Series revealing the musical and social impact of Latin music in the USA looks at how Latin pop has affected the worlds of music, business, fashion and media.
Browse content similar to The Latin Explosion. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
HE SINGS IN SPANISH
When Ricky Martin shocked the Grammys with a song
half in Spanish, half in English, it heralded a "Latin Explosion" across the United States.
# Do you really want it?
# Do you really want it? #
Centre stage in inspiring a generation of Latin artists
to cross into the American mainstream was the country's most Latinised city.
Since the 1960s, Miami has been transformed
by waves of Cuban immigrants who gave the city a new identity.
In the '80s, TV shows and gangster movies
depicted a city of violence, as Miami Vice became America's favourite crime series.
But they also helped transform Miami's image again into a city of style and opportunity.
As Latin pop spread across America, its impact was dramatic.
# I don't really know what I'm doing... #
This new music heralded the increasing Latinisation
of the States which, in turn, has influenced the world.
# Come shake your body baby do the Conga
# I know you can't control yourself any longer
# Feel the rhythm of the music getting stronger... #
In the early 1980s, one song ignited the smouldering fuse of Miami's Latin music scene.
"Conga", fronted by Gloria Estefan and a Cuban-American band, would become the springboard
for Latin music's invasion of mainstream America.
It was a true Latino experience of that time.
It had the Cuban sound, it had the South American influences going.
I think it was a big hit because it accomplished all these things in one song that we were about.
That Latinos were striving for.
That American sound, but that had the Latino culture underneath it.
Conga was the brainchild of Gloria Estefan's husband, Emilio,
who had arrived in Miami in the 1960s, as a refugee from Castro's Cuba.
It was a time that we all had
a lot of hopes, a lot of dreams, but it was difficult.
Especially for me it was very difficult
because I came without my dad and my mom when I was 15 years old.
To me everything looked black and white at the time.
It was hard. People can see the success and see what
happened later on in life but there was a lot of time used to look down to the floor and say, "Oh, my God.
"I don't know what's going to happen to my life."
Refugees like Emilio had fled their island of Cuba
after the dictator Batista was driven out by Fidel Castro in 1959.
In the following years, 300,000 Cubans headed for Miami.
They were noticeably different from previous waves of Latin immigrants, from Puerto Rico or Mexico.
These were mostly middle class, and their skills and ambition to be
part of the American dream would help transform Miami.
The press prepares the city for kind of a welcoming of these heroic people.
These people that are escaping from the monsters of communism, etc.
You have this influx of well-to-do people that
are economically and culturally in synch with the American way of life.
And many of them in an uncritical way.
a time when everybody was at the same economic level. Which was zero.
And a lot of Cuban exiles took whatever jobs they could to support their families.
Cubans did not take a piece of the pie, they baked their own pie.
So along what later became known as Little Havana, these little businesses began to open up and...
again, my recollection started with little restaurants where you could get a little cup of Cuban coffee.
And then the small little cottage industries - seamstresses,
tailors that would adjust your old- fashioned clothes to the more recent American standards.
But I also remember things which are very disturbing
about that southern city, like this Southern-style segregation down to the water fountains, and people
who could and not come into certain establishments was outrageous and very foreign to Cubans.
The new immigrants would drag a sleepy white resort town
of half a million people into the 1960s, and they did it with their music.
One of the things we brought from Cuba, we brought music.
It helped us survive the early years.
It helped us to keep us...
focused as to who we were.
The exiles brought old-style dance rhythms from Havana.
These were often performed by top Cuban singers, like Celia Cruz, who had also fled from Castro.
SHE SINGS IN SPANISH
Miami's exiled musicians worked when they could and slowly built the city's vibrant nightlife.
We needed the money so bad but it wasn't all about money.
It was the only thing that kept me alive, being separated from my family.
I knew that was the only time I was happy... When I used to play music.
By day, Emilio worked in the post room at Bacardi.
By night, he put together his own band - the Miami Latin Boys.
But they wanted a female vocalist, and turned to a fellow emigre.
We ran into each other in a wedding.
We had met shortly before at a friend's house
and he heard me sing on my guitar
from the folk masses and things.
Gloria was definitely very shy.
I mean one thing I notice in Gloria, she always look down to the floor because I saw a depressed person.
But one thing that I always noticed on her...
The same thing that I have... That she love music.
