Latin Pop Primer: The 15 Female Artists You Need to Know Now

From Sofia Reyes to Rosalia, Natti Natasha to Lali, these are the ladies who deserve a spot on your Spotify playlists.

By Billy Nilles 25 Sep, 2019 10:00 AMTags
Latinx Female Pop StarsLindsay Scheinberg/E! Illustration

The world of Latin music is having a truly global moment right now.

20 years later after the likes of Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesias and Jennifer Lopez first brought Latin pop to the U.S. music scene, the rise of streaming has allowed for music from all corners of the Spanish-speaking world to find fans everywhere, making superstars out of performers like Maluma, J Balvin, Ozuna and Bad Bunny in the process. With reggaeton and urbano ruling as the dominant subgenres on the Latin charts, it can often feel like there are aren't many Latinas in the mix. In fact, Billboard reports that, among the tracks to reach the top 10 on the Hot Latin Songs chart in 2019, only four of them included women, down from 10 in 2018. And of those four, the two that managed to hit No. 1 also featured men.

It's not all doom and gloom though. Despite those rather dismal numbers on the charts, the world of Latin pop is rife with female artists who are literally killing the game right now.

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2019 PCAs: Latin Artist Nominees

From established artists like Mexico's Sofia Reyes and Spain's Rosalía (who was just nominated for five Latin Grammys), both of whom share a birthday on September 25, to fresh faces like Chile's Paloma Mami and Brazil's IZA, these are the 15 female artists you need to know about. Adjust your Spotify playlists accordingly.

Sofia Reyes

After being discovered on YouTube, this bilingual pop star from the northern Mexican city of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, became the first singer signed to Prince Royce's D'Leon records, a label the Latinx star created with Warner Music Latina. She's been releasing singles since "Now Forever" in 2013 and dropped her debut album, Louder!, in 2017. Since then, she's become something of a favorite featured vocalist for the likes of Slushii, Cheat Codes and James Arthur. If you're looking for an entry point into Sofia's upbeat brand of Latin pop, look no further than her 2019 single "R.I.P.," featuring Rita Ora and another artist on this list, Anitta

Rosalía

While there's some debate over whether the burgeoning superstar should be considered a Latinx pop star at all—from the Catalan region of Spain, her life experience as a European national is a world away from that of the Latin American diaspora—there's no debating that she's become one of the most exciting Spanish-language singers in years. With smash hit singles like "Con Altura" and "Aute Cuture," as well as their corresponding eye-catching music videos, released this year and both just nominated for Latin Grammys, anticipation for her third album is at a fever pitch—and deservedly so. So, though we'll refrain from calling her Latinx, until us lazy Americans find a new way of talking about Spanish-speaking singers without just lumping them all in the "Latin" category, we're going to include Rosalía here because she's earned her place in the conversation.

Lali

After getting her start as a child actor on shows like Rincon de luz and Casi Angeles before joining the five-person pop band Teen Angeles, the Argentinian beauty (born Mariana Esposito) transitioned into an adult solo career with a new stage name—Lali began as a nickname amongst friends and family—and the release of her debut album, A Bailar, in 2014. She's since released two more albums, opened for the likes of Katy Perry, Fifth Harmony and Camila Cabello during their Argentina tour stops, and collaborated with Latinx superstars Thalia and Pabllo Vittar. If you're looking for a good entry point, look no further than "Caliente," her collaboration with the latter off her 2018 album Brava. The song and music video both more than live up to their title. Trust.

Mariah

A rising star in the very male-dominated world of urbano (Ozuna, J Balvin, Bad Bunny), Mariah Angeliq, who goes simply by her first name, is here to prove that the girls can be bosses too. On debut single "Blah," the Miami-born and raised singer of Puerto Rican and Cuban descent lets the men know that their money (and their bragging) don't impress her much, while her latest track "Perreito" is dripping with swag as she boasts about stealing the show with her flow as the one that shoots and never fails. Look out boys, she's coming for you.

Tini

Argentine Martina Alejandra Stoessel Muzlera broke through with the lead role in the 2012 Disney Channel Latin American original telenovela Violetta, which helped land her record deal with Disney's Hollywood Records in 2015. Releasing solo material under her stage name Tini, she's dropped two albums with a third on the way and has been the featured artist on tracks from MAX, Jonas Blue and Alesso. Her latest single "Fresa," a collaboration with Colombian reggaeton singer Lalo Ebratt, is a perfect example of the delicious Latin pop she's got in her discography. 

Mon Laferte

As the most-listened-to Chilean artist on Spotify worldwide, Mon Laferte (born Norma Monserrat Bustamante Laferte) has been repping the Latin alternative music since her first album in 2003. Her sublime 2018 album Norma, just nominated for Best Alternative Music Album at this year's Latin Grammys, saw her explore her roots through cumbia, salsa and ranchera sounds, while her latest single "Paisaje Japones" is a wrenching rock ballad that'll have you feel all the feels. 

