Amazon Music Launches Amazon Music LAT!N Hub, Featuring Exclusive Music, Videos & More From Artists Like Natanael Cano

Natanael Cano has found a new connection

Amazon Music is putting a big focus on Latin music with the launch of “Amazon Music LAT!N,” featuring the 19-year-old Mexican singer in a new editorial video series, Género101,

Natanael Cano

The Latin music brand features a broad umbrella that includes over 100 new and revamped playlists, an emerging artist program, merchandise, video and multiple catalog programs among many other initiatives.

Using the tagline “La Musica que nos conecta” — a reference to the fact that Latinos come from many countries and cultures but are connected by music and language — the LAT!N hub, which includes music in Spanish and Portuguese, will live within Amazon at amazon.com/latinmusic.

It seeks to establish Amazon as a major player in Latin music streaming and content, as well as retail.

“The big differentiator [with other streaming services] is the ability to work cross functionally with the other Amazon verticals and services like Twitch and Prime Video,” explains Rocío Guerrero, who assumed the newly created position of global head of Latin music at Amazon in January.

“We can do things 360. It’s unparalleled and it will live within the Amazon.com ecosystem.”

Prior to Guerrero’s arrival, Amazon Music had been relatively perfunctory with its approach to Latin music, offering playlists and a big catalog but little else. Latin content was hardly ever marketed  The launch of LAT!N marks a major investment and commitment to the music.

“What they want is to expand with even more audiences and fans and engage them with Latin music,” Guerrero says. A major thrust is positioning Amazon as a destination that focuses not only on reggaetón and urban music, which dominate the major Latin playlists around the world, but on all genres of Latin music, aiming for Amazon’s “broader” — as Guerrero calls it — audience, including older listeners.

“For instance, genres like bachata, salsa and Regional Mexican are big in Amazon Music,” she says. “We have a spotlight now. And we can shine a light on all the genres of Latin music.”

Guerrero came to Amazon from Warner Music Latin, but previously spent years overseeing U.S. Latin content in Spotify. Since joining Amazon in late 2019 she has expanded the Latin music global team, hiring Ana Martinez as label relations and Cristina Martin to head marketing for Latin music global and retaining Amaya Mendizabal as senior music curator.

After planning for the first half of the year, the official LAT!N kickoff features an original, acoustic version of Maluma’s global hit “Hawái.” It will be followed by exclusive weekly releases of new renditions by Karol G, Christian Nodal and Romeo Santos during Hispanic Heritage Month, with more planned moving forward.

At the same time, a catalog program called “Raices” will kick off with a spotlight on Marc Anthony that includes a mini documentary shot in his home, and will highlight Latin catalog content on a monthly basis. Likewise, an emerging artist program, “Rompe,” which is similar to Amazon’s “Breakthrough” program in the U.K., will highlight a local emerging artist every month, beginning with Colombia’s Las Villa and Interscope artist Nobeat.

New content will go beyond music to include five new editorial video series, available in English and Spanish. The first, Género101, will highlight different sub-genres of Latin music, beginning with an episode on corridos tumbaos explained by Natanael Cano. An Alexa component is also in development that will allow listeners to ask their virtual assistant questions and get replies in different artists’ voices.

The core of LAT!N, of course, will continue to be playlists — now expanded to 100 — including Latin global hits playlist Platino (formerly titled Fuego Latino), new music playlist Hoy, and a Clásicos playlist that features classics for each genre. Says Guerrero: “We cannot commit to just one audience only.”

Selena Gomez to Receive Arts Award During This Year’s Hispanic Heritage Awards

Selena Gomez is being recognized for representin’…

The 28-year-old Mexican American singer will receive the Arts Award during the 33rd Hispanic Heritage Awards, which will air on October 6 on PBS stations and streamed on PBS.org.

Selena Gomez

At the same ceremony, Bad Bunny will receive the Vision Award, and actress Jessica Alba will receive the Business Award for her entrepreneurial and philanthropic activities.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, there won’t be a live ceremony. The PBS special will feature filmed performances from across the U.S. and Latin America.

The awards were created by the White House in 1987 and commemorate the establishment of Hispanic Heritage Month in the U.S.

