Romeo Santos Serenades Fans at L.A. Pop-Up Show

“Recording an album is a great feeling but I needed this — this energy that makes me want to keep doing this forever.”

The King of Bachata is back in full force. 

High off his newly released single, “Héroe favorito,” Romeo Santos is surprising fans with pop-up shows in select cities. After kicking off the Tidal and Sprint-sponsored concert series Friday in Santos’ hometown of The Bronx, on Saturday night he brought an intimate showcase to the Ace Hotel Theater in Los Angeles. 

After the crowd anxiously awaited to see their new favorite superhero onstage, his appearance incited zealous fans to rush past security to the front of the theater to watch Santos up close and personal. One lucky fan even got a kiss on the cheek from the charming singer. 

“Tonight we’re going to be singing some classics and new songs,” Santos said after the first couple songs, including “Eres mía” and “Cancioncitas de amor.” He added, “They told me these types of concerts only last 45 minutes … but I said if the crowd is good, I don’t know. And you guys are the sh– so I’m not doing 45 minutes.”

It was approximately an hour-long set where he also took requests from the audience for him to sing and talked about his upcoming album. “After almost a year and a half of recording the new production, Golden should be out by like May,” he sais. “I swear, recording an album is a great feeling but I needed this — this energy that makes me want to keep doing this forever.”

Before signing off, Santos gave a shout out to attendees Victoria “La Mala,” regional Mexican singer and Roc Nation signee, and actress Genesis Rodríguez, star of his latest music video. He also thanked his fans for coming out to the concert last minute: “I was a bit concerned about these concerts because I thought ‘man, Latinos, you gotta let them know like a year in advance, don’t know if they’ll come out last minute like that.’ But you guys made it! I love you for that.”

He ended the show by serenading his fans with his newest bachata/jazzy tune “Héroe favorito.” And just like his new catchphrase suggests: that was the golden touch right there. 

Television, Black Lips Headline Mexico’s Marvin Festival

Adan Jodorowsky, Boom Boom Kid, La Vida Boheme, AJ Davila among other acts on three-day line-up

Television and the Black Lips are set to headline Mexico City’s three-day, 50-act Festival Marvin. The just-announced line up also includes Chile’s Adan Jodorowsky, Boom Boom Kid from Argentina, Venezuelan rockers La Vida Boheme, now living in D.F; AJ Davila, from Puerto Rico’s punk scene, and pan-European indie band Thieves Like Us.

The festival will also showcase emerging Mexican bands from across the country.

Now in its seventh year, Festival Marvin is held in venues around Mexico City’s posh Condesa and historic Roma neighborhoods. The festival also includes stand up, film screenings and art exhibitions.

Billboard Latin Music Awards Nominee Diego El Cigala Discusses his Genre-Evading ‘Indestructible’ Album

Diego El Cigala is a finalist in the 2017 Billboard Latin Music Awards Tropical Artist of the Year, Solo category.

Diego el Cigala made his name in the ’90s and early ’00s as a titan of contemporary flamenco, but for more than a decade he has enjoyed cross-genre adventures, exploring outside the world of flamenco and winning awards for doing so. When he stepped on stage at Town Hall in New York City last fall — shoes shined to perfection, shirt unbuttoned to clear space for his beard, a flash of gold jewelry at his ears and fingers — it was to debut songs from album Indestructible, a finalist in the 2017 Billboard Latin Music Awards Tropical Artist of the Year, Solo category. The album is in part a tribute to canonical salsa. 

Speaking with Billboard on the phone through an interpreter a few days before the show, El Cigala acknowledged that some listeners were surprised by his interest in salsa. “People almost didn’t believe it,” he said. “People didn’t expect to hear pure salsa from the ’70s and ’80s with a flamenco voice.”

