We are days away from the Biggest Night in Latin Music. See who’s up for one of the most coveted awards of the night
The 2020 Latin GRAMMYs are less than two weeks away and that means we are only days away from knowing who will take the coveted Album of the Year honor. While we’ll have to wait until the 21st Latin GRAMMY Awards air on Univision on Nov. 19 to find out who will win, let’s take a look at which albums have been nominated for one of the most anticipated Latin GRAMMY Awards each year.
This is one of two Latin GRAMMY nominations for Bad Bunny in the Album of the Year category. For his second solo album, YHLQMDLG (short-hand for “Yo Hago Lo Que Me Da La Gana,” or “I Do What I Want”), the Puerto Rican rapper revisited reggaeton’s Puerto Rican 2000s breakthrough sound, paying ode to its makers, while also taking the genre to new places. The album’s most ambitious song “Safaera” is a party anthem beast that samples and blends Alexis & Fido’s 2005 track “El Tiburón” along with Missy Elliott’s 2001 massive hit “Get Ur Freak On.” The album’s Record of the Year nominee, “Yo Perreo Sola,” is a perreo-de-résistance tribute to women and their space on the dance floor. Ultimately, Bad Bunny stays true to the album title and the result is a sprawling collection of reggaeton that sound familiar yet fresh.
A reggaeton equivalent of Jay-Z and Kanye West‘s Watch the Throne, J Balvin and Bad Bunny joined forces for their collaborative album Oasis. Two of the most electifying producers of the moment, Marco “Tainy” Masís, one of the genre’s pioneers, and Alejandro “Sky” Ramírez, the future of the reggaeton sound, are at the helm of the album. Factor in all those heavy-hitters and you get an album of epic proportions. The rappers from Colombia and Puerto Rico are a dynamic duo throughout the album, whether they are celebrating life without an ex on “Qué Pretendes” or missing that loved one dearly on the haunting “La Canción.” Oasis is a refreshing approach to reggaeton by two of the genre’s biggest personalities.
Following Oasis, Colores, or “Colors,” marks J Balvin’s second nomination in the Album of the Year category this year. For his fifth solo album, J Balvin tackled a chromatic theme with each song reflecting different shades of emotions. On Colores’ Record of the Year nominee “Rojo,” he longs for a lover who is no longer there while on “Morado,” he tells the story of an independent woman who is living her best life in the club. Alongside longtime producer and fellow Colombian Alejandro “Sky” Ramírez, J Balvin also collaborated with DJ Snake, who produced “Amarillo,” and Diplo, who produced “Rosa.” Balvin, undoiubtedly the most colorful character in reggaeton, took the genre to the next level with 10 tracks. With 13 overall nominations, Balvin broke the record for the most nominations for an artist in a single year.
Camilo took some time away from the industry to pen hits for other artists including Becky G and Natti Natasha on their 13-times platinum “Sin Pijama.” This year he found his voice again and marked his return as a singer/songwriting artist with Por Primera Vez, or “For the First Time.” Although it’s the Colombian singer’s third album, he’s often remarked that it feels like his debut. In a Latin music scene dominated by reggaeton, Camilo has found his niche, blending that sound with his quirky pop edge. That’s apparent on his infectious single “Tutu” with Latin GRAMMY winner Pedro Capó, which is nominated for both Record and Song of the Year. There’s no doubt, when Camilo is writing for himself, his honesty shines through. The bright artist is also nominated in the Song of the Year category for a second time in his career for the haunting “El Mismo Aire.”
Since winning Best New Artist at the 9th annual Latin GRAMMYs, Kany García has remained a constant force at the awards and in Latin music in general. For her seventh album Mesa Para Dos, or “Table for Two,” she shares her moving lyrics in duets with artists like Mexican pop star Carlos Rivera on “Cobardes” and Colombian singer Camilo on “Titanic.” The album’s most beautiful moment, “Lo Que En Ti Veo” with Argentine musician Nahuel Pennisi, is nominated for both Record and Song of the Year. With five nominations overall, Garcia is the most nominated female artist at this year’s Latin GRAMMYs.