Jose Antonio Tijerino, president and CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, said in a statement that he is “thrilled to recognize Selena Gomez with the Arts Award for her impact on American and global culture through her music [and] movies but also for her courage as an advocate for mental health.”

In April of this year, Gomez revealed that she has bipolar disorder. She has discussed her condition in several interviews.

In his statement, Tijerino praised Gomez’s courage in opening up about her mental health challenges.

“There’s power in vulnerability and Selena has made it okay to talk about difficult issues we all deal with, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Selena is a role model for so many for so many reasons.”

Gomez has been a pop star for more than a decade, first as the leader of Selena Gomez & the Scene, and since 2013 as a solo artist. All three of her solo studio albums, Stars Dance, Revival and Rare, have reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

In November 2019, Lose You to Love Me” became her first No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100.

La Santa Cecilia to Take Part in This Year’s Virtual Edition of LA’s “El Grito” Benefit Telethon

La Santa Cecilia are getting into the grito game…

Los Angeles’ El Grito has gone virtual for its 2020 edition amid the global coronavirus pandemic, but that won’t stop the Latin American band from taking part.

La Santa Cecilia

Traditionally held at the steps of City Hall, the first-ever virtual telethon will feature musical performances and highlight the many contributions that the Latino community has made to Los Angeles’ culture, history and economy.

In addition to Los Angeles-based La Santa Cecilia, this year’s diverse lineup will include the participation of Los Tucanes de Tijuana, Ozomatli, and El Conjunto Nueva Ola, to name a few.

Presented by the City of Los Angeles and Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, the benefit telethon will also provide relief to Angelenos affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and raise funds to support Comunidades Indígenas en Liderazgo (CIELO’s), Undocu-Indigenous Fund.

In addition, as unveiled in an official statement, “the City of Los Angeles will join the Consul General of Mexico in re-enacting the historic Cry of Dolores and ringing of the bell, which commemorates the call to arms pronounced by Miguel Hidalgo in 1810 which launched the Mexican War for Independence.”

Co-hosted by Telemundo 52 Los AngelesElva Saray and NBC4’s Belen de Leon, the El Grito livestream officially kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month, airing from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Tuesday, September 15 via El Grito’s official website.

Tin Tan Honored with Google Doodle

Tin Tan is the man on Google

The Mexican actor, singer and comedian was the official Google Doodle for September 19.

Tin Tan

Born Germán Valdés, he was known for wearing zoot suits and popularizing Mexican-American pachuco culture and caló Spanglish slang speech. Tin Tan was born in Mexico City on this date in 1915, and launched his career in Ciudad Juarez. It was there, working as a janitor in a radio station, that he adlibbed into the microphone in an empty studio, not knowing it was live. He was an instant success and was promoted to radio announcer.

Tin Tan’s movie career followed, with the comedic character he created becoming a classic of Mexican cinema. He appeared in more than 100 films, and also voiced characters including The Jungle BookBalooand Cat O’Malleyin the Aristocats for Spanish-language versions ofDisneyfeatures.

Tin Tan Google Doodle

Mysteriously, Tin Tan turned down the opportunity to appear on the cover of The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. He was immortalized with a statue of his likeness that stands in the Zona Rosaneighborhood of Mexico City. 

The Tin Tan doodle, on what would have been his 104th birthday, is part of Google’s Hispanic Heritage Monthcelebration series.

Kali Uchis Among the Artists Featured on Pandora’s New Latin Music Station “El Detour”

Kali Uchis is taking a special detour…

Pandorais adding a new Latin music station, El Detour, which aims to highlight the work of Latinx recording acts who don’t necessarily belong to a genre or have the exposure of mainstream artists, like the 25-year-old Colombian American singer/songwriter.

Kali Uchis

Uchis will appear alongside acts like Girl Ultra and The Marias, all known for their distinct and vibrant music styles, from R&B to psychedelic soul.

“We wanted to create a station that highlights the genres and artists that don’t necessarily fit in a box and defy genres, music that is outside of the mainstream created by Latinos both in Latin America and the U.S.,” Marcos Juarez, Pandora’s head of Latin music, tells Billboard. “We were very intentional in the way that we chose songs. We wanted to highlight Latin music in 2019 that is outside of the mainstream.”

