Who will have a big night at the 2023 Latin Grammys? Each year, Billboard offers its analysis of who will win and who should win in the main categories (song of the year, record of the year, album of the year and best new artist).
This year, leading up to Latin Grammys on Thursday (Nov. 16), we’ve gathered our Latin editorial team and embarked on a lively discussion, with educated guesses based on the marketplace and past voting behavior (not endorsements). Our participants are Leila Cobo, Billboard’s chief content officer, Latin/Español; Jessica Roiz, assistant editor, Latin; Griselda Flores, senior writer, Latin; Ingrid Fajardo, social media manager & Latin’s staff writer; Sigal Ratner-Arias, Billboard Español’s deputy editor; and Isabela Raygoza, Billboard Español’s associate editor.
For the first time held outside the United States, the annual Latin Grammys will be broadcast from the Conference and Exhibition Centre in Seville, Spain on Nov. 16 on Univision starting at 8 p.m. ET, UniMás and Galavisión in the U.S., and at 10:30 p.m. CET on Radiotelevisión Española (RTVE) in Spain. Danna Paola, Sebastián Yatra, Roselyn Sánchez and Paz Vega will serve as co-hosts.
Here are our predictions:
Record of the year
“No Es Que Te Extrañe,” Christina Aguilera
“Carretera y Manta,” Pablo Alborán
“Déjame Llorarte,” Paula Arenas Featuring Jesús Navarro
“Shakira: Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53,” Bizarrap Featuring Shakira
“Si Tú Me Quieres,” Fonseca & Juan Luis Guerra
“Mientras Me Curo Del Cora,” Karol G
“De Todas Las Flores,” Natalia Lafourcade
“Ojos Marrones,” Lasso
“La Fórmula,” Maluma & Marc Anthony
“Correcaminos,” Alejandro Sanz Featuring Danny Ocean
Griselda Flores: I think Shakira and Bizarrap should win and will win. “Shakira: Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53” is the perfect example of a song that should be up for record of the year, because this honors the producer and Bizarrap is super hot right now. Pair him up with Shakira, who’s had a massive year, and they double their chances of winning. They are two well-known names for voters, and because of that and because the production of this song is incomparable, it deserves to win. That music session also had a massive impact culturally — it was playing everywhere!
Leila Cobo: The Shakira Bizarrap session should win. I think that the way Bizarrap produced this track is really masterful — so is the way he produces every track for every artist, but what he did here, just like quoting her old songs and making the references that are both lyrical and musical, is so clever. He was able to read her. There’s a lot to discover in that song, and I think from a production standpoint, it was brilliantly done. It’s a great example of production and songwriting being done at the same time — you could almost see this whole thing being created before your eyes. However, I’m not sure it will win. Voters might go for Christina Aguilera’s “No Es Que Te Extrañe,” Pablo Alborán’s “Carretera y Manta” or Fonseca and Juan Luis Guerra’s “Si Tú Me Quieres,” which is a beautiful song.
Sigal Ratner-Arias: I agree with you, Leila. I feel that Bizarrap’s song with Shakira stands out, because it’s so different and so original musically, in terms of the lyrics and how it’s put together. It’s very masterfully done, every detail of the song is perfect. On the other hand, I don’t know if it’s going to win, because it could go to “Si Tú Me Quieres,” which is very beautiful. I re-listened to Lasso’s “Ojos Marrones” and I think it’s perfect pop from start to finish and beautifully produced. That has a chance, too.
Isabela Raygoza: Not to jump on the bandwagon but the Shakira-Bizarrap session is also my favorite, although I suspect the winner could be Natalia Lafourcade’s “De Todas Las Flores.” I think it’s such a beautiful recording. She’s a darling for the Latin Grammys and it was captured on analog tape and produced by Adan Jodorowsky, the French-Mexican producer, who is a fantastic musician. The live instruments and how the orchestration comes together really did it for me. I predict that song will win, but my favorite is Bizarrap and Shakira’s session.
Jessica Roiz: I would love to see Shakira and Bizarrap take it, because it would make a statement given how powerful this song was when it dropped at the beginning of the year. However, I do have other favorites on this list that have grown on me musically. “La Formula” is one of those, because it has really good melodies — it’s not your typical salsa song, it has some urban in there. I feel that the Recording Academy noticed it too, and that’s why it’s on the list. But I also agree with Sigal about “Ojos Marrones.” I wouldn’t be mad if Lasso takes it.
Ingrid Fajardo: It would be nice if Shakira won, but I feel that it also might not go to her. I agree about “Ojos Marrones” having a big chance, but my favorite is Karol G’s “Mientras Me Curo del Cora.” The way they created that song with the chorus really moved me. That added a lot to the production.
