Your New Favorite Latin Stars
by Rachel Devitt | November 16, 2012
Want to be in the know about the hot young things and next big stars in Latin music? We've got you covered, music fans! Take a listen to our playlist of predictions for the new shining lights and buzzing names in pop, rock, electronic, indie and regional. And while you're listening, follow along with our handy-dandy guide and get to know them a little better.
Domino Saints. Repping for the urban pop camp, this real-life couple pulls together pop hooks, sexy-sweet crooning, electro-dance beats and a wee bit of reggaeton edge for a combo that has serious chart success written all over it.
Joey Montana. This is the sound of the future of pop music, friends. A little bit reggaeton, a little bit R&B, a pinch each of bachata and hip-hop, and a whole lot of pop hookery. Get in the game.
Maffio. A producer with a way with pretty much every kind of beat -- pop, hip-hop, R&B, reggaeton, bachata, R&bachata-hop, whatever -- Maffio has recently begun turning his industry savviness toward his own sweet-talking, dancefloor-ready solo material.
Yunel Cruz. A bachatero so smooth, he released his first hit single ("Dominicanita") three times, targeting three different groups of ladies. And each time is even sexier and more soulful than the last. Bonus? Dude can seriously sing.
Juan Magan. If you haven't heard (and fallen for) the unstoppable "Bailando por el Mundo" yet, we're gonna start to wonder if your roof is kind of rock-shaped. But there's plenty more to love on this Spanish DJ-turned-solo-artist's dancefloor-obsessed debut full-length.
Maluca. All right, this one's been out a couple years now, but thanks to smart supporting gigs (The Cataracs!) and ongoing buzz, we're pulling for this to be the year the self-professed crazy-bad girl and her global-bass-grounded, hipster-hop-friendly, downtown Dominicana electro-merengue flow breaks out. Come on, have you seen the fierce, boy-slaying, curler-rocking video for "El Tigeraso"?
Gaby Amarantos. And now for a totally different Best New Artist nominee. Amarantos is a velvet-voiced purveyor of slip-sliding, zippery, electrifying techno brega, the Brazilian guerilla electro-pop. We dare you not to dance.
Xenia Rubinos. Fans of tUnE-yArDs, Yma Sumac, Calle 13 and Plastilina Mosh, listen up. Because you're gonna want to hear Xenia's chopped-up punk-hop, cut 'n' paste vocals and general avant-weirdo charisma.
A Band of Bitches. Who are these masked men? No one knows for sure (though rumor has it they are beloved industry vets), but dang, do they rock some funky, chunky beats on their banda-fried electro-hop party jam of a lead single, "Noreste Caliente."
Monica Lionheart. Former Pacha Massive singer-turned-Latin indie's luminous new (solo) darling, Lionheart pairs sunny acoustic pop with crisp electro-beats, with results ranging from alt-country to trip-hop.
Beatriz Luengo. The Spanish chanteuse (and she does own that term) released her sunny, languid, occasionally dubby café-pop debut last year and dropped the beguiling deluxe version this fall. And it's still gonna charm the daylights out of you.
Michel Teló. Sure, you can sing "Ai Se Eu Te Pego" in your sleep by now, but have you explored the rest of the Brazilian sertanejo singer's homey, sing-along-able catalog? Get on it.
El Bebeto. The baby-faced cutie whose guest shot gave 3BallMTY's "Inténtalo" its pop charm, El Bebeto also has a pretty steady "day job" as the leader of a seriously up-and-coming banda. Get to know all his personalities.
Horacio Palencia. You first heard him crooning his (or maybe your) pants off on 3Ball's "Mala Mujer" (yes, even on a track with a title like that, he still exhibited plenty of pop-regional charm). But you're probably going to find Horacio the solo artist just as charming when drenched in banda horns and drama.
Tribal Factory Monterrey. Picking up the tribal baton from 3BallMTY, DJ-producer Cobra focuses on thick, juicy club cuts scooped up off a Monterrey dancefloor.
Mati Zundel. A bright star in the new Latin alt-electro universe and a strong representative of Argentina as a growing pocket of musical innovation, Zundel pairs crunchy folk melodies and traditional dance rhythms with distinctive beats for an electro-folklorico feel.
Los Mesoneros. Yet another Latin Grammy nominee for Best New Artist, this Venezuelan rock outfit has spent the year since its debut dropped earning accolades from critics for their steely yet lovable, Latin-edged post-punk.
Ana Victoria. Another nominee for the Best New Artist Latin Grammy, Victoria's album Av -- replete with dark beats, twisted guitars and her heartbreaking purr -- sounds like it was recorded from the corner of a dark, smoky club full of sexy, sexy misanthropes.
Gaby Moreno. You fell for her as Ricardo Arjona's burnt-sugar-voiced duet partner on "Fuiste Tú," but you're going to want to get to know Gaby, the solo artist. Her new album, Postales, a vintage-hued road trip through American (in all senses) music, is a charming display of this lady's fine-tuned songwriting craft and her captivating, whisper-in-your-ear voice.
Yva Las Vegass. Definitely the wild card of this list -- in so many, many ways -- Yva Las Vegass is a Venezuelan-born street singer who did time in Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic's band Sweet 75, and has since become a solo NPR darling (she did a Tiny Desk Concert earlier this year). Her exuberantly titled new album I Was Born in a Place of Sunshine and the Smell of Ripe Mangoes is a showcase of the wild-eyed singer's ability to juggle unhinged punk edge (songs include "Crack Whore" and "P*ssy in Your Eye") and warm intimacy (that voice!). Also? She has the best name in the biz.