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Music Unites, Transports, and Vitalizes The Power of Latin Artist Collaborations and Crossovers

By Ingrid Moreno

As the Latin Grammy Awards approach on Nov. 18, many Latin music fans are getting ready for their favorites to win. Artists like Selena Gomez, Bad Bunny, Shakira, Pitbull, Becky G, and more have not only created a name for themselves in the Latin industry but have recently collaborated with English singers, creating a cross-cultural phenomenon and making history in the process.

The Buccaneer conducted a survey for Barry students to vote for their favorite crossover artists and English-Spanish collaborations.

Graphic Credit to Melissa Manohar

One of the most widely known collaborations, “Despacito,” by Luis Fonsi featuring Justin Bieber, received six votes for favorite collaboration in a survey of 40 Barry students. In Feb. 2017, the original song debuted as No. 88 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, shooting up to 44 in April 2017. After the remix with Justin Bieber was released in the same month, “Despacito” reached No. 1 by May 2017 and remained in that position for 16 consecutive weeks.

Graphic Credit to Melissa Manohar

Many Latin and English artists have continued uniting their voices to compose music, like Selena Gomez and Rauw Alejandro, who collaborated to sing “Baila Conmigo” in January of this year. Gomez, who has a successful English career, was also able to explore her Latin roots, given that her parents are both Mexican Americans.

Nine Barry students chose “I Like It” by Cardi B and Bad Bunny as their favorite English-Spanish collaboration. Released in May 2018, the combination of trap and salsa led the song to peak at number one in July 2018 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. The success of “I Like It” helped Bad Bunny rise to fame and create several successful Spanish albums after that.

Other English-Spanish collaborations include Karol G and Nicki Minaj for “Tusa,” and Karol G and Jessie Reyez, who remixed the former’s song, “Ocean." Maluma followed suit, remixing his already-popular song “Hawái” alongside The Weeknd.

Beyond collaborations, however, there are many music artists who have completely crossed over from one genre to another. American rapper Pitbull rebranded himself when he released his 2011 English album "Planet Pit," which debuted at No. 7 on U.S. Billboard 200 and sold 55,000 copies in its first week. Nine Barry students chose Pitbull as their favorite crossover artist, putting him in the second-place spot.

Shakira is another singer who crossed genres. After creating a name for herself in Latin countries, she entered the English market with the song “Whenever, Wherever” as part of her first English album “Laundry Service” in 2001. This album helped her become an international star. Her stardom is seen amongst Barry students, seven of whom chose her as their favorite crossover artist.

Graphic Credit to Melissa Manohar

One of the most notable Latin crossover artists is the late Selena Quintanilla. Her crossover album “Dreaming of You” had remarkable success in the 1990s and is still played today.

Selena started her musical career as part of a band with her siblings. As her popularity rose, she released hit songs such as “Como la Flor,” which peaked at No. 6 on Billboard's Greatest of All Time Latin Artists chart.

After her death in March 1995, her dream to crossover to the English market was accomplished once “Dreaming of You” debuted as No. 1 on Billboard’s 200 in August 1995. This album was thought to open doors for all the crossover albums to come.

Barry students recognize Selena’s importance, voting her first place for favorite crossover artist.

Still, six Barry students chose artist Becky G. as their favorite crossover artist. Becky G has done a reverse crossover, transitioning from English music to Spanish. Her success in the Spanish industry happened with her single “Sola,” which reached number six in the Billboard’s Latin Digital Song Sale chart. Another hit song, “Sin Pijama,” peaked at number two on the same chart.

From English-Spanish collaborations and crossovers comes the integration of voices, customs, and diverse roots that makes music unique. In the music world, language is not the most significant factor, but the ability it has to connect people around the world through its melody and essence.

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