Philadelphia — In the last decade, Latinx artists have surpassed previously set standards in which they were Spanish household names but could never achieve the status of being an international star. With artists like Bad Bunny, Kali Uchis and Karol G, Spanish artists have become popular outside of Latinx homes — finally putting an end to the generalization of “Spanish music” and crossing over to mainstream success within various realms of pop, rock and rap.
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage month, we honor the progress our community has made in making a home for ourselves in all spheres. It was not about assimilating to what was previously established but rather representing our heritage and the pride that comes with being Hispanic.
With the growing popularity of Latinx musicians, we hear our voices on English-speaking radio stations, listen to our music performed at international festivals, and watch it on TV outside of channels like Telemundo or Univision. In honor of Hispanic Heritage month, here are six emerging Latinx artists who deserve that same spotlight.
seye, also known as Sergio Echenique, is a Dominican pop instrumentalist with more than 53,000 monthly Spotify listeners. The majority of these listeners, however, are based in Spanish-speaking countries like Mexico, Peru, Chile and D.R. Earlier this month, seye released his debut EP album “El Sol De Las 3,” which has recently started to gain traction. The album sits at the top of his discography among a series of singles released over the last three years.
Unlike traditional Spanish music which typically consists of upbeat Latin rhythms, seye easily fits within the indie pop genre. Over the last few years, each of his songs has accompanied smooth, almost lo-fi beats, that make them the perfect bedroom pop song to listen to. His song “¿Dónde Estabas Tú?” is an embodiment of his style and what more he has to come.
Paty B is a Venezuelan pop and R&B singer that’s begun her trailblazing career featured on various Spotify playlists. Garnering nearly 49,000 monthly Spotify listeners, many of which are based throughout the U.S. and Mexico, Paty follows in the footsteps of her father, the founder of a music academy in Venezuela known as the Blue House. Earlier this month, she released her second album “VEINTIDÓS” with her Ecuadorian producer Kuinvi.
The majority of her songs follow a head bopping rhythm and high-pitched vocals that make the album a bouncy, on-repeat must-listen. Accompanied by breathy ad libs and guitar riffs, Paty B is easily an artist to watch out for. Listen to one of her newest hits “ALÉRGICA,” which is quickly becoming a fan favorite.
Sofía Valdés is a Panamanian indie singer-songwriter with over 380,000 monthly Spotify listeners and a vast following throughout the U.S. Like many of today’s indie singers, her songs take on a breathy, relaxed voice on top of slow and simple instrumentals — particularly carried out by a beautiful combination of guitars, drums and echoey ad libs. Her most recent album “Silvia,” released in August, is named after her great grandmother and Silvia de Grasse, a 60s Panamanian singer popularly known as “The Queen of the Drum.”
According to Valdés, both women reflected power and resilience — qualities she adopted as the muse of her album and used to honor Latinas that indoctrinate that same spirit.
While her songs are primarily in English, Sofía Valdés uses her voice and image to speak in celebration of Latin women who have come before her. Her title song, “Silvia,” embodies her heritage in its use of trembling instrumentals that play as an ode to the shaky maraca sound in traditional Latin music. This sound can be assumed to be a common instrument in Panamanian music known as la guáchara. “Silvia” is the perfect example of what she represents as an artist and as a person.
Valentina Rico is a rising Colombian pop singer with a loaded background in music that makes her familiar with the industry and comfortable in her own sound. With nearly 315,000 monthly Spotify listeners, she is popular primarily in Spanish-speaking countries like Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Chile and Argentina. That said, Rico originally rose to fame in her teen years while performing in the states and sharing the stage with artists like Fat Joe and Piso 21. Her 2018 cover of “Dejala Que Vuelva” topped multiple Spotify charts across Latin America and became certified Gold in Colombia a few weeks after its release.
She has developed a unique sound after exploring multiple musical genres, including folk and country pop, and has now settled comfortably into a melting-pot genre of pop, urban and reggaeton music. Her most recent single, “Nuez” showcases her well-developed music style with hints of the traditional lift and drop rhythm of Latin pop.
YADAM is a Paris-based Venezuelan singer that uses his multicultural background to embody a musical sound he can call unique. YADAM has 105,000 monthly Spotify listeners from Colombia, Mexico and various cities throughout Spain. His most recent album “Belamor”, released this month, is a playful combination of the words “beauty” and “love” in both Spanish and French.
As a queer trilingual performer, YADAM’s music is appealing throughout indie spheres. His deeper tone carries the weight of each song by pushing a pained passion typically brought forth in older Spanish songs. The song “NADA ES SEGURO” pairs his sultry pitch with that of featured artist Zoe Gotusso. Her light and airy voice makes for a perfect duet — enforcing this idea that all of his music plays as a deep ballad written more for himself than for an audience.
Manu Beker is a Mexican singer-songwriter with a unique blend of Latin trap, pop and R&B. His 64,000 monthly Spotify listeners are predominantly based throughout Mexico, Peru, and Colombia. In 2022, Beker started to gain more traction throughout the states after performing at Pal Norte, a music festival, with multiple big-name artists like Billie Eilish, Blink-182 and The Killers. His success as a composer has also granted him and AleMor, a Miami-based Colombian singer, a Latin Grammy nomination.
In May, Beker released his new single “El Principal” with ni-hao!!!!, a Japanese cheer punk quartet that jumps from genre to genre sporadically. The techno-pop sound is one example among many of Beker’s ability to perform across audiences and styles, making him an artist to look out for.
These six artists are the tip of an iceberg of emerging Latinx musicians sure to take over Spotify, TikTok and many other platforms. The unique characteristics of each artist exemplify the constantly changing sound within the music industry and within Latin art. Building off of traditional instruments and sounds, rising stars are able to pay homage to the music that headlined their childhood while highlighting how much Spanish music has grown since then. This Hispanic Heritage month, the Latinx community can be proud to announce that we are growing and that we are louder than ever.
Rosie Marie Hendricks (they/them) is from New York City, but is a Philly-based journalist who covers entertainment and culture. You can find them on Instagram @rosiehndrcks and on LinkedIn @rosiehendricks.
Edited by Nykeya Woods