Like García, Mexican sibling act Jesse & Joy are past Best New Artist winners—they won the award at the 8th annual Latin GRAMMYs, just a year prior to Garcia. Not only have they won several Latin GRAMMYs over the years, but the duo also won a GRAMMY at the 59th annual awards for Best Latin Pop Album. Jesse & Joy’s fifth album Aire (Versión Día), or “Air (Day Version),” marks their most personal release to date, especially for Joy. In April 2019, Joy revealed that she married her wife, Diana Atri. In May of that year, the couple revealed the birth of their daughter, Noah, who inspired the album’s opening song “Noah’s Intro.” Jesse & Joy celebrate the LGBTQ+ community with the empowering anthem “Love (Es Nuestro Idioma).” They remain a breath of fresh air in Latin pop music.
Since the first time she was nominated at the 4th annual Latin GRAMMY Awards, alternative singer-songwriter Natalia Lafourcade has won several Latin GRAMMYs. Lafourcade also has one GRAMMY under her belt after winning Best Latin Rock, Urban, or Alternative Album at the 59th GRAMMY Awards. A Latin music shape-shifter, she has tackled many genres, but embraced the music of her country, Mexico, for her ninth album, Un Canto por México, Vol. 1, or “A Song for Mexico.” On the album, she pays tribute to several Mexican sounds, including son jarocho and mariachi—she put her heart in mariachi music for “Mi Religión,” a 2020 nominee for Best Regional Song. Lafourcade also put a proud Mexican spin of a few of her classics on the album like “Hasta La Raíz” and “Nunca Es Suficiente.”
Over his illustrious career, Ricky Martin has won three Latin GRAMMYs and two GRAMMYs. This year, he could earn one more Latin GRAMMY with his first album since 2015’s A Quien Quiera Escuchar. After the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down the world earlier this year, the Puerto Rican superstar split a project he was working on into two EPs and thus Pausa was born. On Pausa, or “Pause,” Martin recorded ballads to inspire hope in these challenging times and he brings huge names in English and Spanish language music. British legend Sting sings in Spanish on their duet “Simple.” It’s also his most proud Boricua release with the standout “Cántalo” featuring Residente and Bad Bunny that celebrates their homeland. With García, Joy Huerta, and Martin nominated, it’s a banner year for artists in the LGBTQ+ community in the Album of the Year category.
Fito Páez is a Latin music legend whose music career long precedes the inception of the first Latin GRAMMY Awards in 2000. It’s only fitting that the Argentine rock star has been recognized by his peers over the years with several Latin GRAMMY awards. La Conquista Del Espacio, or “The Conquest of Space,” marks Páez’s 20th studio album. This year, Paez is also up for Best Pop/Rock Album. But that’s not all, Páez’s soaring centerpiece “La Canción De Las Bestias” is nominated for Best Pop/Rock Song.
Carlos Vives is another Latin music legend who has multiple Latin GRAMMYs and two GRAMMYs to his name. For his 14th studio album, Cumbiana, the Colombian singer-songwriter celebrates the cumbia music rooted in his country. He gives the genre a fresh spin on “Hechicera” featuring rising GRAMMY-nominated Canadian-Colombian singer Jessie Reyez. Vives is also up for Song of the Year for “For Sale,” his creative collaboration with Spanish GRAMMY-winning singer Alejandro Sanz.
Don’t forget to tune in to all the excitement on Univision on Thurs., Nov. 19 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT (7:00 p.m. CT). The broadcast will also air on TNT (cable) at 7:00 p.m. (MEX) / 8:00 p.m. (COL) / 10:00 p.m. (ARG/CHI) and on Televisa on Channel 5.
Learn more about the 2020 Latin GRAMMY Awards via the Latin Recording Academy’s official website.
By LUCAS VILLA