Every month, Billboard Latin editors will feature a small group of new or relatively unknown 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.
Check out our recommendations this month:
Country: Puerto Rico
Why They Should Be on Your Radar: I first discovered Alejo through his hit “Pantysito” in collaboration with Feid and rising star Robi, which went viral on TikTok before it was even released. With his good-boy-next-door aura, this 18-year-old artist brings a fresh and distinct vibe to the genre. His recently released EP Full Discoteka is a deep dive into the club scene, taking you one by one with its reggaeton beats and urban EDM sounds. Alejo’s currently teasing sound bites of the highly anticipated “Pantysito” (Remix), which will become an addition to his collaborations with Karol G, Feid, Jay Wheeler and Lola Indigo, to name a few. — INGRID FAJARDO
Song for Your Playlist: “Pantysito” – Feid, Alejo & Robi
Artist: Daniel, Me Estas Matando
Why They Should Be on Your Radar: Daniel, Me Estas Matando is the type of band that once you start listening to their music, you’ll have it on rotation. Founded in 2018, the band — led by Daniel Zepeda e Iván de la Rioja — are known for its neo-bolero (or their self-described bolero-glam) sound that is packed with nostalgia. The Mon Laferte-approved band tugs at your heartstrings with poignant songs on love and heartbreak. — GRISELDA FLORES
Song for Your Playlist: “Lo Hice, Te Dejé”
Artist: Kat & Alex
Country: Nashville-based but of Cuban (Kat) and Puerto Rican (Alex) descent
Why They Should Be on Your Radar: Scrolling on TikTok, per usual, I came across Tim McGraw reacting to a video of a cover that “blew me away.” Turns out, he was speaking of up-and-coming Latin country duo Kat & Alex, a talented married couple, who first got on the radar on American Idol. Based in Nashville but of Cuban and Puerto Rican descent, the duo kicked off its musical project in 2020, delivering heartfelt bilingual songs that “embody classic country stylings and values, but also rewrite the rules with a Latin twist,” as described on their YouTube channel. On TikTok, the musical pair is all the rage, racking up nearly half a million followers, mainly drawn by their enthralling harmonizing vocals. — JESSICA ROIZ
Song for Your Playlist: “Yo Quiero Amarte”
Artist: Kevin Kaarl
Why They Should Be on Your Radar: Kevin Kaarl is music for the soul. The 22-year-old’s emotionally layered folk ballads provide a soundtrack for any sort of life experience that requires introspection. With his distinctive hoarse vocals, prickly guitar notes, and deep lyricism that sort of leave you shook up, Kaarl invites us to be vulnerable and brave at the same time. — G.F.
Song for Your Playlist: “San Lucas”
Country: Puerto Rico
Why They Should Be on Your Radar: With oversized tees, baggy pants, tons of chains, and unapologetically open-minded lyricism, paopao is out to make a statement in the urban industry. The rising singer-songwriter, who signed with indie label RichMusic in 2021 and is already a Latin Grammy winner, recently reeled in newcomers La Gabi, Villano Antillano, Aria Vega and Cami Da Baby for the female-led project hembrismo. Again, I discovered her on TikTok but recently met her in person at a music event in Puerto Rico, where I can verify that she may be small in size but her bright personality fills the room. — J.R.
Song for Your Playlist: “diablo” – paopao, ROBI