He says, "I remember you! Why don't you sit in with the band?"
So I sat in, sang a couple of songs, Cuban standards.
People loved it because they knew me since I was a kid.
So he said, "You know, I think it would be a great idea to have a girl singer.
"Why don't you join the band?"
Before long, Emilio asked her to marry him.
But with Gloria in the band, the Miami Latin Boys needed a new name.
We weren't boys any more. And he thought, "OK, she's going to stay."
We'd been there long enough for that, so we changed.
They gave us the "Sound Machine", the small local company that signed us. We wanted to be just "Miami."
Miami Sound Machine!
I never wanted to forget where I came from.
On the same time, I was growing up listening to disco,
to Donna Summer, to every single great music there was at that time.
So what I did, I combined both musics.
And that's what I called "the Miami sound".
SHE SINGS IN SPANISH
For five years they toured throughout Latin America,
now mixing American pop sounds with their Cuban rhythms and Spanish lyrics.
Emilio began to look beyond the gruelling road trips
towards the more rewarding English-language market around him.
First he aimed his new recordings at Miami's burgeoning club scene in the early '80s.
Clubs definitely open a lot of doors.
They can play anything. And people will tell you if they liked it or not.
And we got so many number ones in clubs, thanks to all the DJs.
The club scene was far more adventurous than radio,
where DJs were afraid to try anything outside the approved play-lists.
Convinced he had a winning formula, in 1984 Emilio took a chance
with a crossover number, sung in English to a Cuban beat.
I went to the label all excited. I said we have an English song that has all the beats.
They said "They will never play this on radio."
Emilio hand-delivered it to every DJ he knew in clubs from Miami to New York.
It was such a hit that radio changed its mind and Dr Beat leapt to number one on the Miami charts, in 1984.
# Say say say doctor
# I got this fever that I can't control
# That I can't control
# Music makes me move my body
# Makes me move my soul Makes me move my soul
# Doc, you better give me something
# Cos I'm burning up
# Yes, I'm burning up... #
You always have to remember that Emilio started out as a Bacardi salesman.
And you know that's to his credit and has been a big part
of his success that he was able to sell himself, sell Gloria, sell what he can do, sell Miami.
But he's not the whole story.
There are many other factors that came into making Miami an important place.
In the same year as Dr Beat, the TV crime series Miami Vice enthralled the nation.
Even its theme tune went to number one.
Miami Vice was incredibly influential in Miami first, because it was total fantasy.
-You looking for someone?
-Who are you?
Just a friend.
No-one in Miami in those days would
wear a jacket over a T-shirt, or push their sleeves up...
But they started to.
It was like instead of art imitating life, it was life imitating art.
The display of luxury items
in the show like cars, like clothes, like sunglasses,
all those things became associated with Miami
and eventually helped Miami promote itself as a style capital.
Let's say South Beach in some ways was attractive to Miami Vice because it was falling apart.
In fact, in Miami Vice episodes they had to paint the buildings because they were in such disrepair.
Although it brought a lot of people to Miami looking for that fantasy,
that and the drug culture that prevailed was extremely harmful,
in my opinion, to the city.
Somebody call the police!
We got cameras.
The truth was that Miami, in the early '80s, was a caricature of the TV show,
a city consumed by crime and violence,
much of which was blamed on the influx of new immigrants.
The most publicised problem for Miami in the early '80s had been
the Mariel boatlift, which brought a further 125,000 Cubans to the city.
Some of them came from Castro's prisons and insane asylums.
He called them "the scum of Cuba" and gave them free passage to Miami.
Thousands of Cuban criminals were incarcerated, or escaped onto the city streets,
causing a backlash against Cuban exiles.
We're the American people, we pay the money, we pay the taxes and we're fed up.
It'd be like an invading army was dropped in here to rape, pillage and burn in our town.
And that's exactly what they're doing.
# Why be afraid
# If I'm not alone... #
This was the background to the blockbuster Hollywood offered the world as Scarface,
the film that confirmed Miami's reputation as the capital city of crack and crime, in the early '80s.
His name exploded through the streets
and his smile seduced a city.
His eyes ignited passion
and his hands
built an empire.
Al Pacino is Scarface.
He loved the American Dream with a vengeance.
You can go into stores in Miami and see huge posters of Scarface and you would wonder why
would people in Miami have a cult to Scarface if it's a film that in some ways denigrates Latinos and Miami.
