Music journalist Justino Aguila and Leila Cobo executive director Latin Content & Programming Billboard join A Martinez to talk about their top Latin Grammy nominee picks, which were announced last week.
A broad range of musical styles make up the Latin Grammy nominees this year, but it's also some well known acts that are going to be part of this year’s awards show when it airs on November 17 from Las Vegas.
Major names make up this year’s Record of the Year nominees including Enrique Iglesias who is nominated for his collaboration with Wisin on the catchy love song "Duele el Corazon." The song is nominated along with 9 other strong contenders including Andrea Bocelli, Carlos Vives & Shakira and Jesse & Joy. "Duele el Corazon" is also nominated for Song of the Year, which also includes contenders such as Sin Bandera known for their fine pop ballads.
Album of the Year this year includes major acts such as Julieta Venegas, Jesse & Joy and Pablo Alborán, but it's Juan Gabriel’s "Duets 2" album, which has got to be a favorite going in due to the recent passing of the iconic Mexican singer who was beloved by so many around the world. This album featured some great duets with recording artists such as Alejandro Fernandez, Marc Anthony, Laura Pausini and Julion Alvarez and J Balvin, who got to share studio time with Juan Gabriel on "La Frontera."
Latin indie singer/songwriter Carla Morrison receives two nominations this time including recognition for her latest album "Amor Supremo" for Best Alternative Music Album and Best Alternative Song. The deep and soulful song "Vez Primera," or First Time, has this chilling undertone about a lover’s acceptance that her other half is gone; a well-written song, which lends itself to the Morrison signature sound which is often wrapped around melodic compositions that have edge and are also very accessible. This album has almost operatic undertone, which took it that next level.
Morrison, who was born in Tecate, Mexico, has worked her way up from the Latin indie world for several years now and so has Best New Artist nominee Alex Anwandter, who hails from Chile. The nomination comes just as Anwandter is currently in the middle of promoting his new film "You Will Never Be Alone Again," which is getting as much buzz as his latest album, "Amiga."
"Amiga" is a fun, upbeat and charming album that is pop with a retro ‘80s feel, but if you look closely at the songs such as "Manifesto" (Manifest) you see that this is probably the Andwandter’s most socially conscious project that aims to support the LGBT community like his film, which centers around a gay bashing incident. I’d say that Anwandter has a great chance of taking a trophy for his body of work.
When it come to the Best New Artist category, the Latin Grammys are often guilty of pulling the trigger too fast, nominating artists who make great music but have yet to gain any acclaim. It results in lost bullets. Nominees who never again get any notoriety nor can fully take advantage of their nomination.
There was no such problem this year for many of the nominees in this coveted category. At least half of them have had a large measure of success by any standard, and make good music to boot.
In an earlier program, we heard the music of one of them, regional Mexican songwriter Joss Favela, but this time around we've got three great new artists: Manuel Medrano, Morat and Mon LaFerte.
Norma Monserrat Bustamante Laferte is from Chile, and has been releasing albums since 2003, but nothing much happened until Mon Laferte, her stage name, moved to Mexico City and in 2013 released an album called Tornasol.
She signed to Universal and with the released Mon Laferte Vol. 1 in 2015. That's the album that has propelled Mon Lafterte’s success. Her songs are a mix of vaudeville, pop, alt and traditional Mexican.
We've also got Manuel Medrano. This Colombian singer/songwriter performed at a showcase during the Billboard Latin Music Awards and blew us out of the water. He has this very deep baritone, beautiful silky voice, and sing with his guitar and just forces you to listen. Plus, he’s very tall, he looks like an athlete and writes all his own material.
Medrano is part of this blooming new Colombian music movement, one of the most exciting countries putting out music today.
Lastly, you should pay attention to another Colombian act: folk pop group Morat. They're a quartet who first gained notoriety with their single "Mi Nuevo Vicio," recorded with pop superstar Paulina Rubio. But of course, they have their own material and sound. Very fine pop songs, with a Colombian twist.