Alyson Furstenau ‘21, Photo Editor
Ever since Justin Bieber was featured in Luis Fonsi’s hit song “Despacito,” Spanish music in the United States has gained a tremendous amount of popularity in a very short span of time. Arts and culture data journalist, Jamie Ballard, said, “Overall, about half (49 percent) of Americans listen to music in languages other than English. [And of those 49 percent], 52 percent listen to Spanish music.” Recently we have seen artists in the U.S. embracing their culture and writing songs with Spanish lyrics, and even artists with no Hispanic or Latin background are collaborating with Spanish-speaking singers—Alessia Cara, Billie Eilish, and The Weeknd to name a few.
Here are a few songs featuring the Spanish language we should all should consider adding to our playlists:
“Lo Vas a Olvidar” by ROSALÍA and Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish, one of the most popular song artists in the United States, did a collaboration with ROSALÍA, a Spanish singer and songwriter. They came out with “Lo Vas a Olvidar,” which translates to “You will Forget Her” in English. The song was released on Jan. 22, 2021 and already has over 15.8 million views on YouTube as of the end of January. Mitchell Peters, a writer for Billboard –an American entertainment media brand– said, “Music fans voted in a poll published on [Jan. 22] on Billboard, choosing the tag-team bilingual effort as their favorite new music release of the past week.”
“De Una Vez” by Selena Gomez
This will not be the only Spanish song Selena Gomez releases this year. Annie Martin, writer for United Press International (UPI) said, “‘Baila Conmigo’ is expected to appear on Gomez’s first Spanish-language EP, Revelación, which will be released on March 12, 2021.” With “De Una Vez” being Gomez’s first Spanish song in over 10 years, it is inspiring to see her embrace her heritage all the while sharing the Hispanic culture with the rest of the world. This slow, yet powerful, song is one that will help get anyone through a tough breakup.
“Hawái (Remix)” by Maluma and The Weeknd
No one expected Canadian singer-songwriter Abel Tesfaye, also known as The Weeknd, to collaborate with a Spanish-speaking artist from Medellín, Colombia, but their song “Hawái” has topped the charts. Maluma said, “[The Weeknd] brought another flow to [the song] and sang it in both English and Spanish which is impressive.” Hopefully, other non-Spanish speaking artists will also follow this path of exploring other languages and cultures through their music.
“Querer Mejor” by Juanes and Alessia Cara
Like Maluma, Juanes is from Medellín, Colombia and has sold over 15 million albums worldwide. His collaboration with Alessia Cara back in 2019 on the song “Querer Mejor” was a huge success and was the No. 1 hit song in Colombia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Panama after its release. Contrary to popular belief, Cara is actually Italian, but harbors a love for Latin music. Cara said, “Getting to dabble in [Latin music] with such a legend (Juanes) is pretty amazing.” There is no doubt that this beautiful love song will put a smile on anyone’s face.
“Perdiendo la Cabeza” by Carlos Rivera, Becky G, and Pedro Capó
This upbeat song is perfect to start the day off on a positive note–no pun intended. The song was performed at the 2020 Premio Lo Nuestro in Miami, Florida, which is an awards ceremony showcasing the best Latin music of the year. ET News Magazine writer, Liz Calvario, said, “[At the ceremony], Becky G, who has previously won two Premio Lo Nuestro awards, [was] nominated in the Urban — Best Female Artist of the Year category. Capó [was] up for four awards, including Pop/Rock — Artist of the Year and Urban/Pop — Song of the Year for ‘Calma (Remix).’ Rivera, meanwhile, [was] nominated in the Pop/Ballad — Artist of the Year category.” This collaboration truly displayed some of the most talented artists in the Latin American music industry, and since the release of “Perdiendo la Cabeza” –“Losing My Mind” in English– Becky G has recorded an entire album of Spanish music called Mala Santa.
While there are hundreds of phenomenal Spanish-speaking singers and songwriters, these songs are the perfect foundation for a playlist that captures some of the talent that exists in the Spanish and Latin music industry. Hopefully, in the future, we can see more of our beloved Canadian and American artists follow in the footsteps and embrace the Hispanic culture like Justin Bieber, Billie Eilish, The Weeknd, and Alessia Cara, but until then, there is an entire music library of Spanish music to explore.