The 19th annual Latin Grammys: Latin America in the Global Picture

The Latin Grammys telecast is Univision’s higherst-rated special.  The Latin Recording Academy® was formed by The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences® (The Recording Academy®) in 1997.  It currently has 16 Trustees consisting of people from varying nations, nationalities and areas of expertise working pro bono to guide the Latin Recording Academy®  toward a long and sustainable future. The Directors of the Latin Recording Academy volunteer in areas such as marketing, fiscal discipline, television, organization and awards setting goals for the short, medium and long-term[i].

In addition to being the most significant event in the Latin American recording industry, The Latin Grammys became a point of reference for the trends in the leading Latin American Pop culture.  The social, cultural and economic impact that these awards make is underrated.  Many consider the Latin Grammy awards to be the little siblng of the American Grammy awards. However, looking statistically, Latin America spends more on music than any other region in the world.  Moreover, 2015 became first year in almost two decades that music industry revenues actually increased[ii]. The Latin music industry, is by far the strongest it has ever been as measured by economic and cultural growth. Thanks to modern technology and the power of social media, Latin American Music has become a global genre that has managed to achieve success outside of Latin America in less than a decade.

A work can be considered for the award when it’s released during the eligibility period and is recorded in Spanish or Portuguese.  For Instrumental music, any recording containing works by Ibero American authors, composers or interpretations by Ibero American artists can be entered even though the work is authored by someone other than an Ibero American[iii].

This year’s Latin Grammys are filled with many surprises. Reggaeton star J Balvin received eight Latin Grammy Award nominations, including two for record of the year, one for album of the year and one featuring Beyoncé for “Mi Gente” with Willy William. The Colombian reggaeton star is the number one artist around the world on Spotify. Propelled by the success of his fifth studio album Vibras, Balvin has accrued over 48 million monthly listeners on Spotify, beating previous record-holder Drake[iv].  An additional surprise, with five Latin Grammy nominations, is Spanish flamenco-pop newcomer Rosalia[v]. Both artists are signed by management company, “Lionfish Entertainment” led by founder and CEO Rebeca Leon[vi].

The Latin Recording Academy® also announced six-time Latin GRAMMY® and four-time GRAMMY® winning rock-pop band Maná will be honored as the 2018 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year™ for their extraordinary creative accomplishments and philanthropic contributions to the Latin community, as well as for their dedicated support of environmental preservation and protection and human rights [vii].

Addionally, this year, The Latin Recording Academy® announced that Erasmo Carlos, Dyango, Andy Montañez, José María Napoleón, Chucho Valdés, Wilfrido Vargas and Yuri will receive this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award.  Moreover, Horacio Malvicino and Tomás Muñoz will receive the Trustees Award. The honorees will be celebrated during a private ceremony to be held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas on November 13th as part of the 19th Annual Latin GRAMMY® Week.

New Artists

One important indicator to observe is who is nominated for the best New Artist at the Latin Grammys. The nominees for the 2018 Latin Grammys were announced September 20th.  As usual, one of the most popular categories was the best new artist field, in which all nominees were extremely excited to receive such an important and once-in-a-lifetime nomination. It’s worth having a closer look at these artists. They will shape the future of the current Latin music industry[viii]. Here is a quick look of the artists nominated the “Best New Artist Grammy Award”

Karol G

Karol G, is a Colombian reggaeton/urban singer and songwriter. On Hot Latin Songs Karol G has eight total charted titles. Out of those, two went top 10:  “Ahora Me Llama” with Bad Bunny (peaked at No. 10 on chart dated Nov. 4, 2017), and “Mi Cama” with J Balvin featuring Nicky Jam, which peaked at No. 6 on the Aug. 25, 2018-dated chart.


Angela Aguilar

At only 14 years of age, Angela Aguilar is nominated for two 2018 Latin Grammys: best new artist and best regional Mexican/mariachi album for Primero Soy Mexicana. As the daughter of Mexican singer Pepe Aguilar, Angela is part of the new wave of Regional Mexican singers changing the game. Her album Primero Soy Mexicana  peaked at No. 13 on the Latin Albums Sales chart, dated May 12, 2018, and on the Regional Mexican Digital Songs Sales chart “Tu Sangre en Mi Cuerpo” peaked at No. 2 (chart dated July 8, 2017) and “La Llorona” debuted at No. 14 on the chart dated April 14, 2018 (only one charted week).