Album of the year
La Cu4rta Hoja, Pablo Alborán
A Ciegas, Paula Arenas
De Adentro Pa Afuera, Camilo
Décimo Cuarto, Andrés Cepeda
Vida Cotidiana, Juanes
Mañana Será Bonito, Karol G
De Todas Las Flores, Natalia Lafourcade
Play, Ricky Martin
EADDA9223, Fito Paez
Escalona Nunca Se Había Grabado Así, Carlos Vives
Ratner-Arias: Natalia is on the list and she is a darling, and presents another album with classic sounds and deep lyrics, folkloric and poetic sounds. But Karol’s Mañana Será Bonito presents a very contemporary and eclectic album with an inspiring message of empowerment, and it touched the hearts of so many people. This is the album of the year with songs like “Provenza,” “Mientras Me Curo del Cora,” “TQG” with Shakira. It should win, and hopefully it will.
Cobo: I second all of that. And yes, the Latin Grammys could make a statement by giving it to a woman, but also give value the things that are [commercially] successful. But Juanes or Natalia Lafourcade could also win.
Flores: I will say these are all solid albums — it’s a tough choice. I had to write up this category for our Latin Grammys guide, so I listened to all the nominated sets and some here are truly moving. Paula Arenas and Andres Cepeda’s respective albums are really gorgeous. But I do have to say that Mañana Será Bonito, being as intentional as it is and a history-making album, should win and will win. Karol G deserves that recognition. I’m rooting for her.
Fajardo: Karol’s album was a complete mix of everything, and it was super empowering, but in a soulful way: the importance of healing yourself. That album made me feel all the emotions, and you don’t always connect like that with an entire album.
Raygoza: I actually also really like Carlos Vives’ album. I know it’s not a popular choice, but it’s a beautiful contribution to Latin music in general. While he continues to update vallenato for this generation, he does resurrect the music de Rafael Escalona, whom he famously played in his telenovela. He delivers that zest for life, the music, the production, and I really love that he honors Escalona’s unique way of songwriting. The lyrics and the music are beautiful, and it offers diversity to the Latin genre.
Roiz: Maybe Carlos Vives can take this one. He puts so much hard work and research into all his projects. He’s so passionate about his genre, and that reflects in his music, so I feel that his hard work will be rewarded as album of the year. He goes that extra mile to bring out these types of albums, like he did with Cumbiana. But I also think Vida Cotidiana by Juanes could win because it’s Juanes’ comeback album. But Karol G’s Mañana Será Bonito should win. More than Karol experimenting with genres, it really shows her healing process, and it made a lot of us heal along with her.
Song of the year
“Acróstico,” Kevyn Mauricio Cruz Moreno, L.E.X.U.Z, Luis Fernando Ochoa & Shakira, songwriters (Shakira)
“Amigos,” Pablo Alborán & Maria Becerra, songwriters (Pablo Alborán Featuring Maria Becerra)
“De Todas Las Flores,” Natalia Lafourcade, songwriter (Natalia Lafourcade)
“Ella Baila Sola,” Pedro Julian Tovar Oceguera, songwriter (Eslabon Armado, Peso Pluma)
“NASA,” Edgar Barrera, Camilo & Alejandro Sanz, songwriters (Camilo & Alejandro Sanz)
“Ojos Marrones,” Luis Jiménez, Lasso & Agustín Zubillaga, songwriters (Lasso)
“Shakira: Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53,” Santiago Alvarado, Bizarrap, Kevyn Mauricio Cruz & Shakira, songwriters (Bizarrap Featuring Shakira)
“Si Tú Me Quieres,” Fonseca, Yadam González & Yoel Henríquez, songwriters (Fonseca & Juan Luis Guerra)
“TQG,” Kevyn Mauricio Cruz, Karol G, Ovy On The Drums & Shakira, songwriters (Karol G Featuring Shakira)
“un X100to,” Bad Bunny, Edgar Barrera, Marco Daniel Borrero & Andres Jael Correa Rios, songwriters (Grupo Frontera Featuring Bad Bunny)
Flores: I would love to say that “Ella Baila Sola” is going to win, but I think this made more sense as record of the year, because the sound is so refreshing and it put at the forefront a new style of musica Mexicana with charchetas, trambones, a tololoche. I’m not sure it has a good chance to win song of the year. My prediction is that “un x100to” will win, because the Academy will want to recognize a regional Mexican song, and with superstar Bad Bunny attached and Edgar Barrera as its songwriter — who is the most nominated artist this year — I think it could take the award.
Cobo: This is a hard one. I think “Ella Baila Sola” could win. It so deserves to win. The other day I was in an Uber with a Cuban driver who he had a playlist of reggaeton, and suddenly “Ella Baila Sola” comes on. This song pierced through everything. This is perhaps the only regional Mexican song that doesn’t live solely on regional Mexican playlists. I think that song should win, I hope it does. It’s a gem. If not, “TQG” by Karol and Shakira could win. But if they are going to go the Grammy way, it could go to Alejandro Sanz and Camilo for “NASA.”
