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

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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.”

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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!

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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.

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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.

 

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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!

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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.

 

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.

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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.)

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The Best of the 2015 Billboard Latin Music Conference

Ivy Queen

I recently joined the extended Billboard family as a contributor and went down to Miami to cover the 2015 Billboard Latin Music Conference and Awards (April 27 – 30). I’ve greatly enjoyed collaborating with the inimitable Leila Cobo, who, quite simply, knows more about Latin music than anyone on the planet. She’s a pro, and definitely someone I look up to.

You’ll be seeing my byline on billboard.com/latin quite a bit this year, as I join Leila and the Billboard team in building the ultimate digital destination for all things Latin music.

Click below to see Billboard’s beautiful spread with exclusive portraits from the conference.

Billboard Latin Music Conference Exclusive Portraits  

And click here to view all of our great online coverage from this year’s conference & awards, including exclusive interviews with Carlos Santana, Daddy Yankee, Natalia Jimenez, Nicky Jam, Luis Fonsi, Wisin, Carlos Vives, Ivy Queen, and many more.

See Also: Highlights From the 2015 Billboard Latin Music Conference & Awards

Spotlighting Latina Beauty in Marie Claire’s Global Beauty Issue

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I was honored to contribute to Marie Claire‘s Global Beauty Issue (May 2015), spotlighting three Latinas whom I greatly admire: mogul (and all-around idol) Salma Hayek, supermodel Joan Smalls, and actress Genesis Rodriguez.

Follow the link to read the full feature —> Marie Claire

Backstage With Daddy Yankee at the 2015 Billboard Latin Music Awards

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Mention the name Daddy Yankee to anyone in the Latin music industry and they’ll automatically think of the words legend, icon, or leader. Credited with making reggaeton a global phenomenon in 2004 with his hit “Gasolina,” the Puerto Rican superstar has more top 10s on the Latin Rhythm Airplay chart than any other artist (30) and more No. 1s on Top Latin Albums than any other urban act (6). It’s no wonder his peers — both established and emerging acts — constantly cite him as a source of inspiration.

When he’s not recording hits in the studio, Yankee is known for bringing the heat to any performance. The 2015 Billboard Latin Music Awards — which aired on Telemundo on April 30 from the BankUnited Center in Miami — were no exception, as Yankee took the stage twice. First, to perform his hot new single “Sígueme y Te Sigo” as a worldwide television premiere, and then with Carlos Vives and Wisin for “Nota de Amor,” an irresistible marriage of Colombian vallenato and reggaeton that’s as much about love as it is about dancing.

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Selena Quintanilla’s Family on Jennifer Lopez’s Tribute at the Billboard Latin Music Awards: ‘She Owned It’

Selena tribute Jennifer Lopez Billboard Latin Music Awards 2015

It was the most talked-about moment of the night at the 2015 Billboard Latin Music AwardsJennifer Lopez onstage, singing a medley of Selena Quintanilla’s most beloved hits, including “Como la Flor,” “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom,” “No Me Queda Mas,” and “I Could Fall in Love,” dressed in a pale pink ensemble reminiscent of the late queen of Tejano music. The heartfelt performance came 18 years after Lopez’s indelible portrayal of Selena made her a household name. Backed by the original Los Dinos band — made up of Selena’s brother A.B. Quintanilla, sister Suzette Quintanilla-Arriaga, and widower Chris Perez – JLo delivered an emotional tribute to an icon whose influence is still felt, 20 years after her life was tragically cut short.

After the performance, the Quintanilla family opened up to Billboard about how it felt to be a part of such a special moment, where the idea for the tribute came from, and how they’re keeping Selena’s legacy alive.

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#AllYouNeedIsEcuador: Everything You Need to Know About That Epic SuperBowl Ad

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Amidst all the celebrity-laden ads on Super Bowl Sunday, there was one that stood out: Ecuador’s 30-second spot highlighting the stunning natural beauty of the small Andean country containing a world within itself — the Galapagos Islands, the Pacific Coast, the Andes mountains and the Amazon rainforest — to the familiar tune of a certain Beatles classic.

A three-part tagline anchored the memorable “All You Need is Ecuador” spot: “Like Nowhere Else, All in One Place, So Close.” The first two points are undeniably true (this coming from a proud Ecuadorian), but I’m going to have to talk to the airlines about that third one, because getting there from Los Angeles is never less than a full-day ordeal.

If those few seconds weren’t enough to make you want to make the trip, maybe these interesting tidbits will.

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The Problem With a Token Latina Princess

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There was a great deal of excitement, understandably so, around Disney’s announcement of a new princess, Elena of Avalor, this week. An olive-skinned, gorgeous babe who looks like she goes to Jasmine’s same hair salon to get blow-outs, Elena was widely celebrated in the media because, well, it’s crazy that there still hasn’t been a Latina royal in the Disney family.

We came close about a year ago with Sofia The First, whom many also assumed was Latina. But it wasn’t long before the backlash started, mostly consisting of “She’s too white!” comments. All of which caused Disney to clarify — or perhaps backpedal — and state that Sofia was “a mixed-heritage princess in a fairy-tale world. Her mother is originally from an enchanted kingdom inspired by Spain (Galdiz) and her birth father hailed from an enchanted kingdom inspired by Scandinavia.”

Disney Junior’s VP Nancy Kanter further clarified: “What’s important to know is that Sofia is a fairytale girl who lives in a fairytale world. All our characters come from fantasy lands that may reflect elements of various cultures and ethnicities but none are meant to specifically represent those real world cultures. The writers have wisely chosen to write stories that include elements that will be familiar and relatable to kids from many different backgrounds including Spain and Latin America.”

Following that uncomfortable PR moment for Disney, Alex Nogales, president of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, had a direct conversation with Kanter in which he apparently pressed, “When are we going to have a real Latina, not a counterfeit?’”

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