Anaadi is one of Brazil’s most promising new acts. The singer and actress is catching everyone’s attention with her unique sound that blends jazz, soul and Brazilian rhythms.


LosPetitFellas is an alternative musical project founded in 2006 under the name of Pet Fella and led by vocalist Nicolás Barragán. Their intention is to generate a positive, creative and fresh space for alternative music in the country.

Nana Mendoza

Nana Mendoza is an emerging artist from Mexico and she’s giving her listeners a taste of her neo-soul-meets-hip-hop-meets-R&B-meets-organic-beats sound. Nana has toured with Sin Bandera and was the lead voice of Cacho Gaytan’s project “La Manzana del Jazz.”

Benjamin Walker

Benjamin Walker is a Chilean singer-songwriter who has been making music since childhood and professionally sings trova. For his second album, Brotes (2017), he exhibited a style beyond the traditional trova, approaching pop.


El David Aguilar

El David Aguilar is a singer-songwriter of independent Mexican music who has been interpreting his songs throughout Mexico since 2003. He has performed his songs in Spain, France, Cuba, the United States, Argentina and Uruguay. He has recently been invited to collaborate on various projects by renowned songwriters, such as Kevin Johansen and Jorge Drexler.


Alex Ferreira

Álex Ferreira is a Dominican singer/songwriter and has collaborated and shared the stage with artists such as Fito Páez, Jorge Drexler, Iván Ferreiro, Russian Red, Mäbu, Lori Meyers, Ximena Sariñana, Natalia Lafourcade, Gaby Moreno, Lisandro Aristimuño and Xoel López.


Christian Nodal

Christian Nodal is a Mexican singer-songwriter of mariachi. “Te Falle” is one of the songs that he made known via social networks. On the Regional Mexican Albums chart, Me Dejé Llevar debuted at No. 1 on chart dated Sept. 6, 2017. It remained at the penthouse for 46 weeks and most weeks at No. 1 for an album by a male artist in the history of the chart, thus far. It has also earned the record for an album with second-most weeks ever, behind Selena’s Amor Prohibido with 97 weeks, at No. 1.


Claudia Prieto

A Colombo-Venezuelan singer-songwriter who aims to conquer the world hypnotizing everyone with traveling lyrics and fresh melodies, always making songs and everything[ix].


Over the years, the Latin Grammys has become a symbol of the progression of the Latin American Recording industry. As the demand of Latin American music continues to grow, it is even more important to encourage young musicians and artists to immerse themselves in a genre and industry with so much upside potential. The Latin Grammy Awards are being held November 15, 2018, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.



[i] “FAQ.” Latin GRAMMYs. Accessed September 29, 2018.

[ii] Nrc-CD-mk, TeleSUR /. “Latin America Leads the World in Spending Money on Music.” Opinion | TeleSUR English. April 12, 2016. Accessed October 08, 2018.

[iii] “FAQ.” Latin GRAMMYs. Accessed September 29, 2018.

[iv] Darville, Jordan. “J. Balvin Is the Most Streamed Spotify Artist in the World.” The FADER. Accessed September 26, 2018.

[v] “Latin Grammys: J Balvin Leads Nominations with 8 Nods, including 1 with Beyonce.” USA Today. September 20, 2018. Accessed September 25, 2018.

[vi] Cobo, Leila. “Rebeca Leon Leaves AEG to Focus on Her Lionfish Artist Management Company.” Billboard. September 28, 2017. Accessed October 08, 2018.

[vii] “Maná Named 2018 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year™.” Latin GRAMMYs. Accessed September 25, 2018.

[viii] Fernandez, Suzette. “Latin Grammys 2018: Meet the Best New Artist Nominees.” Latin Grammys 2018: Meet the Best New Artist Nominees. September 26, 2018. Accessed September 29, 2018.


[ix] Fernandez, Suzette. “Latin Grammys 2018: Meet the Best New Artist Nominees.” Billboard. September 26, 2018. Accessed October 05, 2018.



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