Christina Aguilera Releases Spanish-Language EP “La Fuerza”

Christina Aguilera is proving she’s a fuerza to be reckoned with…

The 41-year-old half-Ecuadorian American Grammy-winning singer is revisiting her Latin roots with this week’s release of La Fuerza, her first Spanish album in more than two decades.

Christina AguileraAguilera’s EP includes the singles “Pa’ Mis Muchachas,” a collaboration with Becky G, Nicki Nicole and Nathy Peluso; and a classic ballad, “Somos nada,” which she sang for the first time on stage last November during the Latin Grammys.

Her return to Latin market was imminent in her career, she told CNN en Español‘s Zona Pop at a press conference.

Mi Reflejo” had been such a beautiful, special time in my life, but it was 20- plus years ago when I was coming on the scene. I was so green to the business. I was baby Christina,” she said. “20 years later, I’m a grown woman who had such an incredible career. Now I get to come back having reflected on that.”

Aguilera also said as a mother now, she relishes the chance to share her Spanish music with her kids because it’s “a big part of them and who they are.”

“And so, they can see mommy do her thing in Spanish, they can hear it and feel it from a musical level,” Aguilera said.

La Fuerza is just the first of three releases she hopes to make in 2022.

Aguilera said she will address her relationship with her father in one releasing later in the year.

“I have a little bit of an estranged relationship with my father. I’ve spoken openly about it in the past,” she said. “I do address my father, and it’s the first time I … am coming from a place where I’m making peace with certain parts of my past.”

On a “deeper level,” she added, “this album means a great deal to me just because I’ve been able to embrace so many things about who I am and where I am now.”

Two of the songs from “La Fuerza” are collaborations, something common in Latin music.

“Latin music is such a community-based, beautiful environment, and there’s so much love there that I wanted to make it a unified experience,” Aguilera told CNN en Español.

“It’s more important to me now that I do things with artists who I not only admire, but I know I’m doing it because I love and want the experience. The experience outweighs any other thing to me. And at this point in my life and career, it’s important for me to do things that I love to do and not for any other reason,” the singer said.

In her first single, “Pa’ Mis Muchachas,” Aguilera surrounded herself with feminine powerhouses.

“I have so much admiration for other strong women and women who speak their truth,” she said.

Nicki Nicole, Aguilera said, “reminds me a lot of me coming up — so fresh and new in the business when I did my first Spanish album.” Nathy Peluso, meanwhile, is “so incredible on stage” and “a natural mover and performer.”

“I get mesmerized when I watch her,” she said. “And then you have Becky G, who represents such a strong, polished, smart little businesswoman. I love having conversations with her.”

Working on this song, the singer recalled her experience making 2001’s “Lady Marmalade,” in which Aguilera joined forces with singers Mýa, Lil’ Kim, and Pink.

“I loved doing ‘Lady Marmalade’ back in the day,” Aguilera said, “and every different woman representing who they are as strong women.”

A theme of empowerment that seems to have no language barriers.

Jesse & Joy Release New Power Ballad “Respirar”

Jesse & Joy can breathe easier…

The Mexican Latin Grammy-winning pop duo, comprised of siblings Jesse Huerta and Joy Huerta, have released their latest single “Respirar” via Warner Music Latina.

Jesse & JoyJesse & Joy’s powerful ballad that is part of what will be the duo’s forthcoming album.

A story of love, forgiveness, and resilience is delivered by Joy’s sweet vocals and Jesse’s stellar production (guided by Federico Vindver).

The piano melodies alongside the lyrics take listeners through a relationship’s ups and downs, and the ultimate decision to let go.

“I want to stop fighting, get out of this darkness, and remedy what we did, what we told each other, to breathe again,” Joy sings emotionally.

Mon Laferte Delivers Impassioned Tiny Desk (Home) Concert for NPR

It’s a nice day for a white wedding-like performance for Mon Laferte

In a church-like setting surrounded by white candles for a divine ambiance, the 38-year-old Chilean singer, songwriter and musician delivered a spiritual Tiny Desk (Home) Concert for NPR this week.

Mon LaferteAn impassioned Laferte sang some of her most well-known songs, including “Tu Falta de Querer,” “Por Qué Me Fui A Enamorar de Ti,” “Se Me Va a Quemar el Corazón” and “Placer Hollywood.”

