Photo: John Shearer/AP
The Latin artists with success in Spanish in the United States go beyond an exotic affair. The history of their famous songs in this country dates back to the late 1950s. Back then Richie Valens popularized “La Bamba”, a Mexican folk song that became a rock and roll hit. Not to mention the birth of what we now know as “salsa”. Incredible as it may seem, New York was the city that would make this rhythm universal. And all this happen with the creation of the Fania All-Stars label. Nor do we leave behind the impact that a young American of Mexican parents had on the Woodstock festival. In August 1969, the world would witness the magic of Carlos Santana.
In the 1980s, Puerto Rican pre-teens caused great success in all Spanish-speaking countries. But they also left a deep impression on the Latino and English-speaking community. They were Menudo, one of the first Latin boy bands. Thus began the path of successful Latin artists in Spanish.
But there was a decisive turning point for Spanish-speaking artists in the USA. At the end of the 1990s, Ricky Martin set a precedent with songs in Spanish. So much so that today, the success of Hispanic artists singing in Spanish is due to the legacy of the former Menudo. Not to mention the contribution of Colombians Shakira and Juanes. This mix of Hispanic rhythms with what is now known as “urban music” is here to stay. And the most striking thing: they don’t need to make songs only in English to make an impact in the USA. So let’s see how Latin artists with success in Spanish continue to make their mark.
The 21st century belongs to successful Spanish-language Latin artists
As we have said in previous articles, Hispanic influence in the USA is growing every day. That is, they are relevant in the world of business and entertainment. And bilingualism is becoming more and more valuable. But, although this is not exclusive to the current century, it is in this era that they are most striking. So, let’s see how in moments of social awareness Latino artists with success in Spanish make an impact.
For example, look at what has happened since the arrival of reggaeton. In other words, the careers of artists like Daddy Yankee, Don Omar, Bad Bunny, J. Balvin, and Maluma attest to this. Because they went from being artists to spokespersons for Latinos in many causes. And all in their mother tongue. How media have approached the influence of Latin artists with success in Spanish? Let’s see.
This is how they see the phenomenon of Latin artists with success in Spanish
One of the cases that caught the attention of some US media was the last version of the Grammy Awards. In particular, the moment when Juanes and Romeo Santos performed. About Juanes’ performance, NBC News published:
“The remarkable performance in Spanish highlighted a fascinating evolution in the Latin music industry: aiming for mainstream success by singing only in Spanish.”
And states that if Latino artists manage to captivate the U.S. market in their language, it would be historic. And what is already at stake is something that will change their musical habits. The article, “Can Spanish-only Music Stars Achieve Crossover Success?”, adds:
“Many music lovers are looking for sounds that go beyond today’s top 40 pop. Listening to music in another language can also allow us to look at the world. Also, alter our everyday perspectives and redefine our musical tastes. That’s to say, to reflect more of America’s melting pot of cultures. This may not happen by the design of Juanes and Santos. But it allows us to open our minds to something new. In short, to embrace novel sounds that broaden our intellectual and cultural periphery.”
And to continue with successful Latin artists in Spanish, let’s see what it means for Camilo to reach the U.S. market. In other words, how does it feel to impact the American public with his songs in Spanish?
The U.S. mainstream is accepting of Latin artists with success in Spanish
Camilo is one of the Latin artists with success in Spanish that has had more exposure in recent days. The singer was interviewed by journalist Jorge Ramos on his show Al Punto
*. And he talked about his Hispanic pride. Colombian singer-songwriter Camilo said he is proud of his country. He also stated that his first album, “Mis Manos”, is a celebration of Colombian identity.
Photo: La República
One of the statements that caught the most attention was this:
“Finally Latinos no longer have to ask for forgiveness for being Latinos. And the mainstream USA is asking for it”. This phrase was quoted from his interview and presentation on Jimmy Fallon’s show. The songwriter even explained that “we are showing that Latin music is becoming a big part of pop culture. And it is becoming less and less unusual for a Latin song to be a hit around the world”. Camilo concluded that at this moment Latinos are celebrating what we are and what we like. Also, he summarized that “there is nothing more global than what is local and what is ours.”
As we can see Latin artists with success in Spanish want to connect with the people. and have a space with the power of the U.S. audience. This could have impressive results in many areas. In the case of the United States, Spanish music may be an acquired taste for some. While for others it may be too folkloric or exotic. But a question remains. If musicians continue to create hit songs, will it be the language or the quality of the music that prevails?
If you want to read this same article in Spanish, click here. And, please, let your opinions in the comment section.
Link in Spanish*