The Pandora Latin team, including music programmer Leticia Ramirez who came up with the El Detour station name, oversees Pandora’s Latin offerings, including El Pulso’s urban music and RMX, a station dedicated to the regional Mexican genre. 

El Detour aims to show the diversity of Latin music in thoughtfully curated playlists that include everything from electro-pop to tropical fusion as the music streaming platform celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month


“It became clear to us that there were a ton of artists — and this has been true for ages — operating in the margins outside of mainstream commercial music,” Juarez said. “El Detour highlights some of these bigger artists who are huge right now such as Cuco, Kali Uchis and Bomba Estero, artists we have heard of and some are signed to major labels. But we also really wanted to highlight and celebrate a lot of those artists working to build audiences in their respective regions.”

Juarez revealed that Pandora is kicking off the El Detour marketing campaign with Cuco, Kali Uchis, Helado Negro and The Marias, adding that they represent a diverse cross section of distinct sounds.

“Something in English, something in Spanish, they are bicultural and they straddle both sides of Latin identity, American identity and they are emblematic of young Latinos of the U.S. consuming music from all over the place,” Juarez said. “We see this reflected in festival culture such as Viva Pomona[in Southern California] or Tropicalia, which is coming later in the year.”

Juarez also pointed out some of Pandora’s offerings of Latin classics, nostalgic music from around the world, such as Mexico, Puerto Rico and Colombia. It’s a way of “creating relatable listening music experiences in whatever genre or mood you are in,” he adds. 

“Pandora has always been adept at fostering discovery,” Juarez said. “With this project we are looking to accelerate that process of discovery and put music in front of people that otherwise may not be aware of. Latin music continues to thrive and I think we have had success in being reflective of Latino culture and being representative of the diversity of it all.”

Briarcliff Entertainment Acquires US Rights to Raúl Castillo’s Latino Superhero Film “El Chicano”

El Chicano will be sweeping into theaters next year…

Briarcliff Entertainment has acquired U.S. rights to the Latino superhero film with an all-Hispanic cast, including star Raúl Castillo.

El Chicano

The action film tells the story of twin brothers Diego and Pedro (both played by Castillo), who grew up together on the streets of East Los Angeles. As adults, their lives took radically different paths as Diego became a celebrated detective for the LAPD, and Pedro turned to a dead-end life of crime. When clues start connecting Pedro’s death to a case Diego is working on, a mythological figure from his youth, The Ghetto Grim Reaper, draws Diego in deeper than he ever expected. He becomes that figure, a Hispanic version of Batman or Black Panther.

The film also stars George Lopez, Aimee Garcia, Emilio Rivera, Kate del Castillo, Mr. Criminal, Noel G. Marco Rodriguez, Marlene Forte, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Sal Lopez, David Castañeda and Armida Lopez.

El Chicano marks the feature film directorial debut of 25-year veteran stuntman Ben Hernandez Bray, who co-wrote the script with Joe Carnahan.

Carnahan was frustrated waiting for Bad Boys 3 to come together, he succumbed to Bray’s rationale and bailed on one franchise in hopes of starting another.

“I was frustrated with Bad Boys 3, and Ben had been talking about this for a decade,” Carnahan said. “He would tell me that 25% of movie tickets are purchased by Latinos, and so where are their big heroes? We wrote this on spec, and these white oil and gas guys from Canada gave us the money to make it at an under $8 million budget. It got an amazing response at the L.A. Film Festival. We believe in this, and that it can find a big audience and launch a franchise.”

Said Bray: “Just the fact that we’re making this announcement during Hispanic Heritage Month, which celebrates the vital and important presence of Hispanics and Latinos in North America, is wonderful to me. The time is now for a film like El Chicano. A Latino superhero franchise is long overdue, but to have the forces of Joe Carnahan, Frank Grillo, Tom Ortenberg and Lorenzo di Bonaventurain the mix just makes it even sweeter and well worth the wait!”

The film will be released theatrically on March 22, 2019, with a reported target of 600-800 screens.

