From Selena to Shakira, Celia Cruz to J Balvin, the music world is filled with Latinx icons, new and old. The mesmerizing rhythms of salsa, bachata, and reggaeton are all over modern-day pop — to hear them, all you have to do is listen closely.
To celebrate Latinx Heritage Month, Bustle is taking a look at the next generation of hitmakers, each of whom is making waves in their chosen genre (or genres). Fans of big pop stars like Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez are sure to love
powerhouse performer Becky G, while those on the hunt for a new experimental indie artist should check out Arca — a brilliant electronic producer who also holds the distinction of being the first non-binary artist to receive a Grammy nomination. So pull up your tired Spotify playlists and get ready for a much-needed musical refresh. From KAINA’s effortless R&B to The Marías psychedelic pop, check out these 12 up-and-coming musicians.
A longtime staple of Chicago's DIY music scene,
Kaina Castillo looks and sounds like a major-label star. Her masterful R&B pop is deeply rooted in her identity as the daughter of Venezuelan and Guatemalan immigrants, and she takes every opportunity to celebrate her local community and her tight-knit family. Her latest release, “Casita,” will make you want to call your mom and thank her for all the times she cooked for you and your friends.
Raised in a small town in North Carolina, indie-pop artist Indigo De Souza turned to music very early. At 16, her ambitions led her to Asheville, where she, Moses Sumney, and other brilliant creators have formed a thriving community of artists. Her sophomore album,
, recounts her post-breakup journey of self-discovery. De Souza’s lyrics seem simple, but they have the power to leave you breathless. Any Shape You Take
A self-taught singer, songwriter, producer, and DJ, Mia Carucci grew up in Miami listening to hip-hop and Latin Disco. Now based in LA, they’ve made a name for themselves in the DJ scene, opening for major acts like Earl Sweatshirt and Kali Uchis. Carucci’s hypnotic music utilizes sounds from Afro-Indigenous musical traditions in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Not only is she an actor, best known for her role in Netflix’s juicy
private school thriller Élite , but Paola also makes killer Latin pop. After first gaining popularity as a child star, the Mexico-based singer established herself as a pop princess on the rise with the debut of her self-titled album. Fun fact: When Paola was cast in the first Spanish-language production of Wicked, she became the youngest Elphaba ever to appear in a professional performance of the hit Broadway musical.
María Zardoya heads up
The Marías, an indie pop band that fuses elements of Latin beats with jazz percussion to create a sound all its own. Zardoya, born in Puerto Rico and raised in Atlanta, sings in both Spanish and English on the band’s debut record, Cinema, and has an uncanny ability to shift between languages, genres, and emotions — sometimes all on the same song. 6 Arca
Arca makes songs to disassociate too. The Venezuelan musician is at once a performance artist, producer, songwriter, mixing engineer, and DJ, and her experimental sound is totally singular. She’s produced for huge artists like Lady Gaga, Björk, Kanye, Frank Ocean, and FKA twigs, and in 2020, became the first non-binary artist to be
nominated for a Grammy. With a new, highly-anticipated album coming in 2021, Arca continues to explode notions of what a pop star is and can be.
In 2020, at just 20 years old,
Maria Becerra became the first Latin artist to join the roster at indie record label 300 Entertainment, which reps the likes of Megan Thee Stallion and Fetty Wap. In a short time, she’s already made a huge name for herself in Argentina’s urban pop scene, releasing a rapid succession of Billboard-charting hits and features with artists like J Balvin and Cazzu.
Like so many Gen Z stars, Becky G started out by posting covers on YouTube. She was signed at 15, after her videos caught the attention of industry insiders — and just a few years later, was working on her very first album with heavy-hitters like will.i.am and Cody Simpson. Now a fully-fledged pop star, Becky G has toured around the world with Fifth Harmony and collaborated with the likes of Bad Bunny, Pitbull, Daddy Yankee, and David Guetta. Her music recalls early aughts, made-for-sleepovers pop in the very best way.
Camila Gallardo, better known as
Cami, first started generating buzz when she earned second place on . The 23-year-old Chilean pop singer has a powerful voice, and on her latest EP, The Voice Chile in 2015 Monstruo, it’s fully unleashed. The lyrics were extremely personal for Cami — probing grief, heartbreak, and all-consuming love — and the poignant results earned her a Grammy nomination for best Latin Rock or Alternative Album.
You’d have a hard time trying to distill
Nathy Peluso down to just one genre. The Barcelona-based Argentinian singer, songwriter, and producer makes music that’s part pop, part jazz, part tango, and part hip-hop. Calambre, her 2020 full-length debut, is bursting with energy — a vitality that Peluso also brings to her live performances and TikTok presence.
Her great-grandfather was
legendary Cuban musician Miguelito Valdés, and her great-grandmother, Silvia De Grasse, sang alongside the likes of Louis Armstrong — so it comes as no surprise that this Panamanian singer-songwriter is a talent on the rise. Sofia Valdes’ dreamy voice feels reminiscent of Mazzy Star, and her gentle instrumentals add soft, soothing touch. Her debut EP is a striking mix of soul, bossa nova, and bedroom pop. Ventura
Norma Monserrat Bustamante Laferte, aka Mon Laferte, won’t be confined to a single genre, preferring to dip her toes in pop, rock, boldero, cumbia, and salsa, just to name a few styles. The Chilean singer-songwriter’s latest album,
Seis, was inspired by the Mexican folklore she learned about while quarantining at home in a tiny Mexican town. The record is dreamy and soulful, and features a brass band moment that will give listeners chills. (Also, music aside, her retro style is to die for.)