I think part of it is because Scarface embodies this desire
for the American Dream and suggests that it is possible for everybody.
The movie reflected the darker side of the city.
Organised crime, drugs and money laundering were, for a time,
pillars that supported Miami's seemingly uncontrolled economic boom.
By the 1990s, unscrupulous developers were transforming virgin Everglades
into a concrete rest-home for gangsters and ageing tourists seeking winter sunshine.,
and beach condos for immigrant families from across Latin America.
The city had grown from half a million in the 1950s to four million by the '90s.
# Bad bad bad bad boys
# You make me feel so good... #
Like any other city we're growing and we have growing pains.
Even the racial tension is not so much racial as it is economic.
You're talking about extreme poverty in these areas and
something has to be done about it and we have to find a way of fixing it.
When the city fathers determined to clean up, Miami needed
a while new soundtrack, and who better to provide it than the Estefans.
Conga became an anthem of the city, a mammoth crossover hit
with Cuban percussion that said "come join the dance."
# Everybody gather round now
# Let your body feel the heat
# Don't you worry if you can't dance
# Let the music move your feet... #
Surprisingly, Cuban-inspired music was still a hard sell
in the rock-fixated world of mainstream USA.
I was so excited with the piano and the horns, and I mean I went
to Sony and Sony told me, "This will never happen. You're totally crazy."
I was at CBS when Gloria was there and Emilio. That's where we met for the first time.
And I remember going to the radio stations and taking the Conga single
and they looked at me like, "What are you... What is this?"
Emilio produced the video on a shoestring, with no help from his record company.
They told me they have no money for the video.
So my mom, my dad, my uncle my aunt, everybody is in the video. My niece is on the video.
Gloria and the Miami Sound Machine were the beginning of Miami as a launching point for Latin pop.
And they set the template in several very important ways.
They were good at promotion, and Miami was their base for it.
They used really up-to-date,
top-notch production and they did it here.
And they competed in the American arena, in the mainstream.
They did all those three things first, and they did them all out of here.
She made Hispanics hip.
She took them out of the barrio. And Americans said, "Wow, you know what?
They're all not just a bunch of people holding people up in elevators in the projects
"and breaking into cars. They are pretty intelligent and it's great music."
# Get on your feet... #
It gave the American record labels the impetus to say "Hey!
"You know what? There is a big business here and we're going to try and find other Gloria Estefans."
And it put Latin music on the map in a big way.
For the music industry, it was an awakening.
Latin record sales had mostly been in the tens of thousands, but the Estefans were selling millions.
And the new president of Sony Music had a reputation as an opportunist.
In looking at Gloria and Emilio, I saw an opportunity to take this great
Miami sound that they had come up with
and take it and make it into popular music throughout the world.
It really didn't happen by accident.
There were few accidents in the gradual Latinisation of the music business.
The other big-time crossover act of the early '80s was a meticulously
packaged group of teenage boys from Puerto Rico, called Menudo.
Here fronted by the twelve-year-old Ricky Martin.
# Nobody Nobody
# Nobody cares about me. #
The Menudo product was extremely popular.
Whether it it was bad music or cheesy lyrics or bad hair, it was very, very popular.
And it also, I think, introduced in many parts, particularly if
you think of the US context, the idea of a light-skinned
Latin rock performer that could reach
the key demographic of teenage girls and make them want to buy your records.
# How love can be when dreams come true
# Let me hold you and I'll give you... #
We had, I don't know,
ten songs on the radio, all the videos, everything was number one,
number two, three, four. There was nothing but Menudo.
So it was overwhelming this....
That kind of experience. We're talking about
just thousands of people everywhere.
Just thousands of people everywhere, you know, girls hiding in bathrooms.
It was exciting but it was absolutely nuts.
We worked for the acceptance of the audience.
"We" as in me and my colleagues.
I'm now talking for me.
I work for the acceptance of the audience. I work for the applause.
It's so addictive when you're on stage and you're performing and whatever, 20,000, 30,000 people.
There's a lot you have to deal with, like leaving your family.
I left my family when I was 12.
The Menudo kids were bilingual.
Completely fluent in Spanish and English.
Ricky Martin comes up from a training
that allows him to be comfortable in many different cultural settings.