Accompanied by a 10-piece orchestra, with instruments ranging from a jarana, an oboe, a tuba and violins, Laferte recorded her Tiny Desk Concert from Tepoztlán, Mexico, where she currently lives.

Dressed in all white from head to toe with red roses adorning her hair, Laferte’s baby bump was also in full display.

This isn’t the first time Laferte has appeared in a Tiny Desk Concert.

Back in 2018, she made her debut in the Juanes and Mon Laferte Tiny Desk Concert, where together they performed “Amárrame” and “Fotografía.”

“It’s a pregnancy I looked for,” Laferte told Billboard during a red carpet interview at the Latin Grammys in November.

“While I was in the process of getting pregnant, I began writing songs and it’s completely different. I was very hopeful but at the same time anxious and fearful and all of that was captured in my new album (SEIS). It’s so different to create from this new place.”

Laferte’s SEIS, her first regional Mexican album that’s home to “Se Me Va a Quemar el Corazón,” is up for best regional Mexican album at the Grammys.

At the Latin Grammys, the 14-track set won best singer-songwriter album.

“The entire writing process [for the album] was very solitary, bleak and melancholic, because I was like everyone else, just filled with uncertainty about what was going to happen,” she previously told Billboard. “So I clung onto my music and my guitar because I thought, if the world ends, I at least want people to know how I was feeling. I wanted to sing about personal experiences, past and future loves, the love I have for my mom and other women.”

Calacote Signs Exclusive, Global Publishing Deal with Universal Music Publishing Group

Calacote is going universal

The 22-year-old Dominican urban Latin artist, whose real name is Luca Newton, has signed an exclusive, global publishing agreement with Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG).

CalacoteThe ambitious singer-songwriter, who was born in North Carolina and is of Dominican and French descent, hopes to revolutionize the Dembow movement with his Caribeño and European roots, and trilingual lyrics.

Through his new deal, Calacote will be given the opportunity to collaborate with many of UMPG’s composers in English, Spanish, and French.

“Calacote represents a new sound within the Latin urban community,” Alexandra Lioutikoff, president of US Latin and Latin America at UMPG, said in a statement. “UMPG is thrilled to sign a multilingual talent like him with truly global potential as both a songwriter and an artist.”

Ana Rosa Santiago, vice president of Latin Music at UMPG, added that the newcomer is “energetic, versatile and a fresh new prospect in Latin Music.”

Calacote, who unearthed his talent and passion for composing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, moved from Canada to Miami for a shot in the music industry.

He was discovered by the award-winning Latin hitmaker Maffio, and later signed to his label Alkatraks Music Group in 2021. The artist’s proposal is a “unique and unheard of” musical mixture full of witty hooks and experimental fusions with Dominican dembow always at the forefront.

“I’m thrilled to be working with the amazing team at UMPG,” Calacote noted. “This marks an exciting chapter in my career, and I am excited to have the opportunity to collaborate creatively with UMPG’s writers in the U.S. and abroad as well to develop commercially with Alexandra’s and Ana Rosa’s input. I know we will achieve great things together.”

“Alexandra and Ana Rosa understand our vision and we are excited to be collaborating with them and the entire UMPG global team on the development of Calacote’s career,” said Maffio.

On Jan. 14, Calacote will release his third single “Intercambio” in collaboration with Venezuelan rapper and Latin Grammy nominee Akapellah. The single follows his debut track “Azafata” and his Kiko el Crazy-assisted “Bruja.”

His debut album is slated to be released in the second quarter of 2022.

Anitta Signs Global Deal With Sony Music Publishing

Anitta is going global…

The 28-year-old Brazilian singer, whose full name is Larissa de Macedo Machado, has inked a worldwide deal with Sony Music Publishing after a breakthrough year on the Billboard charts.

Anitta

Sony Music Publishing, the current leading publisher for the Top Radio Airplay and the Billboard Hot 100 charts, has announced the signing of pop sensation Anitta.