Carlos Alvarez, an engineer credited several times on Indestructible — you can also find his imprint on records by Marc AnthonyJulio Iglesias, and Alejandro Sanz — was more trusting. “[El Cigala] brings an incredible amount of energy and beauty to this,” he said from Miami during a separate phone conversation. “This guy is a student, the real deal. How can you think that it’s not gonna be an interesting listen to have a fusion with that iconic voice?”

El Cigala has earned this sort of faith through a series of accomplished zig zags. He won his first Latin Grammy in 2004 for Lágrimas Negras, a collaborative album with the Cuban pianist Bebo Valdés that took home the Best Traditional Tropical Album honor, while his most recent award came in the tango category (his second tango win) for 2013’s Romance de la Luna Tucumana. Where genre names denote difference and throw up walls, El Cigala tends to see similarities. “[Salsa] has many rhythmic, lyrical and compositional similarities to flamenco,” he noted. “If there is no emotion everything is senseless,” he added. “Listen to salsa, tango, boleros or flamenco, but it has to be something that excites you.”

El Cigala’s genre-evading work with Valdés is invoked explicitly on Indestructible — one of the loveliest moments is “Fiesta Para Bebo,” recorded in memory of Valdés, who passed away in 2013, and several songs on the record are Cuban boleros, recorded in the studio with Alvarez. “They hopefully harken back to what he was doing with Bebo,” Alvarez said of the three songs that he worked on. “I came across Diego in the mid-to-late ’90s at some point in Spain. [Lágrimas Negras] was where I was like, ‘whoa.’ I switched on my student hat: what made this recording really beautiful and really successful?”

El Cigala has long harbored an interest in salsa and Cuban music. “I used to listen to Benny Moré, Antonio Machín, El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, and other artists like them,” he said. “My father would listen to Machín a lot. I felt comfortable with salsa,” he added. “That’s why I did it. I wouldn’t have done anything that would harm the name of salsa — or that of flamenco.”

He started pooling songs for Indestructible in 2013 with help from collaborators like the pianist Jaime Calabuch, who also co-produced the new record. “[They] would bring me music that is not known worldwide, but known in the salsa community or in Cuba,” El Cigala said, along with “all the repertoires of the greats: Cheo Feliciano, Benny MoréHéctor Lavoe. We must have listened to over one hundred songs. At the end we had these eleven wonders.” 

Indestructible includes tracks made famous by Feliciano and Moré as well as a pair popularized by Lavoe. Reflecting salsa’s wide reach and multiple hubs, El Cigala recorded parts of the album in several cities, including Miami, Cali, Columbia, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. “I wasn’t going let the musicians come to me,” he explained, “but rather go to their land and search for them.”

Several songs on the new album appeared on the famous New York salsa label Fania Records, so it was only fitting that El Cigala performed in the city on his short Indestructible tour. He came with a ten piece band, including two trumpets, two trombones, two percussionists, and two backing vocalists who complemented their boss: baby-faced and clean-shaven where he was whiskered, executing taut, synchronized salsa steps while he remained seated. From his perch on a stool, El Cigala engaged in more casual rhythmic activity: clapping, snapping, beating time on this thigh, clinking out the rhythm on his drink glass with a ringed finger. As the night progressed, a shimmy crept in around his shoulders.

The brawny ensemble cohered on the third song, a rendition of “El Paso de Encarnación” (recorded by Machín, among others), and the show then progressed from one peak to the next: a slashing suite of full-band salsa — a series of adroit skirmishes between the band’s various factions — was followed by several ballads with only El Cigala and his pianist, Calabuch. Several of these reached back to Lágrimas Negras; during “Soledad,” from 2010, a man two seats away cried softly. Calabuch signaled a transition by moving from melancholy, empty-saloon figures on the keys to a cool sashay — after a lick, he’d often throw a happy, inquisitive look at El Cigala, as if to say, “what about that one?” — and the band returned for a series of tracks that started slow before heaving back into jubilant, full-tilt call and response.