What's important to Ricky Martin is that the ways that the Menudo product was developed, packaged and promoted
in many ways opened up the possibilities of his emergence as a global pop star.
HE SINGS IN SPANISH
By the time of his first major hit, aged 20, Ricky Martin was
a seasoned performer, displaying all the moves he'd learned in Menudo.
But his music was still aimed largely at the Spanish-speaking market.
On the heels of Maria came an offer that Ricky could not refuse.
He wanted to make the crossover in a big way.
And the company was running on all 12 cylinders at the time with me
at the top pushing the button, making everyone, making an entire army move forward on the Ricky Martin front.
At the 1999 Grammys, Ricky Martin was scheduled to present his latest crossover offering.
Until then, everyone sang in English there.
This was a big deal because the Grammys, to this day, hate to have Latin acts perform in Spanish.
They think that ratings drop the minute you put another language in.
# Now is the time... #
So he began his song in English.
# Push it along, go go go... #
I just had a feeling all over - it was goosebumps -
that something special was happening.
Then Ricky suddenly became Latin.
That was such a kick-ass song.
I mean, what other song sounded like that then?
Nothing sounded like that.
I was there that night.
The place went insane.
# Do you really want it?
Do you really want it?
# Do you really want it? Yeah yeah yeah
# Here we go ole ole ole... #
Every star in those first five or ten rows, I mean, they were fixated on him.
It was just fascinating.
The gamble paid off. Ricky's Spanglish lyrics carried Latin music into the mainstream.
Something really interesting is happening, when it comes to fusion
and when it comes to exchanging cultures and ideas, that I really definitely want to be part of.
I'm going to be here getting ready for anything.
That's what I presented tonight. I presented percussions, I presented horns, I presented who I was.
Even though he's Puerto Rican and got his start with a Puerto Rican boy group,
Ricky Martin's sound, image, persona and explosive success
is very associated with Miami.
He produced his records here, he promoted here and his label, Sony,
which ran this promotional machine behind him, is based here.
And I think Miami becomes a leaping-off point,
a lens into Latin music and Latin culture for much of the rest of America.
Miami had become an international gateway.
And not the least of its attractions was the nightlife,
with discos and clubs offering a dazzling mix of dance rhythms.
Rhythm move people.
So you go to Colombia they have great rhythm.
You go even to Mexico, they have great rhythm.
You go to Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic.
That syncopation we have, and you know the flair that we have
when we do percussion. Nobody can do it like we do.
Emilio Estefan had opened his own Miami studios, in 1994, to exploit this confluence of Latin rhythms.
He not only managed Gloria Estefan's career,
but also played a key role in launching other major Latin artists into the English-language market,
from Ricky Martin to Shakira.
Shakira Mebarak arrived at Estefan's studio in 1998 in search of a new audience.
I saw in Shakira talent.
A baby full of talent.
This girl can move, she can sing, she can write.
We worked hard, to 5am, 6am, trying to translate songs and trying to do things because we believed in her.
There are people who saw her way back when she broke out as a very young singer-songwriter
out of Colombia singing barefoot, Pies Descalzos, that first successful album of hers,
and she went through a huge transformation in a few years.
SHE SINGS IN SPANISH
Before Shakira, every crossover artist had been bilingual.
But the young Colombian spoke no English. And she struggled.
So Emilio searched for a distinctive sound and image.
You really have to find a sound that establishes their personality, where they come from.
For example Shakira, the first song I did for her, it was Middle Eastern.
Emilio's production focused on Shakira's Lebanese ancestry.
But she was still recognisably the girl from Colombia.
So what do you have to do then to make a Latin rock-pop star
be consumable by American or English-speaking audiences?
Well, they did a few things.
One was they repackaged her appearance, like for instance Shakira
was known for very strange clothing, hairstyles and hair colours.
And one of the most noted changes that they did physically, was making her blonde.
# Tell me one more time... #
And the question that was asked was, "Is that the price that a Latina, particularly a female performer,
"has to pay in order to be mainstream, that now she has to conform to US standards of beauty?"
SHE SINGS IN SPANISH
Shakira deserves a lot of credit, I believe, for re-inventing herself.
And she certainly had help with the album she produced with Emilio, that was really a breakthrough for her.
The video of Whenever, Wherever would carry the blonde Shakira onto global MTV in the following years.
And to see a Latin artist succeed on that kind of international level
is enormous in terms of opening a road for other artists.
