A new generation of hitmakers from all over Latin America has been recognized by the Latin Grammys as contenders for the title of best new artists of 2023. With roots in Colombia, Mexico, Spain, Brazil, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Venezuela, the category is rich and wide-ranging in sound.
This year, the Latin Recording Academy selected a total of 10 artists in the best new artist category: Borja, Conexión Divina, Ana Del Castillo, Natascha Falcão, Gale, Paola Guanche, Joaquina, León Leiden, Maréh and Timø. Some are major U.S.-based label signees, like música Mexicana trio Conexión Divina and singer-songwriter Gale, both signed to Sony Music Latin. Others like singer-songwriters Maréh and Natascha Falcão operated as indie artists in the years leading up to this nomination.
Borja, signed to Virgin Records, is a Barcelona native and singer-songwriter, whose debut Latin pop album “Rimas Del Verbo Amar” arrived earlier this May. The Spanish musician started his career writing other artists like Reik, Lasso, Marco Mares and Nicole Zignago, all of whom were best new artist nominees at previous ceremonies. He’s also the only artist who claims Spain as his home, sparing himself an extra plane or train ride to the ceremony in Seville on Nov. 16.
Maréh, or Federico Galvis, is an independent singer-songwriter from Colombia. He released his first record in 2018 and only recently dropped his second full-length LP in 2022 in response to a spike in his listenership pool. “Tierra de Promesas” arrived just over a year ago, making this nomination a memorable first year for the collection of guitar-centric jazzy pop.
Conexión Divina — Ashlee Valenzuela, Sandra Calixto and Liz Trujillo — are the only música Mexicana act up for best new artist. The all-female, Gen Z-born group emerged as part of the new wave of música Mexicana that made its first-ever appearance at the top of the charts globally earlier this year alongside exclusively all-male acts, including Peso Pluma and Eslabon Armado. Earlier this April, Conexión Divina appeared on the lineup for Coachella alongside peers like DannyLux, Pluma, Becky G and more. (Earlier this year, the band cut ties with requinto player Ashlee Valenzuela and placed Daniela Santiago in the role.)
Ana Del Castillo sings a style of Colombian folk called vallenato which utilizes accordion and is rooted in the Caribbean regions of Colombia. She is best known for songs like “La Cachera,” “La Voa Hace Boja” and “Ay Ay Ay.”
In 2021, Timø — Andrés Vásquez, Alejandro Ochoa, and Felipe Galat — signed a record deal with Universal Music Latino after releasing a steady string of singles following their first EP, “Algo Diferente,” in 2019. Timø pairs elements of pop, rock and folk with clever and catchy songwriting in their latest, “‘Estemos Donde Estemos” — writing about getting over breakups only to fall in love again in the subsequent song.
Natascha Falcão is a singer-songwriter and dancer known for her unique and often conceptual approach to her niche of Brazilian rhythms. She released her debut album “Ave Mulher,” a March release that has since garnered critical acclaim from audiences all over the world.
Though you may not immediately recognize her, you have surely heard a song Gale has written on the radio in the last few years. The Puerto Rican singer shares credits on singles from Jaunes to Christina Aguilera, and has worked on Latin Grammy-nominated projects in the past, but this is her first nomination as an artist.
León Leiden is a singer-songwriter and producer signed to Warner Music Mexico. His sound is mainly pop though he incorporates EDM and modern-day hip-hop beat patterns. He’s also tinkered with música Mexicana and pop rock.
Venezuelan pop singer-songwriter Joaquina sings tear-jerkingly honest music, much of which you can hear in her debut EP, “Los Mejores Años” (“The Best Years”). The 19-year-old is signed to Universal Music Latino.
Paola Guanche grew up surrounded by a family of musicians and got her start in music with television appearances — she won Telemundo’s “La Voz Kids” in 2013. In the past two years, she’s released an EP and a long list of shining singles, including standouts like the silky “Prohibido” and “Letter to You.”