Alvarez believes El Cigala’s latest genre merger is timely. “The fusion of tropical and flamenco voices seems to be the new thing,” he said. “It started to come on my radar three years ago. I worked with Buika [on La Noche Más Larga]; it was her doing more traditional Cuban songs; there was a little bit of a mixture there already going on. That’s when I started to think about it.

“I fully embrace it, because it bridges both worlds that I come from,” Alvarez continued. “I hope there will be more of these records.”

But it’s likely that El Cigala will move into new territory on his next record, as he has in the past. “I have never sung anything the same way twice,” he said.

See Why Silvia Perez Cruz Won the Goya Award for Best Original Song

The rising singer-songwriter sang a capella at Spain’s movie awards.

Silvia Pérez Cruz — whose nickname could be “goosebumps,” as that word is so often used to describe a reaction to her singing — won in the best original song category at Spain’s 2017 Goya Film Awards.

With a voice at once deeply rooted and otherworldly, the Catalan singer-songwriter has been an ever-rising artist in Spain over the past decade and has fast been enchanting fans abroad.

At the Goya Awards on Saturday night (Feb. 4), she showed everyone why.

Pérez Cruz won the award for best original song in a movie for “Ai, Ai, Ai,” featured in Cerca de tu Casa — a movie in which she also stars, and for which she was nominated in the best new actress category. The film by Eduard Cortés centers on the struggles of people who were evicted during Spain’s recent financial crisis — tens of thousands of Spaniards lost their homes when they could not make their mortgages.

Accepting her award, Pérez Cruz paid homage to those evicted, not with “Ai, Ai, Ai,” but with another song she wrote for the soundtrack of Cerca de tu Casa, “No Hay Tanto Pan” (“There Isn’t So Much Bread”).

Watch Pérez Cruz sing the moving song at the Goya Awards’ podium, heavy trophy in hand.

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Marc Anthony’s Magnus Media Launches Talent Division: Exclusive

Magnus Media, the Miami-based, entertainment company launched by superstar Marc Anthony and Michel Vega, has now added a booking division to its roster of operations, Billboard has learned. 

Magnus, which was launched in early 2015 and already includes a label, management, publishing, merchandising and distribution divisions, will now officially open the Magnus Talent Agency. 
The new division will be directly run by Vega, Magnus’ CEO, who as the longtime former head of Latin music at WME booked some of Latin music’s premiere acts, including Juanes and Pitbull.

Magnus Talent has also hired Rosa Guzmán, as a talent agent. Guzman, who was most recently at CAA in Miami, previously worked with Vega at WME.

The new agency will announce a roster shortly that will include musical artists, comedians and athletes, who are a big part of Magnus’ overall roster. Aside from booking Latin talent, Magnus will also offer booking services to general market artists who want to expand their business to Latin America. One of the new company’s selling points is that it will be able leverage its multiple capabilities — including setting up brand partnerships and VIP ticketing programs — to its booking clients.

Anthony and Vega launched Magnus Media in 2015 as an entertainment, branding, marketing, social media and content development company with a roster of top influencers, and built around his own expertise as a global star. 

The company has grown steadily and its roster includes successful musical acts like Gente de Zona, Venezuelan duo Chino y Nacho and superstar Alejandro Sanz (signed to a strategic marketing deal) plus radio personality Enrique Santos, who last year was named chairman and Chief Creative Officer of the new iHeartLatino division of iHeartMedia, in a deal brokered by Magnus.

Magnus also includes Magnus Sports, a fully integrated division whose clients include four-time Major League pitcher Aroldis Chapman, plus a publishing division launched as a joint venture relationship with Pulse Music Group.

The company’s relationship with CMN, which has long booked Anthony as well as Gente de Zona, will not change. 

Maluma Achieves Rare Feat: Nos. 1 & 2 on Latin Airplay Chart

Only five other acts have simultaneously scored the No. 1 and No. 2 spots in the 23-year history of the chart.