Shakira's launch as a mainstream Latin rock star
coincided with the hype and hysteria surrounding Ricky Martin's first English-language album.
I'm presenting my album today for the first time.
It's a very important date.
I've been working for two and a half years for this day.
And, uh... I'm just really excited. Let's see what happens.
When you think about putting a whole machine behind an artist to say
"this artist has global potential", you really have to think about -
can they make popular music
and can they then be out there to support that popular music bilingually?
Ricky Martin had the Latin thing covered, so they really didn't need me for that.
They needed me to help funnel that to the American and the European market.
When I met Ricky Martin, I didn't think of him as a Latin pop, tropical, you know, hip-shakin' dude.
I thought of him as a rock star.
A Miami boy of Cuban descent, Desmond Child had a flourishing career
writing hits for mainstream rock musicians. Until now.
Desmond would help create the song that transformed Ricky Martin
into an all-American pop star, with the help of an extravagant video funded by Mottola.
# She's into superstitions
# Black cats and voodoo dolls... #
"She's into superstition, black cats and voodoo dolls."
It's just like a swing song.
Tony Bennett could do that song.
# She's into new sensations
# New kicks in the candlelight... #
In Latin music at the time, they would use a lot of reverb in the voice.
And if you listen to the records I made with Ricky, the vocal is dry.
# Woke up in New York City... #
They don't have any effects on them.
# She took my heart and she took my money... #
They're right there in your face...
# Upside inside out
# Livin' la vida loca... #
There was another element too, Elvis in Vegas.
All black, in a kind of small setting that gave people an archetypal sense that that...
-that he was that thing that they had always loved.
# Livin' la vida loca
# Come on! She's livin' la vida loca...#
La Vida Loca is hybrid, it's like Spanglish. It's, you know...
it's what it is, it's who we are.
"Unabashedly pop," wrote Time Magazine, "but saved by its Latin soul."
# Come on! #
The day that I heard La Vida Loca I said, "This is going to be a phenomenon."
We couldn't even keep up with the orders, and I think
we sold somewhere in the vicinity of 20 or 25 million worldwide.
As Latin artists entered the mainstream, they became increasingly
attractive to corporate America for promoting commercial products.
When we talk about Ricky Martin or we talk about Shakira, we talk about Gloria Estefan, we're really not
talking about them as people who we have no relationship to as the public.
We are talking about them as what we consume.
In Ricky Martin's case, this hip Latin dude who was now
the top Latin pop star in the world, promoting Pepsi.
So that does a lot of things for Pepsi, you know?
For the Latin community, which probably drinks more Coke than Pepsi,
it's time to communicate that Pepsi is somewhat Latin.
To the rest of America, we're melding it with this hot Latin star that epitomizes everything
that's hip about culture right now, so now those values are kind of transmitted to the soda.
# ..and she talks like she walks She bangs, she bangs... #
Ricky quickly became corporate America's favourite Latino.
His image and recordings were for sale in every city and suburb of the States.
This is a historic moment. This is a real crossover.
And almost immediately they began talking about other
Latin acts that were going to come out with English language albums.
And you could see maybe not a movement, but certainly a wave.
Mottola moved fast to promote other Latin artists on his books.
On The 6 by Jennifer Lopez hit the stores only three weeks after the release of Ricky Martin's album.
The video featured J-Lo with Puerto Rican rappers, accentuating her own Puerto Rican heritage.
You also see in her videos these sort of pillars of the Latin hip-hop scene
in New York City, which serve as authenticating symbols in what she's doing.
And so for her to still prove to her listeners that she's "Jenny From The Block,"
she has to film scenes on the block, she has to have guys who have street cred on the block,
so she has to have Fat Joe and Big Pun in her video.
# I opened up my eyes today
# Felt the sun shining on my face... #
I always looked at myself as more individual.
I had something different to offer than other people.
It can kinda... you know, it's all about separating yourself and finding your own niche, and stuff like that.
# Feel like there's no limit... #
In fact, J-Lo found a whole variety of niches to please her expanding fan base.
Jennifer Lopez represented herself and was promoted in such different
ways depending on the audience and depending on the consumer.
So, for instance, if you look at Jennifer Lopez in Vibe Magazine,
you know, she looks different than in People Magazine,
she looks different than in Latina Magazine,
so in that regard she could appear as Latin as they come for the Latin community, but she can also look...
black depending on how she's dressed and depending on how she's styled and in what context you place her.
