Music

Lomiiel, SpiffHappy & More Emerging Latin Artists on Our Radar

Every month, Billboard Latin and Billboard Español editors spotlight a group of rising artists whose music we love. Think “diamantes en bruto,” or “diamonds in the rough.” These are newcomers who have yet to impact the mainstream — but whose music excites us, and who we believe our readers should make a point to discover.

Our latest edition of On the Radar Latin includes a wave of emerging artists, who we discovered either by networking or coming across their music at a showcase, and beyond. See our recommendations this month below:

Artist: Augusto Tamayo

Country: Colombia

Why They Should Be on Your Radar: After more than 20 years as a songwriter, instrumentalist and arranger, with credits on productions by stars including Carlos Vives, Fito Páez and Andrés Cepeda, Colombian musician Augusto Tamayo made his debut as a performer last month with the album Perfectamente Imperfecto., released on May 29. Driven largely by piano, the 11-track set includes songs about love and heartbreak, loss and pain, performed with great sensibility and beautifully produced. Tamayo, who was trained in composition, piano, orchestration and jazz and contemporary music, seems to have poured both his soul and his two-decade experience in this work. — SIGAL RATNER-ARIAS

Song For Your Playlist: “Perfectamente Imperfecto”

Artist: Briella

Country: Venezuela

Why They Should Be on Your Radar: Urban music artist Briella, whose real name is María Gabriela Otaiza, is one of the genre’s emerging talents gaining popularity from her native Venezuela. The singer began her career in music in 2021 and has captured the public’s attention with songs like “UN BETA,” “QLQ,” and “PARTY TETEO.”

But her most successful song to date is “Coquette,” a catchy cumbia-influenced reggaetón released in February, which to date has amassed more than 18 million views on YouTube. Recently, she released the remix of this song with Argentineans La Joaqui and Yami Safdie, further increasing her reach. Briella’s musical style, which fuses urban and pop rhythms, along with her charismatic presence on social networks, has allowed her to gain followers every day. Recently, she had her first concert in Venezuela, where she also connected with her roots by performing one of her songs in joropo style. — LUISA CALLE

Song for Your Playlist: “Coquette”

Artist: Alayn García

Country: Cuba

Why They Should Be on Your Radar: Hailing from Camagüey, Cuba, Alayn García is a percussionist-turned-singer, who this year embarked on his solo career with his debut single “Se Va.” Produced by Cuban hitmaker Mr. Vla, the tropical tune — which narrates the story of a man who’s done with girl’s who play with him — sets the tone for García’s proposal: a modern take on contemporary salsa music. As a musician, García has collaborated with multiple salsa giants including Victor Manuelle, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Andy Montañez and Tito Nieves. Additionally, García is Rey Ruiz’s longtime backup vocalist and percussionist, and is currently on tour with the Cuban-born artist. — JESSICA ROIZ

Song for Your Playlist: “Se Va”

Artist: Lomiiel

Country: Dominican Republic

Why They Should Be on Your Radar: I vividly remember the day I discovered Lomiiel — it was at a friend’s pool party, where her neighbor next door blasted a catchy tune that immediately caught my attention. The song was fun. The voice was different. It was a refreshing take on dembow. With “Hay Lupita,” the teen Dominican artist born Marco Antonio Santana and hailing from La Romana has captured a new generation — one that’s probably discovering dembow until now. With its sped-up drum pattern and carefree energy, “Lupita” — about a girl who looks good and is moving her hips to the beat — has garnered over 800K video creations on TikTok and over 20 million views on YouTube, and has spent seven weeks in the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart, further demonstrating that Lomiiel is the new face of the Dominican urban movement. — J.R.

Song for Your Playlist: “Hay Lupita”

Artist: MARI “La Carajita”

Country: Venezuela

Why They Should Be on Your Radar: When I first listened to the song MARI will release on June 28, I was instantly hooked. “Prioridad” is a hip-swiveling cumbia-pop that’s both sonically catchy and lyrically deep. Penned by the Venezuelan singer-songwriter, the track is a departure from what she’s previously release. Sounding right at home in her upcoming tejano-leaning song, MARI is actually most known for her reggaetón, swag-heavy tunes. It’s refreshing to see an up-and-coming artist with that versatility and confidence to dabble in different genres early on in her career. For now, check out her latest release, the reggaetón drums-powered “Facetime,” and on Friday, be on the lookout for “Prioridad.” — GRISELDA FLORES

Song for Your Playlist: “Facetime”

Artist: SpliffHappy

Country: U.S. (of Mexican descent) 

Why They Should Be on Your Radar: Corridos verdes was a vibrant subgenre, mainly flourishing predominantly in the West Coast, reaching a high in 2018 with bands like Legado 7 and T3R Elemento leading the charge. Since then, the genre has seen new buds of música mexicana sprout, with artists such as Natanael Cano, Peso Pluma and Lenin Ramirez nodding to cannabis culture — though the trend has mellowed in intensity over time.

Enter SpliffHappy, a Brooklyn-bred artist with Mexican roots, who dropped a single bien tumbado dubbed “Ando” in May. Backed by an ensemble of corridos musicians, SpliffHappy delves into the corridos scene for the first time, pouring his soul into Spanish lyrics about gray days brightened by the occasional spliff. Initially recognized for his trap tunes in English, his latest Spanish-singing venture in “Ando” showcases intriguing vocals and features a video of him and a large crew taking over the corner block, promising a new high in his musical career. — ISABELA RAYGOZA

Song For Your Playlist: “Ando”

Artist: Yami Safdie

Country: Argentina

Why They Should Be on Your Radar: Some of the strengths of talented singer-songwriter Yami Safdie, whose full name is Yamila Safdie, are her distinctive voice color and the depth of her lyrics. The Argentine singer-songwriter and influencer began her musical career in 2017 with sporadic singles, but it was in 2022 when she released her first album, Dije Que No Me Iba a Enamorar, after signing with Warner Music the previous year.

This album includes “El bolero,” her most successful song, in collaboration with rapper Milo J — which has accumulated more than 88 million streams on Spotify. She and Milo J have also collaborated on the song “Carencias de Cordura.” With reflective lyrics about love and heartbreak, and a mix of urban elements with cumbia, pop and even bolero, Yami Safdie is building a name for herself in the music scene. She also opened for Luis Miguel during his tour of Argentina. — L.C.

Song for Your Playlist: “El bolero” (feat. Milo J)

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