Maluma becomes only the sixth act to concurrently hold the No. 1 and No. 2 spots on the Latin Airplay chart as “Sin Contrato” soars 7-1 on the Feb. 11-dated chart. At the same time, the singer remains at No. 2 as a featured act on Shakira’s “Chantaje” for a third straight week. At 23-years-old, he is the youngest artist to rule the top two spots on the chart, and the first to do so since 2011.

Previous to Maluma, the youngest artist to conquer the No. 1 and No. 2 spots was Alejandro Fernandez, who at 25 ruled the chart for two straight weeks in January of 1998 with “En El Jardin,” featuring Gloria Estefan, at No. 1, while “Si Tu Supieras” was No. 2.

Selena spent the most weeks holding both top spots. Beginning four months after the Tejano superstar died, she spent six non-consecutive weeks at the top with “Tu Solo Tu” and “I Could Fall In Love,” between July and September in 1995. She would have been 24-years-old.

The most recent artist to achieve the feat was Pitbull on the Oct. 15, 2011-dated list. He crowned the chart with “Rain On Me,” featuring Marc Anthony, while “Give Me Everything,” featuring Ne-Yo, Afrojack and Nayer, held the No. 2 slot.

The other acts to simultaneously hold the top two spots are Juan Luis Guerra and Juanes. 

Maluma’s No. 1s on Latin Airplay
Title, peak date (weeks at No. 1)
“Borro Cassette,” Nov. 21, 2015 (three weeks)
“El Perdedor,” featuring Yandel, Aug. 13, 2016 (one week)
“Vente Pa’ Ca” (Ricky Martin featuring Maluma), Oct. 15, 2016 (two weeks)
“Chantaje” (Shakira featuring Maluma), Nov. 19, 2016 (three weeks)
“Sin Contrato,” featuring Fifth Harmony or Don Omar and Wisin, Feb. 11, 2017 (one week, so far)

“Sin Contrato,” which boasts a version featuring Fifth Harmony and one featuring Don Omar and Wisin, as well as Maluma’s original solo version, rises to te top boosted by a 38 percent at the radio format (to 15.1 million audience impressions in the week ending Jan. 29, according to Nielsen Music).

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Meanwhile, on Hot Latin Songs (which blends airplay, sales and streams), “Sin Contrato” earns a new peak hopping 13-7, reaching the top 10 for the first time in its 22nd charting frame. In addition to the on-air increase, 1.4 million U.S. streams (down 1 percent, in the week ending Jan. 26) also support the climb, which marks the singer’s fifth top 10.

Elsewhere on the charts, Maluma vaults 25-5 on Top Latin Albums with Pretty Boy Dirty Boy, with 2,000 equivalent album units earned, during the chart’s first week as a consumption based ranking. The updated chart switched to a multi-metric methodology, blending pure album sales, track equivalent album (TEA) units, and streaming equivalent album (SEA) units. Under the previous album-sales-only formula, the set debuted at No. 1 on the Nov. 21, 2015 chart. The jump marks the first time that the set returns to the top five since its arrival.

Finally, Maluma also lifts 14-10 on the Social 50 chart, which is powered by data tracked by music analytics company Next Big Sound, and ranks the most popular artists on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Wikipedia, and Tumblr. He previously peaked at No. 7 on the Dec. 24 ranking.

Jennifer Lopez Speaks Out Against Trump’s Immigration Ban: ‘We Are All Immigrants’

After President Donald Trump’s executive action on immigration and refugees, Jennifer Lopez took to social media to stand in solidarity with immigrants around the country with a post she captioned, “We are all immigrants.”

The multifaceted artist added: “Honestly, I feel like we are in a nightmare right now! In a country founded by immigrants how did immigrant become a bad word!!!”

J.Lo, who was a supporter of Hillary Clinton’s during the 2016 presidential election, joins a handful of musicians who have spoken out in protest of Trump’s order banning refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. — part of which was then blocked by a federal judge in New York.