Having started as a dancer in the TV show In Living Color, J-Lo's videos cemented her
street cred and her multi-ethnic appeal to urban Latinos.
The thing about Jennifer is the whole package, and the fact that she was Latino was a way to take
s New York girl, basically, and present her to the public and say,
"Here is a shining example of a Latina."
Though the Latin market had expanded hugely during the '90s, Mottola was positioning his artists
within the aspirations and spending power of a new multicultural middle class.
# Don't be fooled by the rocks that I got... #
And just a few weeks after the release of J-Lo's album, Tommy Mottola notched up
his next English language Latin blockbuster, featuring J-Lo's next husband, Marc Anthony.
Exactly what you're doing.
It's a new song.
Getting nasty and dirty on it.
Marc Anthony had evolved out of Latin hip-hop and then salsa,
first as a backing singer and then as a solo artist.
An early hit with La India showed both his vocal talent and his competitiveness.
We're gonna take it again.
There was a sense of competition where they wanted to outdo each other, and it was a fun competition,
it wasn't like an animosity, it was like,
"Put the track, I'm gonna show her," "I'm gonna show him."
The Marc Anthony sound was a combination of the hard-edged New York sound with the romantic stuff,
but with a more of a pop R&B edge that these young artists like La India and Marc had.
That's as good as it gets.
At an ambitiously conceived show in Madison Square Garden,
Mottola unveiled his new bilingual Latin star.
Marc Anthony became another great success,
capitalizing on both popular music in English and using
his Latin base as well to do many songs in Spanish, and really marketed to both audiences in a big way.
The first rule of crossover was keep your Latin fan base faithful, before you hit the English language market.
So Marc Anthony greeted his audience with a display of Puerto Rican pride.
Wave that beautiful flag, folks!
I'm just happy to be here.
Check it out, baby.
# They say around the way you asked for me
# There's even talk about you wanting me
# I must admit that's what I want to hear
# But that's just talk until you take me there
# Oh, if it's true don't leave me all alone out here
# Wondering if you're ever gonna take me there
# Tell me what you're feeling cos I need to know... #
Marc Anthony played to a largely Latino audience, but the HBO network
reached 25 million households, most of them English-speaking.
You know, I think Latinos... we are so hungry to see ourselves represented in mainstream culture
that to see us suddenly bombarded with it was a really overwhelming experience.
Latin music was something I'd always listened to at home and I listened
to popular music at school with my friends, and they'd never met.
I listened to Jerry Rivera, I listened to Marc Anthony,
I listened to Gilberto Santa Rosa, but I could never share that with my white friends.
And suddenly my white friends are walking around going, "Bailamos!"
and it was a heady time.
Certainly the Latin demographic was getting huge and I think, musically,
the country was ready for something new and fresh and exciting.
Starting from Gloria and the whole Miami Sound Machine influence,
right to Ricky and then when Marc Anthony came out and then Jennifer Lopez.
All of that culminating at once created what Time magazine then billed as the "Latin Explosion."
The epicentre of that carefully controlled explosion was the United States'
most Latin city, at the crossroads between North and South America.
Latino culture is mainstream culture in Miami, and I don't think there's
any other city in this country where Latinos have the power that they do,
not in LA, not in New York,
you know, here.
And I think that Miami has played a very big role in the mainstreaming
of Latin culture to the rest of the country.
It's normal to speak two languages.
When you have those labels here and those networks here, they are promulgating Latinidad
out to the rest of the country and out to the rest of the world, and that's just the way this city is.
The city's restless mix of styles and cultures is mirrored in the rhythms
that producer Sergio George stirs into a Latin-light brew in his Miami studio.
OK, something really nice and pretty, pop melody, now we're gonna give it some dirt.
I'll give you an example of how we build an arrangement, try to get different cultures and genres
into the music by giving it accessibility.
So it's that pre-melody that I played before, with the reggae undertones
to give it accessibility to the younger generation, because they understand those drum patterns.
These string sounds is also more like a hip-hop type of influence that hip-hop producers like to use.
The salsa comes in now, with still the pop sensibility.
The horn section is like and Earth Wind And Fire, Chicago type of horn line.
More salsa now, you know?