Known across the world for her fusion of latin, radio pop, and Brazilian bale funk, Anitta’s new agreement will see her represented by the publisher across all territories.\

The new deal arrives after a breakthrough year in the U.S. market for the singer, whose songs “Girl From Rio,” featuring DaBaby, and “Faking Love,” featuring Saweetie, both cracked the top 40 on Billboard’s Pop Airplay chart in 2021.

In her native Brazil, Anitta reigns as the nation’s highest streamed artist, and she made history this year as the country’s first musical export to perform at the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs).

 

She is also a six-time Latin Grammy nominee and nine time MTV EMA winner.

Camilo Releases New Punk-Pop Single “Pesadilla”

Camilo is punkin’ things up…

The 27-year-old Colombian Latin Grammy-winning singer-songwriter has gone punk-pop on his new single titled “Pesadilla,” which was released on Tuesday alongside a quirky music video.

CamiloThe track — which features an earworm hook (“Bye bye bye bye”) — follows Camilo’s “Indigo,” a collaboration with his wife Evaluna Montaner, which they dropped back in October.

The Café Tacvba-esque track, penned by Camilo and longtime collaborator Edgar Barrera, takes inspiration from Camilo’s love for Mexican-music influences, which have always played an integral role in his sonority.

In “Pesadilla,” Camilo sings about the nightmare of losing one’s partner to a rival. “But not even in my dreams you’ll take her away from me,” he declares in song.

About the music video, directed by Evaluna, who’s expecting the couple’s first baby, Camilo said: “Evaluna and I felt like it couldn’t be a literal portrayal, or aesthetically coherent with everyday occurrences. It needed to be a dreamlike video that highlights our colors as well as Mexico’s, both of which always inspire us.”

Camilo spoke to Billboard during the 2021 Latin Grammys in November, where he won four awards, about his inspiration and how it shapes his identity. “Inspiration is not something you can reach. I think it’s something divine and a gift you receive from above. That’s when one finds their identity,” he said.

Camilo’s Mis Manos, which won the Latin Grammy for best pop vocal album, is now up for best Latin pop album at the 2022 Grammy Awards.

Thiaguinho Signs New Record Deal with Virgin Music

It’s a big deal for Thiaguinho

The 38-year-old Brazilian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has signed a record deal with Virgin Music, according to Billboard.

Thiaguinho

In hopes of catapulting Thiaguinho to mainstream success, the signing — which took place in Miami — comes on the heels of a “new cycle on Thiaguinho’s career, envisioning his international career such as the development of his new projects,” according to a statement from the company own by Universal Music Group.

“It’s with a great pleasure for me to join forces with Virgin to take my art and the culture of our country to new places and even more people. I’m very grateful and I’m excited for the start of this work,” Thiaguinho said in a statement.

Miguel Cariello, general director of Virgin Music Brasil, added: “I’m happy for having another dreaming coming true. Thiaginho, just like Virgin is synonyms with boldness and joy. We’ll use these attributes that we have in common to fly even higher, to further strengthen the career of this great artist in Brazil and seek to break through the borders across the world.”

With more than three million listeners on Spotify and over two million YouTube subscribers, the Latin Grammy-nominated artist is an exponent of traditional Brazilian genres such as samba and pagode, which he fuses with pop and R&B.

“Thiaguinho has been part of the Brazilian music scene from a young age, becoming one of the most successful artists of the Pagode and Samba genres,” stated Jesús López, chairman/CEO Universal Music Latin America & Iberian Peninsula. “His determination to extend his success outside of Brazil and that he has chosen Virgin Music as his travel companion, gives us great joy and also responsibility.”

Beatriz Luengo, Yotuel Romero & Exile Content Studio to Create Documentary Based on Latin Grammy-Winning Cuban Revolution Single “Patria y Vida”

Beatriz Luengo is shining a greater look at her Latin Grammy-winning hit…

The 38-year-old Spanish singer-songwriter’s “Patria y Vida,” the liberty anthem that fueled a new Cuban revolution in the summer, will now become a full-length documentary.

Beatriz Luengo, Patria y Vida, Cuban Revolution, Yotuel Romero, Exile Content Studio, Patria o Muerte, Latin Grammy Awards, Latin Grammys, Orishas, Alexander Delgado, Randy Malcom, Gente de Zona, Descemer Bueno, Maykel Osorbo, El Funky, Chancleta Records

Presented by Exile Content Studio in partnership with singer-songwriters Luengo and Yotuel Romero, the documentary “will explore how the song—its title a repudiation of the 1950’s Cuban Revolution’s slogan ‘Patria o Muerte’—sparked a movement, which the Cuban government has tried to suppress, and investigate how music has been a catalyst for social change throughout modern history,” reads a statement.

