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On the Radar Latin: J Luna, Venesti, Paulina, & More Artists to Discover

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Every month, Billboard Latin and Billboard Español editors spotlight a group of rising artists whose music we love. Think “diamantes en bruto,” or “diamonds in the rough.” These are newcomers who have yet to impact the mainstream — but whose music excites us, and who we believe our readers should make a point to discover.

Our latest edition of On the Radar Latin includes a wave of emerging artists, who we discovered during the 2023 Billboard Latin Music Week last month either by networking or coming across their music at a showcase. See our recommendations below.

Alfonso Terán

Country: Venezuela

Why They Should Be On Your Radar: Alfonso Terán is a 37-year-old independent singer and songwriter who has been releasing music as a solo artist since 2015, when he debuted with the heartfelt pop ballad “Mi Único Adiós.” His career, however, began formally years earlier in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he joined a country band with which he played over 350 shows around the U.S.

Born to a Mexican mother and Venezuelan father, he spent a few years in Mexico and a couple more in Miami before moving to Nashville in early 2023 to continue developing his career. With a sweet, raspy voice in singles like “Tú,” “Blanca Navidad” with Manuel Gamez, and “Libertadores” — the latter dedicated to those who lost their lives in political demonstrations in Venezuela — Terán has shown his ability to address various topics with empathy and sensitivity. His most recent release is “Como Yo,” a pop song in which he reminisces over a former lover, and whose music video he also directed. — SIGAL RATNER-ARIAS

Song for Your Playlist: “Como Yo”

ERRE

Country: Mexico/U.S.A.

Why They Should Be On Your Radar: A sad boy at heart, ERRE (real name: Eduardo Granados Rojas) is a Mexican-American singer-songwriter, who was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. I came across ERRE’s moody tunes and heartfelt requintos at the Billboard En Vivo “A Night of Mexican Music” showcase (presented by Sonidos Mexicanos Promotores Unidos, Zamora Group and Rancho Humilde), where he opened up the night. His acoustic set, which included singles “Solo,” “Me Olvidaste,” and “Te Extraño,” was enough proof that he’s a real hidden gem in the música Mexicana realm. The former is a collaboration on Eslabon Armado’s 2022 album Nostalgia. Inspired by acts such as Ariel Camacho y Los Plebes del Rancho, ERRE learned to play the guitar at the age of 11 and is currently crooning fans with his sierreño sounds meshed with jazzy chords and MIDI drum patterns. — JESSICA ROIZ

Song For Your Playlist: “Vete”

J Luna

Country: Mexico

Why They Should Be On Your Radar: J Luna is no stranger to the local Miami scene (I’ve come across him at various industry events), but I was excited to see him network and mingle at his first Billboard Latin Music Week. The Mexican-born, Miami-based artist, also known on social media as “J Luna P’al Mundo” (J Luna for the world), has been following his passion for more than a decade now — but it wasn’t until 2020 that he officially launched his career with his debut single “El Protagonista.” With his sultry yet crisp and sugary vocals, Luna can easily perform everything from infectious reggaetón (“El Delicioso,” “Conmigo Estas Mejor”) to feel-good cumbia (best heard in his latest release “Happy Final”). With his new musical era, Luna plans to continue along the lines of música Mexicana, most notably fusing norteño with his distinct urban sound. — J.R.

Song For Your Playlist: “Happy Final”

Jay Music

Country: Guatemala

Why They Should Be On Your Radar: Born in Guatemala to a Guatemalan mother and Argentinean father, Jay Music has become a rising phenomenon in his country and across Latin America with his catchy pop-reggaetón beats. Inspired by artists such as Daddy Yankee, Jay realized he had an artistic gift when he was invited to collaborate with a fellow colleague in 2015. He officially launched his singing career in 2020 with his debut single “Besame Lento.” Bringing to the forefront the urban movement in the Central American country, Jay released an eight-track EP called Supremo in 2022 and is currently making the rounds with his innovative ranchero-trap single “Compa, Qué no haría?” in collab with Javier Garistu. — J.R.

Song For Your Playlist: “Primero fue Lunes que Martes”

Karen Báez

Country: Mexico

Why They Should Be On Your Radar: It was through a mariachi potpourri titled “La Tequilera” in 2020 that Karen Báez presented herself to the world. Since, singles like “Ya Nunca Más,” “Al Modo,” and “Amor de Hermanos” (the latter in collaboration with her talented brother, Brandon Báez) have showcased her powerhouse vocals and the fiery passion she brings to the regional Mexican genre, most notably in mariachi and banda. Hailing from Sinaloa, Mexico, Báez is signed to indie record label Gruindag Music and has already released one studio album, Por Amor a México (2021), and two EPs: La Pareja Ideal with Banda Selective and Mejor Como Amigos, both this year. — J.R.