And you hear these horn lines come from like, for example, a Colombian, say Columbian salsa.
This type of horn line here.
It's a staccato type of stuff.
That's very Latin, South American.
Now we're back to like the reggae influence.
So right there, it's about a minute and ten of music, so in a minute and ten seconds of music I gave you
dancehall reggae, Spanish pop ballad, I gave you Colombian horn lines,
South American horn lines, I gave you Chicago, Earth Wind And Fire, and I gave you Afro-Cuban.
Giving the music that kind of sound where
everybody can get into it, because it's a little bit for everyone.
So this is what I'm talking about, watering it down, you could say, whatever you wanna call it, but
it's accessibility by just combining the different elements and doing it quickly, where it's not losing
the listener, where the radio station gets what they want and the first ten seconds grab the listener.
To make it accessible to everyone - Americans, even Hispanics who didn't grow up with this kind of thing.
So that's the objective that we try to do here.
Miami's Latin pop combines North American business acumen
with the rhythms and artists of the Southern hemisphere.
You get artists from Spain or from Mexico, or from wherever.
If they need to promote internationally, they come to Miami because that's the centre point.
So it was with Colombian singer Shakira, whose horizons were expanding.
Her new album Laundry Service sold 20 million copies.
The hit song Whenever, Wherever had been co-written by the Estefans,
applying the successful Miami pop formula.
# Oh, baby, when you talk like that You make a woman go mad
# So be wise and keep on Reading the signs of my body
# I won't deny My hips don't lie and I'm starting to feel you, boy #
I mean, that syncopation we have, that flair that we have, people love that.
You gonna have a sound that is very much the Miami sound
in a different way, and I think that's what people love.
What you can never do is do a sound that copies another sound or...
Like Ricky can not sound like Marc Anthony or Gloria can not sound like Shakira.
Every one of them has a different personality.
By 2001, Shakira's distinctively blonde Latin persona
was available in every provincial American high street.
So it was time for a second transformation.
At the point where she starts this crossover process, Shakira is a rock pop star.
So in that regard she already has that going for her.
The second thing that was done, and that's done for every crossover act, is to try to figure out where the
centre of gravity is in terms of the audience, having her do duos and mix her music with other genres.
# Beyonce, Beyonce
# Shakira, Shakira
# Beyonce, Beyonce
# Shakira, Shakira... #
By pairing with Beyonce, Shakira was now covering all the
audience demographics - Latino, white and black.
But for some Latinos, it could be a step too far.
# Can't we laugh about it?
# It's not worth our time... #
Latin pop has to walk a pretty delicate line between on the one hand seeming Latin enough and seeming...
poppy enough for being able to have that crossover appeal.
We're sort of lost, we're sort of integrated a little bit and we, you know, we need to come back
a little bit to the culture and we're doing it
by having great artists bringing us into the culture.
One such artist is the Colombian guitarist Juanes.
He brought his own style of rock music back into the States and called it "Rock en Espanol."
I still sing in Spanish, but I think I play my guitar in English.
I don't want to feel ashamed of being a Colombian.
I just want to be proud of that and I want to bring all the elements
from my essence and just mix it with the elements of rock music.
Latin pop is no longer one-way traffic, exported from the States.
This is South America feeding back its own hybrid styles into the US, like musical revolving doors.
And then when you understand Latin music is so rich and so diverse and you can find from metal, punk,
Reggaeton, to pop, salsa, vallenato and it's like an ocean of different elements.
Miami became what people called the Nashville of Latin music.
It became the production and media centre.
The two major Spanish language television networks, Univision and Telemundo, are based here.
Univision plays a powerful role in the Latin pop business, transmitting shows across the Americas.
It's a media empire whose influence is unrivalled
in the Spanish-speaking world, disseminating Latin pop as never before.
And yet new styles are constantly emerging.
As Latin pop becomes ever more urbane, young Latinos have found a harder-edged voice.
At the Calle Ocho Festival in Miami, streets are packed in anticipation of rapper known as Mr 305,
Miami's telephone code.
Statistically we are growing in such numbers, Latinos.
And it's not like we are just Latinos.
First generation, second generation, third generation.
A lot of them don't even speak Spanish no more but they're proud to be...
or where their parents are from, the country that they represent.
Pitbull's in a sense symbolic of the way Miami works in terms of how all these things are constantly
crisscrossing each other and the way it can be very fluid in the Miami Latin music industry.