Karol G

The Colombian reggaeton singer born Carolina Giraldo Navarro announced she was a force to be reckoned with when she dropped her debut album Unstoppable in 2017. Featuring collaborations with urbano superstars Bad Bunny and Ozuna, the album peaked at No. 2 on Billboard's US Top Latin Albums chart, managed to crack the Billboard 200, peaking at 192, and helped land her the Best New Artist award at the 2018 Latin Grammys. But it was on this year's Ocean that she showed the full breadth of her abilities, tackling throwback hip-hop, piano balladry, urbano trap and more. "Culpables," her collab with fiance and Latin trap pioneer Anuel AA, and "China," which features a murderer's row of Latinx talent (Anuel, Daddy Yankee, Ozuna and J Balvin) are great starting points if you've somehow avoided Karol until now.

Becky G

After smash 2014 hit "Shower" landed Becky a featured role in two episodes of Empire season two, the singer wisely followed her Mexican roots (all four of her grandparents were born in Jalisco) and began releasing music in Spanish, beginning with the 2016 single "Sola." Though she's yet to release a full-length album, she's gifted unto us a steady stream of bops. Our favorites? 2016's "Mangu," "Mayores," her 2017 collab with superstar Bad Bunny, and "Sin Pijama," her 2018 team-up with another name on this list, Natti Natasha.

Anitta

Brazilian singer Larissa de Macedo Machado, known professionally as Anitta, rose to fame in her home country back in 2013 with the release of single "Show das Poderosas" and became the youngest Brazilian singer to perform at the Latin Grammys a year later. But it was key collaborations with Iggy Azalea ("Switch) and Major Lazer ("Sua Cara") in 2017 that helped her breakthrough internationally. The latter, performed alongside drag queen superstar Pabllo Vittar, that became the only Porteguese-language to rank in the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart that year. This year alone, she's released her fourth album, the trilingual Kisses (with songs in Portuguese, Spanish and English), appeared in another Major Lazer song ("Make It Hot") and the Sofia Reyes-Rita Ora collab "R.I.P.," and made a guest appearance on "Faz Gostoso" off Madonna's latest album, Madame X.

IZA

Brazilian singer Isabela Cristina Correia de Lima Lima rose to fame performing covers of artists like Beyonce and Rihanna on her YouTube channel. After signing with Warner Music Brasil in 2016, she began releasing music of her own, leading to her debut album Dona de Mim in April 2018. The album, nominated for a Latin Grammy Award for Best Portuguese Language Contemporary Pop Album, showcases the sort of soulful R&B that's become IZA's signature sound. The title track, a lush mid-tempo, is a great starting point. And to see where she's taking her sound as she works towards a second LP, check out the pair of songs she's dropped in 2019, "Brisa" and "Meu Talisma." Fun fact: In 2019, IZA went from covering Beyonce on YouTube to providing the Brazilian Portuguese Dub for Nala, her role in this year's photorealistic adaptation of The Lion King.

Natti Natasha

Dominican singer Natalia Alexandra Gutierrez Batista, who performs as Natti Natasha, has been releasing music since her 2012 EP All About Me, but she truly broke through in 2017-18 thanks to a handful of features with heavy-hitters like Daddy Yankee, Ozuna, Bad Bunny, Becky G and Thalia. Earlier this year, she released her debut album Ilumanatti, which had the biggest opening week for a Latin album by a woman since Shakira's El Dorado in 2017. Our personal fave off the album is "Me Gusta," which finds Natti serving face and lewks in the sultry music video. In recent months, she's landed features on a pair of monster tracks, "Instagram" (with Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, David Guetta, Daddy Yankee and Afro Bros) and "Runaway" (with Sebastian Yatra, Daddy Yankee and the Jonas Brothers). They're both great places to dive in.

Cazzu

Argentine rapper and singer Julieta Cazzucheli, who performs under the name Cazzu, has been repping the ladies in the male-dominated world of Latin trap since the release of her debut album Malades in 2017 after testing the waters in the worlds of cumbia and rock first. She brings an unapologetic sense of female empowerment to a genre that, at its most cliched, treats women like trophies to be won. "For me, Cazzu is everything I want to be," she told Billboard Argentina. "She's my alter ego, she's a damn superhero." For a taste of what Cazzu brings to the table, check out the killer 2018 single "N.A.V.E." first. 

Girl Ultra

On her Twitter page, Mariana de Miguel describes herself as "Mexico's r&b babygirl" and the description is totally on point. Over the course of two EPs, 2017's Boys and 2018's Adios, and a handful of recent singles, the Mexico City-native has established a sound that embraces throwback R&B in the best sense. Get acquainted with her just-released track "Ruleta" and then work your way back through her discography. You won't be disappointed.

Greeicy

After getting her start as a child actress, Colombian singer Greeicy Yeliana Rendon Ceballos followed her dream to sing and began releasing singles in 2017, leading up to the release of her debut album Baila in May 2019. For a taste of her traditional Latin pop sound, check out "A Mi No" or "Ganas," our favorites off the album. 

Paloma Mami

After competing on Chilean talent show Rojo in 2018, New York-born Paloma Rocio Castillo Astorga began independently releasing music, going viral with "Not Steady." She was quickly signed by Sony Music Latin, become the first Chilean to sign with the label. With a sound that she defines as somewhere in the worlds of Latin R&B and urbano, Paloma Mami has been steadily releasing tracks as she readies her debut album. Our fave is "Don't Talk About Me," a bilingual bop that's dripping with swag.