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.

 

A new era begins!

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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)

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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.

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Remembering Jenni Rivera, the Music Icon and Mother

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The world lost one of its brightest stars on December 9, 2012. But for all her success, Jenni Rivera was also unapologetically real, vulnerable and accessible. In this exclusive interview, Rivera’s eldest daughter Chiquis reflects on the loss and honors the legacy of banda music’s reigning queen.

Read my exclusive interview with Chiquis on the new MySpace.

 

Latin Grammy winner Sergio George on success, loyalty and the rebirth of Salsa

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Once upon a time, salsa reigned supreme. Great singers from Cuba, Venezuela, Panama, Puerto Rico, Colombia and Dominican Republic introduced this vibrant genre to the world and we collectively moved to the clave, connecting with its universal message. As legendary BMI-affiliated salsa producer Sergio George puts it, “Not only was salsa the dance of dances, but it gave people hope, something to relate to, something to dream of, the possibility of romanticism during the toughest of times, a respite for the poor.” Somewhere along the way, though, the movement lost momentum and was overshadowed by other genres.

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Calle 13 & Julian Assange: A love story

You gotta admire how Calle 13 stay true to their hasta la victoria siempre M.O. Their newest act of rebellion? A collabo with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, their buddy Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine and Palestinian musician Kamilya Jubran. Apparently Rene Perez, one half of C13, visited Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London this past summer. Their #JulianAssangeCalle13 campaign has been mounting since then, when they engaged their loyal Twitter followers on various themes and received thousands of responses, which they plan to incorporate into this new song. “We’re going to take their voice, what they’re saying, their idea, and we’re going to manipulate their idea and construct a song about the media…to talk against the bad media but using their voices,” says Perez in the teaser. Watch below:

The full “Multi_Viral” single will be released November 13. As for their next album, C13 has opted not to renew their contract with Sony and will be releasing their next album independently in March 2014. “We’re looking at different platforms,” C13’s Eduardo Cabra told Billboard last week. “Maybe we will give it away for free.”

That’s a cause I can get behind.

Happy birthday to the queen, Celia Cruz!

Google and the Celia Cruz estate have collaborated to honor the Queen of Salsa on what would have been her 88th birthday. Ten years after her passing, she continues to bring so much joy into our lives through her music and the Google Doodle is a symbol of how far-reaching her impact is.

Gloria Estefan (the other queen, in my book) once told me a great anecdote of a time when she played a show with Celia and how, even though her knees were killing her from arthritis, she never once showed it during her performance. She never once complained about it backstage. Instead, she got up onstage and gave the crowd everything she had.

The new iBook, Celia Cruz: The Lady, The Legend, Her Legacy, will be available tomorrow from Sony Music.

Celia, que en paz descanses….y gracias por el regalo de tu musica!

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Exclusive: behind the scenes with Juanes at his ‘Loud & Unplugged’ tour

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There was only one good reason to trek it from Los Angeles to Bakersfield, CA this past Friday night: I got a backstage VIP pass to the kick-off concert to Juanes’ highly anticipated 2013 “Loud and Unplugged” summer tour.

Without exaggerating, I can say that Juanes and his bandmates – Rafael Sandoval on the sax, Edilberto Lievano on the trombone, Orlando Barreda on the trumpet, Juan Pablo Daza and Fernando Tobon on guitar, Felipe Navia on bass, Felipe Alzate and Richard Bravo on percussion, Waldo Madera on drums, and Emmanuel Briceño on the keyboard – have never sounded tighter.

For one, Juanes has never toured with a full horn section. Then again, if you’ve listened to Juanes’ MTV Unplugged album you know that he has strived for (and undoubtedly reached) a new level of musicianship. El maestro Juan Luis Guerra (who executive produced the Unplugged album) had a little something to do with that.

Whatever you do, don’t miss the chance to check Juanes out when he comes your way (peep the tour dates here).

And if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to experience a Juanes show from the inside, this should give you an idea …

Check out the photos on Fusion (ABC/Univision), where this story was originally published. 

A look at Jenni Rivera and Selena, side-by-side

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There are great performers, and then there are game-changers. Jenni Rivera, who died at age 43 in a plane crash outside of Monterrey, Mexico early Sunday morning, was that rare breed of artist who will be remembered not only for her success, but for all the rules she re-wrote.

As the undisputed queen of banda music, her professional achievements within a male-dominated genre run deep – among her many feats, La Diva de la Banda sold some 1.2 million albums in the United States alone and sold out arenas like the Staples Center in Los Angeles, something no other female regional Mexican artist had done before. But make no mistake: nothing was ever handed to this woman.

Rivera was born in Long Beach, California on July 2, 1969, one of six siblings. The daughter of bartender-turned-music mogul Pedro Rivera, who launched his own record label, Cintas Acuario, in 1987 to produce the music of narcocorrido legend Chalino Sanchez, among others, and launch the career of his own son Lupillo, Jenni was a straight A student in high school. When she got pregnant with her first child as a sophomore, instead of dropping out, she earned her GED at a continuation school in 1987 – as the class valedictorian, no less – before going on to earn a college business degree in 1991.

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What’s in your suitcase: ChocQuibTown’s Goyo

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Latin Grammys are just as much about the music as they are about the fashion, so we snuck into one of our favorite band’s room to see which looks they’re going to be rocking this week in Las Vegas.

Colombian hip-hop group ChocQuibTown, beloved at home in Choco and all around Latin America, is nominated in three categories this year – Album of the Year (Eso Es Lo Que Hay), Record of the Year (“Calentura,” featuring Tego Calderon and Zully Murillo), and Best Alternative Music Album.

But they’re not exactly new at this Latin Grammy thing. In 2009, they were up for Best New Artist, and they won Best Alternative Song in 2010 for “De Donde Vengo Yo.”

The band’s Colombian pride manifests itself strongly in the fashion choices of its lead singer Gloria Martinez (a.k.a. Goyo), as we were able to see firsthand during our visit to her hotel room in Vegas. “It’s really important for me to support local designers,” Goyo told me yesterday, right before our Twitcam with the group. If you missed it, check out the full, unedited video here.

The trio of Goyo, her brother Slow, and her hubby Tostao, had so much fun answering fan questions on Twitter, and shared everything from their favorite foods to their dreams of a possible collaboration with Calle 13, and even breaking into an awesome acapella of “Hasta El Techo” (fast foward to minute 14:00 of the Twitcam video)!

But first, I got an exclusive look at Goyo’s wardrobe for the rest of the week. She makes the best dressed list in my book for all of her originality and support of local designers.

Check out the pics on Fusion (ABC/Univision), where this story was originally published.