Pitbull's Reggaeton is a rap-style music that evolved in
Puerto Rico, mixing hip-hop with Caribbean rhythms.
It exemplifies how broad and diffuse Latin identity has become,
as Reggaeton reclaims Latin music for the streets.
You see a lot of traditional Caribbean beats married to urban and hip hop beats.
You see traditional sounds like Mexican trumpets married to
pop or married to a kind of more progressive alternative music.
Nobody will raise an eyebrow at any mix of rhythms.
What really unites Reggaeton is the fusion of all music in just one genre.
So we got the best of both worlds.
We've got the best of...
the Anglo music and Latin music.
If you listen to our melodies, it's like hip-hop melodies.
# Get lower, lower Get lower, lower
# Get higher, higher Get higher, higher... #
But under that melody structure is the drum pattern, which is Latino.
So it's a great combination of music.
Daddy Yankee took Reggaeton off the streets and on to the dance floors
of America's mainstream, with his hit song Gasolina.
I was like, "Wow, finally we got the recognition that we needed,"
you know? Right now everybody's paying attention to us.
I put that seed right there for the next generation.
It was a number one hit, it was totally ubiquitous,
and for a lot of people it was their introduction to Reggaeton.
And I definitely think that also, you know, definitely corresponds to this
really emerging, large, powerful demographic of Spanish-speaking people
in the United States and, in a sense, Reggaeton was able to provide a soundtrack for that emergence.
Despite its success among Latin youth, who now enjoyed their own
form of hip-hop, the Spanish press railed against what they called "musical pornography".
The same scenario that hip-hop had during the '80s, a lot of people didn't know
and didn't understand what we were saying.
People thought that we were promoting the violence.
It was not like that. We was just being real.
Reggaeton evokes the hard reality of the urban projects of Puerto Rico,
where many of its protagonists grew up,
and which they constantly refer to in their videos, like Daddy Yankee's Gangsta.
Out of those projects came another influential Reggaeton voice, Tego Calderon.
Tego, after spending some years in Miami, added a further mix to Reggaeton.
Reggaeton reflects the fact that Latin music can now be
almost anything a Latin musician wants it to be, in the same way that
being Latino - whether in New York, Los Angeles or Miami - has become an essential part of the American mix.
By the year 2050, it's estimated that a quarter of all American youth will be Latino.
The thing about Reggaeton is that it was able to express, on the one hand Latinidad, the "Latin-ness"
and, on the other hand, modernity.
You could be bling-blinged out, you could look like
all of your peers in this more general sort of hip-hop world.
You didn't have to feel like you were somehow selling out your own cultural roots.
These third, fourth generation Latins are really embracing the fact
that they're Latin, are very eager to learn more about their culture.
And I also think the mainstream, more than ever, is open to things Latin.
It's not seen as something as foreign as it used to be.
And this is wonderful, that you can find pieces of so many cultures
as an integral part of the mainstream culture.
In the 80 years since Afro-Cuban rhythms first impacted on the States,
the different Latin music forms and the changes they reflected have helped transform America.
Tens of millions of Latin immigrants have entered, from the Caribbean in the East and Mexico in the West,
the biggest migration in the history of the world.
And their music helped maintain their pride
and identity and integrate them gradually into American society.
Mambo dancing led to salsa...
Chicano rock fed into Latin pop...
TV and the movies helped carry their music into the mainstream.
They mirrored the ongoing Latinisation of the States, and its impact on us all.
Conquitando los Estados Unidos
Oh oh oh Snoop Dogg,
Daddy Yankee, Cangri Real gangstas
Traficando musica por tonelada
Haha Oh oh oh
Oh oh oh...
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
The last in a four-part series revealing the deep musical and social impact of Latin music in the USA looks at how Latin pop was born in Miami, created by Cuban immigrants fleeing Fidel Castro, and how it has impacted on the worlds of music, business, fashion and media across the Americas and the world.
In the 1980s, Gloria Estefan and husband Emilio moulded a crossover pop sound which exploded out of Miami into every city in the States. From TV shows like Miami Vice to the movie Scarface and the corporate influences that embrace Shakira, Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez, Latin pop reflects a new-found power and confidence for a community that has found its place in mainstream USA.
Featuring Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, Shakira, Gloria Estefan and the stars of Reggaeton.