executives in Billboard‘s Latin Power Players bring these hits to fans within and beyond the Latin audience. Impact and influence certainly count for inclusion on this list, as do company market share and chart performance of the artists with whom they work.

For the full list, head on over to Billboard.com

Maná’s Fher Compares Donald Trump to Hitler During L.A. Concert, Blasts Him for Anti-Immigrant Comments

Maná Cama Incendiada Tour Los Angeles Staples Center

It was all love in the beginning of Maná’s Cama Incendiada tour stop in Los Angeles’s Staples Center on June 18, one of two sold-out nights at the venue.

“Los Angeles, we missed you!” shouted the band’s lead singer Fher Olvera, after opening with new single “La Prisión.” “Being here always feels like we’re home in Mexico, so it just felt right to kick off our world tour in California.”

And it was here, “in the heart of California,” as Olvera calls it, that he was able to take a break from singing party anthems and tequila-drenched power ballads to speak directly to Maná’s diehard Latino fans about something the legendary rock band deems urgent: the fact that we are anything but living in a post-racial society, as evidenced by Wednesday’s terrorist attack on a historically black church in Charleston, S.C.

Continue reading

Meet ‘Dope’ Star Tony Revolori, Soon-to-Be Your Favorite Latino Actor

Tony Revolori Dope movie

Most people toil away in independent cinema for years, maybe even decades, before catching a big break through some sort of cosmic alignment and starring in an Oscar-winning movie.

Not Tony Revolori. The 19-year-old Californian with Guatemalan roots, who stars in the buzzy, nerds-in-the-hood dramedy Dope (out June 19), is doing it all backwards.

After a string of small television parts, he was cast as Zero Moustafa, the orphaned lobby boy and fiercely loyal protégé of eccentric concierge Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes) in Wes Anderson’s dazzling 2014 murder mystery, The Grand Budapest Hotel. As the story goes, Anderson searched far and wide for the right actor to play Zero, who in the film is supposed to be a political refugee from a fictional Middle Eastern nation. The A-list director looked at actors of Israeli and Lebanese descent, but eventually landed in Los Angeles, where he auditioned Tony and – get this – Tony’s own brother, Mario. But in case you’re wondering – all is good between the two hermanos. In fact, Mario visited his younger brother on the set of Dope, along with Tony’s mom. (The acting gene actually runs in Tony’s family. His father was an actor, too.)

Continue reading

Miguel Performs ‘Wildheart’ Album at L.A. Show, Releases New Songs Early

Miguel performs songs from his new LP at an album release party, held at Red Bull Studios in Santa Monica, CA, USA on 15 June, 2015. // Koury Angelo / Red Bull Content Pool // P-20150616-00225 // Usage for editorial use only // Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information. //

Miguel performs songs from his new LP at an album release party, held at Red Bull Studios in Santa Monica, CA, USA on 15 June, 2015. // Koury Angelo / Red Bull Content Pool

“Transcend.” That’s the word that Miguel used repeatedly on Monday night, June 15, to describe the essence of his eagerly anticipated new album, Wildheart, arriving June 29.

Dressed in a white robe and oozing sensuality as well as spirituality, the R&B dynamo previewed several songs from the album for a small crowd at Red Bull’s Studios in Los Angeles. Promoting the event via social media a week in advance and alerting fans to RSVP promptly, Miguel gave them a chance to experience his new music in an intimate setting. “Must wear all white,” he requested on the invite (and most everyone heeded).

Continue reading

Chiquis Rivera Pays Tribute to Mom Jenni Rivera and Makes Her Own Mark With Debut Album ‘Ahora’: Track-by-Track Review

chiquis-rivera-ahora-2015-album-billboard-650x650

The late, great banda singer Jenni Rivera once said “haters are just confused fans.” So it makes sense that although Jenni’s eldest daughter Chiquis seems to have an equal ratio of the latter to gung-ho cheerleaders, this in no way has deterred her from pursuing her own career in music.

And why should it? At 29, Chiquis has already endured more pain and tragedythan most people could conceive of (including losing her mother in a plane crash on Dec. 9, 2012) and has lived to tell the tale.

Despite being booed quite loudly on social media upon the release of her first single back in early 2014 (“Paloma Blanca” — more on that later), Chiquis dusted herself off and tried again, but not without remastering a few things, literally and figuratively.

Continue reading

The Ultimate Listening Guide to Bomba Estéreo’s ‘Amanecer’: In Their Own Words

bomba-estereo-courtesy-sony-music-latin-2015-billboard-650

Bomba Estéreo is ready for the big time. Nearly 10 years after the Colombian electro-tropical outfit started making noise in the Bogotá club scene (and then popped up on music lists galore), singer Liliana Saumet and multi-instrumentalist Simon Mejía are now veterans of the global festival circuit. So it’s only right that for the band’s fourth album, Amanecer (due June 2), they would take things up a notch — and we’re not just talking bpm.

Indie and self-contained from the get-go, Bomba was recently signed to a major, Sony Music Latin, which paired them up with a new producer, Ricky Reed, of the genre-mashing California group Wallpaper, whose credits also include JasonDerulo‘s “Wiggle” and Pitbull‘s “Fireball.”

The result is an album that is still very much Bomba to the core, but it also makes room for new influences. Recorded between the band’s headquarters in Bogotá and Reed’s home studio in Los Angeles, Amanecer should get them more airplay and even more gigs on the world stage. Take the lead single “Fiesta,” a party anthem dripping with bass and champeta that’s as much of an homage to the carnivals of their homeland as they’ve ever recorded, but it’s also a nod to Kwaito, an African genre of music fusing hip-hop, house, reggae, and traditional African rhythms.

Continue reading