The Latin Recording Academy recently announced its nominees for this year's Latin Grammy Awards — and leading the pack is Colombian superstar J Balvin. The multilingual artist who's been busy popularizing his signature style of pop-flavored reggaeton, racked up a whopping eight Grammy noms last week.
Balvin — who recently earned even more major mainstream crossover appeal with his mega-hit, "I Like It" with Cardi B — is being recognized for several of his songs. Both “Mi Gente” (featuring Beyoncé herself) and “X” (with Nicky Jam) are up for Record of the Year. His full-length EP Vibras is also nominated for Album of the Year.
Though many Americans are hearing of Balvin for the first or second time, many more worldwide know him for the superstar he is. His 2015 megahit “Ginza” holds the Guinness World Record for the longest stay at number one on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs charts. Balvin also has continued to be one of the most streamed artists across Spotify and YouTube platforms, with numerous back-to-back number one singles.
This year, the academy says it consciously aimed to recognize a broader and more diverse range of Latinx artists.
“The members of the Latin Recording Academy elected a lot of profound and risk-taking music, not only music that follows commercial patterns, but music that has meaning,” Gabriel Abaroa, president and CEO of the Latin Recording Academy, told Rolling Stone. “The members are trying to really recognize excellence based on freshness, lyrics, and orchestration, and that is what gives you a very complete balance of names — whether they are urban superstars like J Balvin, legendary singer-songwriters like Jorge Drexler, or up-and-coming artists such as Rosalía.”
Female artists were also more recognized than in years past, with Spanish flamenco-revivalist Rosalía following Balvin's lead with five nominations. The 19th Annual Latin Grammy Awards ceremony will take place November 15 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.