Raygoza: I also agree that “Ella Baila Sola” should’ve been in record of the year category. It really gets you up on your feet. It’s transcended so much. This category is one of the most difficult for me because there are so many good ones. I want to mention Shakira’s music session with Bizarrap. Leila wrote a great article where she dissected the lyrics and how forward and upfront it is to name-call someone, but in such a brilliant way. The unapologetic storytelling is a significant departure from the typical breakup song. The songwriting in general is so bold, and I think it would be unconventional for the Academy to award this song, but I do feel that it embodies all characteristics to win this category as well. However, it’s not the song I think will win. Grupo Frontera and Bad Bunny integrated in an incredible way to bring that song to life. The songwriting is very clever, and I love the way that the title “un x100to” juxtaposes the enduring power of love with the short-lived life of a cellphone. Bad Bunny’s way of delivering the song is seamless. It’s an irresistible cumbia, norteño song.
Ratner-Arias: I would love to see that song win but, although it may come as a surprise to you, of all three Shakira songs that are here, the one that has the best chance of winning song of the year is “Acróstico.” It is one of the most sensitive and vulnerable songs, not from a Colombian superstar, but from a mother and wife. It has heartbreakingly sensitive lyrics, written in an acoustic way with the names of her children, and Shakira exhibits a mixture of vulnerability and strength while trying to come out of that dark stage of her life. I think “Acróstico” has a chance.
Roiz: I would say “Ella Baila Sola” and “Un x100to” should win for the reasons you’ve all mentioned. Regional Mexican has had such a big moment, so how can the genre not win song of the year? But also “TQG” is up there for me, because everytime I hear it, I think of how important it is for women now to listen to this song because it’s so full of empowerment. This isn’t the type of songs we grew up with, which had a more submissive theme.
Fajardo: I feel that “NASA” has a high probability of winning. Regardless of the fact that they are all darlings, Camilo, Alejandro Sanz and Edgar Barrera, this song thrives in storytelling. I would also like Shakira and Bizarrap to win — the way they composed the song is incredible.
Best new artist
Ana Del Castillo
Flores: I think this is a good best new artist category. Mostly all artists nominated are actually super new. I think GALE should win. For starters, she’s been a songwriter for major artists — that will help her — and now she’s making a space for herself as a recording artist. She’s talented both as a singer and songwriter. Her sound is very different too — she can do pop, rock, ballad, urban. She’s very diverse, and I like what she brings to the table.
Cobo: It’s a big advantage that GALE has written for a lot of big names. She’s been in the room with a lot of writers and producers, a lot of people that vote, and that will go in her favor.
Ratner-Arias: I am between GALE and Joaquina. GALE seems to be a spectacular artist — we saw her in concert last year at Latin Music Week, and she impacted me there. She’s also written for many people, so she has the chops, she has the look, she has everything to be a super artist and she will go far. But the award will go to Joaquina. Since she emerged from Julio Reyes Copello’s Arthouse before signing with Universal, I was impressed by her ability to tell stories with deep themes that affect her generation, with a lyrical and musical sensibility that goes beyond her years.
Juan Luis Guerra told me the other day, “Have you heard Joaquina?,” because he knows I am Venezuelan. He is impressed by her and told me that she reminds him of Shakira in her beginnings. I feel that she has connected with her generation, the girls at her shows sing at the top of their lungs. She has a sweetness, charisma and sincerity that is necessary among so much superficiality. She has much deeper lyrics of the same love that Shakira once sang about in her beginnings.
Roiz: I would like to see GALE take this award. I remember we had a WhatsApp dinner two years ago in Los Angeles for Women’s History Month, and I sat next to her and that’s where I met her. She told me she was so nervous about launching her music career. Everything about her — from her personality to her lyrics about unsolicited D-pics, which is something her generation deals with — is very honest, which I like, and she is like a modern-day Avril Lavigne, a rocker girl who can adapt to any genre. I hope she wins. I’m also a sucker for Leon Leiden because he’s so innovative. He’s also so refreshing, but I don’t think he’ll win.
Raygoza: When I saw GALE sing live in New York, I was very impressed. She reminded me of female rockers of the ’90s. She has that essence — her delivery, her confidence. She’s very cool and very likable. Another nominee I would like to see win is Ana del Castillo. She has a powerful voice and she is very promising in the vallenato genre. She’s been around and has a trajectory in the genre and she boasts a very tough persona. She’s sensual but tough and can hang out with the boys. I like that tough personality in a female to show that badass-ery. Either GALE or Ana would be cool to win the award.
Fajardo: I like GALE. She has a very good chance of winning. I’m with Isabela about Ana del Castillo, because she is the only woman who represents her genre. She may be a bit too sexy, but she is the female version of vallenato. But I’m not sure she has a real chance of winning.
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