Song For Your Playlist: “No La Rigues Otra Vez”

Mery EMe

Country: The Dominican Republic

Why They Should Be On Your Radar: With a powerful, melodious voice perfect for the tropical genre, Mery EMe released in May This Is What Merengue Is All About (Gash Music,) an 8-track album with songs ranging from “Pa’ Qué Ninguna” (written by Ramón Orlando Valoy) and “A La Que Vive Contigo” (a female version of maestro Armando Manzanero’s “A Ese Que Vive Contigo”), to a bilingual version of Miley Cyrus’ hit “Flowers.” More recently, the Dominican singer released in September the single “Ni Me Debes, Ni Te Debo” feat. El Jeffrey, a merengue song about heartbreak to dance the sorrows away.

“I wanted to honor my land, my people and my culture with merengue, to take it to different latitudes and say with pride that I am from the Dominican Republic,” says the artist, who at 15 moved to Boston and now is based in Miami. Mery Eme captivated me at Latin Music Week with her good vibes and cheerful personality. She is currently working on an upcoming album in which she promises to incorporate elements of regional Mexican and urbano music, as well as getting involved in songwriting. — S.R.A.

Song For Your Playlist: “Ni Me Debes, Ni Te Debo” (feat. El Jeffrey)

Paulina

Country: Puerto Rico (U.S.A.)

Why They Should Be On Your Radar: During the first day of Billboard Latin Music Week, I had the pleasure of briefly meeting Paulina Fuentes. She introduced herself in an enchanting, sweet, and humble manner while discussing her project. At that moment, I didn’t know how beautiful her voice was and how talented she indeed was. Her music is a fusion of alternative pop with soft and dreamy vocals. It combines the passion, dreams and motivation of an independent artist filled with creativity, making her a true gem in the industry. She released her latest single, “Sin Rumbo,” in September and is currently working on her debut EP titled Instantes.INGRID FAJARDO

Song For Your Playlist: “Dejalo Ir” (feat. Rigoazulado)

Pía Vasquez

Country: Ecuador

Why They Should Be On Your Radar: With her debut album Mi Mundo, which was released in 2008, the talented singer and songwriter Pía Vásquez made her entry into the music scene of her native Ecuador. After a period of ten years away from music, the Ecuadorian relaunched her artistic career earlier this year with the single “Ahora Lloras”, a powerful song about heartbreak that radiates the perspective of an empowered woman, fully aware of her worth and ready to turn the page. This single was followed by her most recent release, “Hasta Que Salga el Sol.” Vásquez fuses the Latin pop genre with captivating urban elements, which is complemented by colorful video clips full of energetic dances and choreography. — LUISA CALLE

Song For Your Playlist: “Ahora Lloras”

Venesti

Country: Colombia

Why They Should Be On Your Radar: Hailing from the vibrant city of Medellín, Colombia, Venesti bursts into the Latin music scene, boasting remarkable vocal finesse. His combination of sultry Afrobeat rhythms and soulful vocals catapulted the rising star into the spotlight, achieving his first No. 1 spot on Latin Airplay and Latin Rhythm Airplay for the charts dated October 21 with the single “Umaye.”

Born Faiber Stiven Caicedo Castro, Venesti is surprising the music industry with his infectious and refreshing songs, drawing inspiration from a myriad of rhythmic influences including dancehall, tropical, and urbano, among others. His debut album, De La Nada, released Sep. 28, received widespread critical acclaim. Billboard‘s Jessica Roiz wrote, “Off the bat, [Venesti] is showcasing his versatility, delivering infectious reggaetón, bossa nova/trap fusions, and even an electronic-bachata.” The artist also had the honor of performing at this year’s Billboard Latin Music Week during the En Vivo concert series, where he took center stage at the official kickoff party, presented by AP Global Music. — ISABELA RAYGOZA

Song For Your Playlist: “Umaye”

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Billboard has more than 200 different weekly charts in its menu, encompassing numerous genres and formats. While established artists often compete for a spot on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart and Billboard 200 albums ranking, which track the most popular songs and albums of the week, respectively, up-and-coming talents typically start off on genre-specific lists. Here’s a look at 10 artists who appear on surveys via first entries on the Oct. 28-dated charts. Marc Rebillet The electronic musician and […]

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