“When we see the impact our song has had on the people of Cuba and around the world, we feel privileged to be able to use our platform to tell the story of Cuba and give a voice to a community that is often oppressed,” said Luengo and Romero.

“We’re hopeful we’ll see change in the future and we’re excited to collaborate with Exile to continue to raise awareness and fight for the people of Cuba; to continue to use our voice in a meaningful way.”

The news comes on the heels of “Patria y Vida” winning best urban song and the coveted song of the year at the 2021 Latin Grammy Awards on November 18.

The song was originally penned by Romero (formerly of hip-hop group Orishas), Luengo, Alexander Delgado and Randy Malcom (of Gente de Zona), and Descemer Bueno, and features Cuban voices from within the island, Maykel Osorbo and rapper El Funky.

“I felt we needed to show the two realities: those of us who live outside Cuba, and those who are still on the island, who live the streets there,” Romero previously told Billboard.

The track, released independently on Romero’s Chancleta Records in February, has become the anthem of anti-government protests in Cuba. Its power of mobilization was a factor in the arrests of both El Funky and Osorbo; the latter has been behind bars in Cuba since May when he famously fled from Cuban police aided by demonstrators. Osorbo is the first Cuban political prisoner to win two Latin Grammys.

“We at Exile believe in creating content to inspire Latin Americans to take action to create social change in the world,” said Daniel Eilemberg, president of content at Exile. “We are especially excited at the opportunity to join forces with Bea and Yotuel to produce a documentary about the tremendous power of their song in galvanizing activism to protest the appalling conditions and restrictive political policies in Cuba and the government responsible for them.”

Karol G to Make Acting Debut on Netflix Series

Karol G is ready to make her acting debut…

The 30-year-old Colombian reggaeton singer will be starring soon in a Netflix series, she revealed a day after winning a Latin Grammy for best reggaeton performance for “Bichota.”

Karol G

“I have a lot of things that I want to do in my life,” she told Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show. “I want to push myself as a woman and see how far I can go in everything.”

During the interview, Karol G teased her forthcoming onscreen venture.

“I’m going to act,” she spilled. “I have a surprise for my people in January. I’m going to start shooting a series for Netflix. It’s not about my life. I’m acting. I have a character, so I’m preparing myself for that.”

She’s already hired an acting coach and enrolled in business classes because she thinks of herself as not just an artist, but a brand. 

“Artists aren’t really idols anymore,” she previously said to Billboard for its Latin issue in September. “Now it’s all about moments. If your song is a hit, they’ll talk about you, but because the industry is so saturated, they’ll forget about you when a new artist comes along. Selena died more than 20 years ago, but her albums are still charting, she’s still getting awards. That’s a legacy. My goal now is to create a product that will connect with many people and for people to remember me.”

Karol’s new Latin Grammy for best reggaeton performance is her second award from the Latin Recording Academy, after taking home best new artist in 2018.

Camilo: The Top Winner at Latin Grammys with Four Awards

Camilo is capping off a banner year with a bang…

The 27-year-old Colombian singer/songwriter and rising star, who has defied the commercial might of reggaetón and trap with his unique brand of romantic acoustic pop, was the big winner at the 2021 Latin Grammy Awards.

Camilo
Camilo claimed four trophies, including best pop vocal album, for Mis Manos.

“This album is a celebration of my country, one of the places with the most biodiversity in the world, and that’s where I’m from and what informs my music,” said Camilo, who’d previously won a Latin Grammy in 2020 for Best Pop Song for his single “Tutu,” featuring Pedro Capo.

Following Camilo in number of wins, with three each, was Mexican songwriter and producer Edgar Barrera, who won producer of the year, including for his work on Camilo’s Mis Manos, and co-wrote the winning single “Vida de Rico.”

Also taking home three trophies was Spaniard C. Tangana, whose wins included best alternative song for “Nominao” alongside Jorge Drexler and best pop/rock song for “Hong Kong” alongside Andrés Calamaro, both from his critically acclaimed album El Madrileño.