Elkin Ramirez, Colombia’s ‘Rock Titan’ and Leader of Kraken, Dies at 54

Fans worldwide mourn death of singer seen as the Colombian Freddie Mercury

Elkin Ramírez, known as Colombia’s “rock titan,” died Sunday (Jan. 29) in Medellín. Ramírez, the leader of pioneering Colombian metal band Kraken, was 54 years old.

Colombian newspapers El Tiempo and El Espectador both carried news of the rocker’s death on their websites’ homepages. Juanes was among the fans who mourned Ramírez on Twitter, where Ramírez’s death was a worldwide trending topic. Juanes quoted from a favorite Kraken song called “Muere Libre” (“Die Free”).

Ramírez was a legend on the Colombian rock scene whose fame incited rumors, including one that he was set to replace Freddie Mercury as the lead singer of Queen, according to newspaper reports.

Kraken, considered one of Colombia’s most iconic rock bands, came out of Medellín in the mid-1980s and had a string of hits including “Vestido de Cristal” and “Lenguaje de mi Piel.” The band’s latest album, Kraken VI, was released last fall, after Ramírez had been treated for a brain tumor in 2015. At the end of 2016 he was again admitted to a hospital in Medellín, where he passed away.

“Your spirit will remain in each of us,” his bandmates posted on Kraken’s Facebook page. “In our days, in our projects and even in each breath.” 

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Carlos Vives Announces U.S. Tour Dates: Exclusive

Following the release of Carlos Vives‘ new single and music video “Al filo de tu amor,” the chart-topping artist announces dates for his upcoming U.S. tour, set to kick off April 15 in New York.

The Colombian singer/songwriter will make stops in other major cities, including Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago. “I’m very happy to reunite with my fans across the U.S. on this magical journey” Vives says in a statement. Tickets will go on sale Friday (Jan. 27). 

The tour announcement comes a day after Vives dropped the second single from his forthcoming studio album, which will also include his smash hit “La bicicleta,” featuring Shakira.  

Check out Carlos Vives’ U.S. tour dates below: 

April 15         New York, NY         Radio City Music Hall

April 16         Chicago, IL             Rosemont Theatre

May 4            Houston, TX           Smart Financial Centre

May 5th         Las Vegas, NV       The Pearl at The Palms

May 7            Los Angeles, CA    The Greek Theater

May 12          Atlanta, GA             Fox Theatre

May 13          Miami, FL               American Airlines Arena

May 14          Orlando, FL            Amway Center

Hear Jorge Drexler’s ‘Bridges Not Walls’ Anthem ‘Puentes’

The singer/songwriter recently named Ibero-American Cultural Ambassador joins global “Bridges Not Walls” movement with music

Jorge Drexler has written a new song in support of the global movement to “build bridges, not walls.”

Drexler, the Uruguayan singer/songwriter known for music that speaks of the human journey, posted a video of himself singing “Puentes” on Sat. (Jan. 20). He also published the lyrics of the song, noting it was written “a day before Trump’s assumption.” He also acknowledged that Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem” had served as inspiration, quoting the line “there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in” in his Twitter post.

“Long live everyone who is brave enough to raise a bridge and the brave one who crosses it,” sings Drexler — albeit sounding more poetic in Spanish — in the song.

Drexler’s song coincided with a widespread show of support for the “Bridges Not Walls” movement on Jan. 20, in which people around the world stood on bridges holding banners with anti-racist and pro-unity slogans. The movement, started in the U.K., adopted Martin Luther King Jr.’s urging to “build bridges, not walls.”

This past November, Drexler, who lives in Spain, was named Ibero-American Cultural Ambassador at the celebration of the tenth anniversary of UNESCO’s Ibero-American Cultural Charter. At the meeting in Montevideo, Drexler said he would “create bridges between the different sectors of the Ibero-American world.”  The musician succeeds Argentine ballet dancer Julio Bocca as ambassador.

Drexler, whose father fled Nazi Germany as a child, contributed a song to the 2016 album Refugio del Sonido (Refuge of Sound) a project spearheaded by Javier Limon to benefit refugees.

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