Gilberto Santa Rosa Celebrating His Long Career in Music with HBO Latino Special “40…Y Contando”

Gilberto Santa Rosa is celebrating his long musical career with a bang…

The 56-year-old Puerto Rican singer, known as “El Caballero de la Salsa,” has partnered with HBO Latino to celebrate 40 years in music with the premiere of his special 40…Y Contando, chronicling the last concert he performed in Puerto Rico.

Gilberto Santa Rosa 

Gilberto Santa Rosa: 40… Y Contando will premiere on Friday, September 15 at 8:00 pm ET across all the channel’s platforms, including HBO GO, HBO NOW and free On Demand channels.

“I’m extremely honored with this invitation,” Santa Rosa tells Billboard. “When I started my career it was in an orchestra, I spent 10 years with them and the other 30 years as soloist.”

During all these years, he says has not finished learning, but the most thing he has enjoyed is having collaborated with many of his idols.

The concert, taped live at the Coliseo José Miguel Agrelot in San Juan, Puerto Rico, a few months after Hurricane Maria, will feature many of his greatest hits, like “Conciencia,” “Que Alguien Me Diga” and “Déjate Querer,” as well as many musical guests, including Luis EnriqueVictor Manuelle, Vico C, Tito Nieves and Pirulo Y La Tribu, among others.

In addition to the concert, HBO Latino will also air a 15-minute special during which Santa Rosa shares the greatest moments of his career from the biggest salsa landmark in New York City, the Copacabana.

Gilberto Santa Rosa’s HBO Latino special will also celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, which starts Friday. “The best thing about being Latino is that we have the ability to connect with various cultures and interpret art more easily,” said Santa Rosa.

Daddy Yankee Named Music Choice’s Most Demanded Latin Artist

Daddy Yankee is the No. 1 (music) choice in Latin Music…

The 40-year-old Puerto Rican singer-rapper has received a special award for being the Most Demanded Latin Artist on Music Choice on-demand.

Daddy Yankee

While celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, the music video network also recognized Yankee’s humanitarian relief efforts in Puerto Rico and Mexico.

To help his native country, the “big boss” traveled to the island and partnered with the organization Feeding America to provide food and water to towns that are extremely destroyed by Hurricane Maria.

At the moment of knowing the news, Yankee was speechless, but then he thanked Music Choice for the recognition and said “This is a great accomplishment.”

Gustavo Dudamel Promotes Musical Dreams in Hispanic Heritage Month Video

Gustavo Dudamel is inspiring children to embrace the music in their hearts… 

The 36-year-old celebrated Venezuelan conductor and violinist joined the animated characters of Disney Jr.’s Latina princess series Elena of Avalor for a new Hispanic Heritage Month spot aimed at encouraging children’s musical dreams.

Gustavo Dudamel

“Music is my life,” the L.A. Philharmonic music director tells kids in the promo, which started airing on Friday in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. “The most important thing is that I have a chance to share with people.”

When asked by a young musician how he became a conductor, the orchestra leader said he would play pretend that he was a conductor when he was growing up, arranging his toy soldiers like orchestra musicians. “I was 11 years old and the conductor was late, and I went to the podium and I started to conduct,” Dudamel recalled, making it sound easy — yet, hopefully inspiring other aspiring conductors to take the podium themselves.

J Balvin & Buchanan Launch Special “Es Nuestro Momento” Remix Contest

Here’s your chance to join voices with J Balvin

The 31-year-old Colombian urban singer-songwriter is giving fans the opportunity to have a moment together.

J Balvin

J Balvin and the Whisky brand Buchanan‘s have officially launched the “Es Nuestro Momento” remix contest, which allows fans to collaborate with the singer on the campaign’s official song featuring his vocals.

Balvin’s acapella vocals of the unreleased “Es Nuestro Momento” track will be made available for participants 21 and older, to download and integrate into their own song, and upload the final version to SoundCloud by March 20.

J Balvin will choose his favorite and announce the winning track on April 19 via social media. The winner will win a trip to the 2017 Latin Billboard Music Awards in Miami and have a chance to meet the singer.

For more information on the contest, click here.

Last year, J Balvin and Buchanan joined forces for the “Es Nuestro Momento campaign in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

“I feel a great connection with this campaign, because truly, it is our moment to be proud of our cultures and celebrate the leaders that we are of a new generation,” Balvin previously said about the partnership.