And the emotional high note, at every level, was the song of the year win, to Cuban liberty anthem “Patria y Vida,” performed by Gente de Zona, Descemer Bueno, Yotuel Romero and newly arrived Cuban rapper El Funky, who performed dressed in white and surrounded by candles in an emotional rendition that got the audience at the MGM Grand Garden Arena to their feet.

“This is dedicated to all mothers who fight for their children,” said an emotional Romero to chants of “Patria y Vida,” which also won best urban song. Backstage, the group acknowledged co-writer Beatriz Luengo (who is married to Romero) and rapper Maykel Osorbo, who is jailed in Cuba because of his participation in the song.

“Maykel is the first Cuban political prisoner who wins two Latin Grammys,” said an emotional Bueno.

Among the veteran, but beloved, guard, the top winner was Juan Luis Guerra, with three wins. They include best long form music video for his HBO Max special Entre Mar y Palmeras, produced by Guerra’s manager Amarilys German, his son Jean Guerra, and Nelson Albareda and Edgar Martínez of event promotion and marketing firm Loud and Live.

Likewise, Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year Ruben Blades won two awards, including album of the year, for his Salswing! out on his own label. And Caetano Veloso and son Tom Veloso won record of the year for “Talvez,” while the biggest surprise of the night, in an award category that — with 10 nominees — has become increasingly hard to predict, was Colombia’s Juliana Velásquez as best new artist, which she won over far better known contenders, including Paloma Mami, Bizarrap and María Becerra.

The 23-year-old actress and singer released her self-titled debut album earlier this year with collabs alongside compatriot Juan Pablo Vega, but with little impact abroad. And yet, it clearly struck a chord with its themes of self-help, mental health and self awareness.

“I think what worked in my favor was making music that spoke directly to young people,” said Velásquez in the press room. “I think us artists have an obligation to share messages that contribute to society and to help with those issues that get lost in the a society imbued with immediacy.”

Here’s a look at this year’s Latin Grammy winners:

