Estudio Billboard: The Hottest Latin Music Stars
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Leila Cobo, executive editor for Latin content and programming for Billboard, magazine, is an expert and trusted voice in Latino music. It is why her show Estudio Billboard on Vme TV is so fantastic and respected.
It’s an hour with the currently hot, the much beloved — past and present — in all realms of Latin music. Everybody from Angelica Maria to Gloria Estefan to Juanes to Belinda and Pitbull. Not only does the show offer up in-depth and personal interviews, the singer/songwriters all perform live before a studio audience.
Tonight’s show features Jencarlos Canela, the young Cuban-American best known for his role in the telenovela “Mas Sabe el Diablo’’ and his musical album, Búscame. It airs at 10 p.m. EST and repeats at 8 p.m. EST Sunday, Oct. 24.
Big stars have included Laura Pausini, Daniel Rivera, and La Banda el Recodo, a hugely popular Mexican band, and of course cubanito rapper Pitbull, which you can see in an interview excerpt above.
You can see other excerpts of the show on the Web or watch it on Vme, which airs on local public TV stations across the United States. (Click here to find your local Vme channel.)
Cobo, a native of Colombia and resident of Miami, spoke to us from her home in South Florida recently. Read on for some great information about the show and Latin music.
How do you describe Estudio Billboard?
LC: “The way I always describe it, “Inside the Actors Studio, but about music. It is a really in-depth show with one artist and we talk about everything.
“I tell the artists, you have to feel like you’re in your living room, you shouldn’t be worried, don’t be crazed if I ask something you don’t want to answer, just say ‘I don’t want to talk about it.’ It hasn’t happened yet. The intent is not to feel like I am grilling them. This is comfortable.”
“This is a very musical season and people really perform their stuff and it is not like every single other Spanish-language television show where you perform and it is not a real performance. Here, everybody performs live. It is a requirement for the show because these are real musicians who can show us their craft in an intimate, live setting and do it convincingly.”
What is the hottest sound right now in Latin Music?
LC: “What his hot can be found on the Billboard chart, but what is hot is not necessarily what is good. To find what you like, you just have to listen to music. Too bad there are so few music stores.
“I recently found out about iTunes radio. I am so lame, I did not know you could do this, but the other day I was in Mexico and I ran into Juanes and he told me about it. You can listen to International, World, Latin, bachata, batanga. Everything.
In your interviews, you uncover nuggets of truth and insight. Is that the point?
LC: “There are always really good things in each show. Paquita la del Barrio is a Mexican singer and she sings these songs that are canciones de despecho about how bad men are. Her husband was two-timing her so she began to sing these songs to express what she thought. (Title examples: Rata de dos Patas, ¿Me estás oyendo, inútil?”) I always ask, what is your vicio preferido and she likes to play the little slots in the casinos.
“In the Belinda interview, I was very impressed with how she sang and how she carries herself. She’s 20 and acts 30. She spoke about her dad, writing with her dad. She carries herself with maturity.”
You were interviewed in the wonderful PBS documentary, Latin Music, U.S.A., which tracked the evolution of Latin music in the United States. What do you think is the “next’ sound?
LC: “I really don’t see a concrete “next” sound. I think bachata has gained new life thanks to Aventura, and although no other bachata act comes even close to their success, there is renewed interest in the genre. What I do see is a growing Latin urban movement that is very different from the mainstream in that it is really a blend of pop, I guess a la Rihanna or Jay-Z, danceable, that blends a little of tradition — salsa, merengue, bachata—with reggaeton, R&B and other urban sounds. I hear it in acts like Aventura (again), Wisin y Yandel, Don Omar, Chino y Nacho. Now, that kind of thing is relatively new and beginning to work in and out of the U.S.
Which artists should we be looking at more closely, or what rhythm/fusion?
LC: “There is so much…Reggaeton is very fused now. Don Omar is coming out with a new album and he collaborates with a bunch of artists and producers and that is a good album. There is Wisin and Yandel and Daddy Yankee and Bomba Estéreo is cool and very different.
There also is a new artist on Capitol, Vicente Garcia, and he is really, really good. He is a singer/songwriter and kind of pop with a little tropical. (The album is called Melodrama.)
You wrote the book, Tell Me Something True. Tell me about your next book, The Finding, due in the fall 2011.
The Finding, also to be published by Hachette Book Group.
LC: “It is about a girl in Colombia who comes from a very small town and she falls in love with a guerilla fighter, gets pregnant and has his baby and has to give up the baby for adoption and years later, the baby goes to look for her.”