Just two years after the lilting mega-hit “Despacito” captivated the globe, Latin stars are cementing their place in the US mainstream, moving beyond scoring a one-off smash to headline festivals and permeate the charts.
An unprecedented number of Spanish-language acts are performing at this year’s Coachella festival, where a second weekend of shows began Friday—a sure-fire sign of their mounting influence in a country where 41 million people claim Spanish as their mother tongue.
They are not just guests of top-billed acts or appearing on lesser stages—stars like reggaeton revolutionary J Balvin and Puerto Rican trap artist Bad Bunny are winning key time slots on their own.
And they are singing in Spanish, eschewing the “crossover” label often slapped on their A-list predecessors like Ricky Martin, Shakira, and Gloria Estefan.
Bad Bunny, the 25-year-old face of Latin trap, a genre that fuses reggaeton with elements of hip hop from the US south, lit up Coachella’s top stage during week one.
“I’m very proud of what I represent, of the Latino community that has come far speaking the language they speak,” he said in Spanish to the throng gathered to see him.
Colombia’s J Balvin brought his unique version of reggaeton -- a massively popular Puerto Rican-born amalgam of Caribbean beats and hip-hop influences -- to the California festival’s main stage, the genre’s first-ever full showcase there.
“It took 15 years for reggaeton to get to Coachella. We are here!” the boundary-pusher shouted to launch his history-making performance, as the crowd vibed and waved flags repping countries from throughout Latin America.
In another landmark moment, the 33-year-old Balvin will be headline Chicago’s Lollapalooza festival in August, becoming the first Spanish-language act to nab one of the coveted spots.
Meanwhile, many experts attribute the US Latin music industry’s rapid growth to a parallel streaming explosion. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Latin music saw its second consecutive year of double-digit growth stateside in 2018, jumping 18 percent from the year prior to rake in $413 million.
Paid subscription platforms like Spotify’s premium service meanwhile saw nearly 50 percent growth in revenues.
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by manilastandard.net readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of manilastandard.net. While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.