Record of the Year: “Talvez,” Caetano Veloso and Tom Veloso
Album of the Year: Salswing!, Rubén Blades y Roberto Delgado & Orquesta
Song of the Year: “Patria y Vida,” Descemer Bueno, El Funky, Gente De Zona, Yadam González, Beatriz Luengo, Maykel Osorbo and Yotuel, songwriters (Yotuel, Gente De Zona, Descemer Bueno, Maykel Osorbo, El Funky)
Best New Artist: Juliana Velásquez
Best Pop Vocal Album: Mis Manos, Camilo
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: Privé, Juan Luis Guerra
Best Pop Song: “Vida De Rico,” Édgar Barrera and Camilo, songwriters (Camilo)
Best Urban Fusion/Performance: “Tattoo (Remix),” Rauw Alejandro and Camilo
Best Reggaeton Performance: “Bichota,” Karol G
Best Urban Music Album: El Último Tour Del Mundo, Bad Bunny
Best Rap/Hip Hop Song: “Booker T,” Bad Bunny and Marco Daniel Borrero, songwriters (Bad Bunny)
Best Urban Song: “Patria Y Vida,” Descemer Bueno, El Funky, Gente De Zona, Yadam González, Beatriz Luengo, Maykel Osorbo and Yotuel, songwriters (Yotuel, Gente De Zona, Descemer Bueno, Maykel Osorbo and El Funky)
Best Rock Album: El Pozo Brillante, Vicentico
Best Rock Song: “Ahora 1,” Vicentico, songwriter (Vicentico)
Best Pop/Rock Album: Origen, Juanes
Best Pop/Rock Song: “Hong Kong,” Alizzz, Andrés Calamaro, Jorge Drexler, Víctor Martínez and C. Tangana, songwriters (C. Tangana and Andrés Calamaro)
Best Alternative Music Album: Calambre, Nathy Peluso
Best Alternative Song: “Nominao,” Alizzz, Jorge Drexler and C. Tangana, songwriters (C. Tangana and Jorge Drexler)
Best Salsa Album: Salsa Plus!, Rubén Blades y Roberto Delgado and Orquesta
Best Cumbia/Vallento Album: Las Locuras Mías, Silvestre Dangond
Best Merengue/Bachata Album: Es Merengue ¿Algún Problema?, Sergio Vargas
Best Traditional Tropical Album: Cha Cha Chá: Homenaje A Lo Tradicional, Alain Pérez, Issac Delgado y Orquesta Aragón
Best Contemporary Tropical Album: Brazil305, Gloria Estefan
Best Tropical Song: “Dios Así Lo Quiso,” Camilo, David Julca, Jonathan Julca, Yasmil Marrufo and Ricardo Montaner, songwriters (Ricardo Montaner and Juan Luis Guerra)
Best Singer-Songwriter Album: Seis, Mon Laferte
Best Ranchero/Mariachi Album: A Mis 80’s, Vicente Fernández
Best Banda Album: Nos Divertimos Logrando Lo Imposible, Grupo Firme
Best Tejano Album: Pa’ la Pista y Pa’l Pisto, Vol. 2, El Plan
Best Norteño Album: Al Estilo Rancherón, Los Dos Carnales & Volando Alto, Palomo
Best Regional Song: “Aquí Abajo,” Edgar Barrera, René Humberto Lau Ibarra and Christian Nodal, songwriters (Christian Nodal)
Best Instrumental Album: Toquinho e Yamandu Costa – Bachianinha – (Live at Rio Montreux Jazz Festival), Toquinho and Yamandu Costa
Best Folk Album: Ancestras, Petrona Martinez
Best Tango Album: Tinto Tango Plays Piazzolla, Tinto Tango
Best Flamenco Album: Un Nuevo Universo, Pepe De Lucía
Best Latin Jazz/Jazz Album: Voyager, Iván Melon Lewis
Best Christian Album (Spanish Language): Ya Me Vi, Aroddy
Best Portuguese Language Christian Album: Seguir Teu Coração, Anderson Freire
Best Portuguese Language Contemporary Pop Album: Cor, Anavitória
Best Portuguese Language Rock or Alternative Album: “Álbum Rosa,” A Cor Do Som
Best Samba/Pagode Album: Sempre Se Pode Sonhar, Paulinho Da Viola
Best MPB (Musica Popular Brasileira) Album: Canções d’Além Mar, Zeca Baleiro
Best Sertaneja Music Album: Tempo de Romance, Chitãozinho e Xororó
Best Portuguese Language Roots Album: Arraiá Da Veveta, Ivete Sangalo
Best Portuguese Language Song: “Lisboa,” Ana Caetano & Paulo Novaes, songwriters (Anavitória e Lenine)
Best Latin Children’s Album: Tu Rockcito Filarmónico, Tu Rockcito y Orquesta Filarmónica De Medellín
Best Classical Album: Latin American Classics, Kristhyan Benitez; Jon Feidner, album producer
Best Classical Contemporary Composition: “Music From Cuba And Spain, Sierra: Sonata Para Guitarra,” Roberto Sierra, composer (Manuel Barrueco)
Best Arrangement: “Ojalá Que Llueva Café (Versión Privé),” Juan Luis Guerra, arranger (Juan Luis Guerra)
Best Recording Package: “Colegas,” Ana Gonzalez, art director (Gilberto Santa Rosa)
Best Engineered Album: El Madrileño, Orlando Aispuro Meneses, Daniel Alanís, Alizzz, Rafa Arcaute, Josdán Luis Cohimbra Acosta, Miguel De La Vega, Máximo Espinosa Rosell, Alex Ferrer, Luis Garcié, Billy Garedella, Patrick Liotard, Ed Maverick, Beto Mendonça, Jaime Navarro, Alberto Pérez, Nathan Phillips, Harto Rodríguez, Jason Staniulis and Federico Vindver, engineers; Delbert Bowers, Alex Ferrer, Jaycen Joshua, Nineteen85, Lewis Pickett, Alex Psaroudakis and Raül Refree, mixers; Chris Athens, mastering engineer (C. Tangana) — WINNER
Producer of the Year: Edgar Barrera
Best Short Form Music Video: “Un Amor Eterno,” Marc Anthony
Best Long Form Music Video: “Entre Mar Y Palmeras,” Juan Luis Guerra