Five Latino Musical Legends in the Making!

What makes someone a legend? Is it the fact that their red carpet appearances send journalists into a frenzy? Is it their onstage presence? Is it someone whose voice is so incredible that it has the power to cast a spell over millions of people? Or maybe it's their rockstar swagger? The answer is all of the above. There are countless Latino superstars: Gloria Estefan, Ricky Martin, Shakira and Selena Quintanilla — who was taken away from us way too soon. But what about the next generation? 

Here are five Latino musical legends in the making:

1. Next Generation: Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars, 25

Mars is an appropriate name for this Hawaii native's astronomical musical talents! At just 25, the singer — whose music dominates the airwaves — has already shown that he can be a hitmaker as well as a songwriter and producer. Bruno co-wrote the hooks for three huge hits: “Nothin’ on You” by B.o.B, “Billionaire" by Travie McCoy, and "Forget You" by Cee Lo Green. But he's also the voice of his own hits, including the soulful love songs "Just the Way You Are" and "Grenade." One of the most brilliant things about Bruno as an artist is the eclectic range of musical genres he blends together — Motown, reggae, R&B, hip-hop, and pop. Bruno's rise to stardom didn't happen overnight; as a child he would impersonate musical legends like Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson. We wonder if he ever knew he'd be one, too!

 


2. Next Generation: Natalia Jimenez

Natalia Jimenez, 29

The daughter of a Spanish father (who was also a singer) and a Portuguese mother, Natalia rose to fame as the effervescent lead singer of the Spanish pop band, La 5ª Estación. After completing four studio albums with the group (the last one, Sin Frenos, dropped in 2009 and received the Grammy award for Best Latin Pop Album in 2010), Natalia did what many superstars (Ricky MartinFergie) have done before her: she left the group to fly solo. Not only does Natalia have the backing of Sony behind her; she's also being mentored by Gloria and Emilio Estefan in the studio, as she readies her English debut album for the summer of 2011. And while you may love the sound of Natalia on the Spanish version of Ricky Martin's current hit, "The Best Thing About Me is You," we promise you that you're about to be blown away!


3. Next Generation: Diego Boneta

Diego Boneta, 20

Although he’s had recurring roles on hit teen dramas like 90210 and Pretty Little Liars — and got his start in the Mexican soap opera Rebelde — Diego considers himself first and foremost a singer. And with a voice like his we can see why! Already a big deal in South America, the Mexican-born singer released his first Spanish album Diego under EMI Music in 2005, and in 2007, he re-released the album singing all of the songs in Portuguese for an edition that sold over 100,000 copies in Brazil alone. He also sings in English, is easy on the eyes, plays several instruments, and writes most of his own songs! As if that weren't enough, Boneta—who memorably serenaded our readers with Jose Feliciano's "Feliz Navidad"— has just been cast in the highly anticipated movie-musical "Rock of Ages," starring Tom Cruise and Alec Baldwin!

 

 

 


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5. Next Generation: Esperanza Spalding

Esperanza Spalding, 26

Sure, she beat Justin Bieber for Best New Artist at this year's Grammys (making her the first Jazz artist to win the award), but that's not why we think Esperanza is one of the next big ones. Best known as a jazz bassist and singer, Esperanza is a multi-instrumentalist who taught herself how to play the violin at the age of five! At 15, she was already a concertmaster. She also plays the piano, clarinet, violin, oboe and bass, and sings in three languages: English, Spanish and Portugese. Her 2010 album, Chamber Music Society, hit No. 1 on Billboard's Contemporary Jazz Albums chart in 2011, and she recently wrapped a tour with Prince. Plus, the most important man in the free world, President Barack Obama, is a fan. Unlike the Bieber fever, there's no cure for our love of Esperanza!

 


6. Next Generation: Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato, 18

Most Disney stars don't inspire rappers like Timbaland to write songs specifically for them, but then, Demi Lovato isn't your typical Disney star. While she was in rehab getting treatement for physical and emotional issues, Timbaland created a  YouTube video and sent Demi this message: "Demi, I'm so ... I'm sitting here looking. Man, I'm just like, 'Wow.' You are amazing, girl." Timbaland isn't the only one who thinks Demi is brilliant. According to Disney, the part-Mexican actress/singer, who stars on the network's hit show Sonny With a Chance,  has the highest grossing album sales worldwide within the Hollywood Records family—thanks to her albums Don't Forget (2008) and Here We Go Again (2009). Both albums debuted at #2 and #1, respectively, on the Billboard 200. Superstar? We think so.

 

 

 


7. Next Generation: Related Links