6 Mexican artists & bands you may have missed in 2023
You may or may not already know it, but Mexican music is making waves globally. Driven by the public's enthusiasm for Latin music, artists of Mexican origin are seizing their chance to conquer audiences at home and abroad. Recently, Regional Mexicano artists even have even surpassed reggaeton stars on the charts.
Bloomberg1 also recognizes the global momentum of Mexican music, particularly in Regional Mexicano. The local market is booming, with a remarkable 24.3% growth in 2022, according to IFPI2 elevating Mexico to the 13th global music market and the 2nd in Latin America3, benefiting local artists.
But there's much more to Mexican music than regional Mexican music and its many sub-genres. As much as we love a good ranchera, we'd like to suggest several artists who testify to the richness of Mexican music and whom you may not have heard of yet. Here's something to catch you up!
Bands going from complete outsiders to international sensation in the space of a few months are rare, and Grupo Frontera can boast of being part of this very limited club. While the six members of the band, all hailing from Edinburgh, Texas, have known each other for a long time, they only started playing together in 2019. But it wasn't until early 2022 that Grupo Frontera was truly born.
In May 2022, the band became a viral phenomenon within days of posting a "regional mexicano" cover of Colombian pop band Morat's “No Se Va” on social networks. The track quickly climbed to the top of the most listened-to charts on Spotify, YouTube, TikTok... Grupo Frontera even became the 5th Regional Mexican band to enter the Billboard top 100.
In 2023, the band kept on creating surprises, collaborating with other other superstars of the Regional Mexican genre such as Carin Leon, Fuerza Regida, Grupo Marca Registrada, Yahritza Y Su Esencia, Grupo Firme and of Profugos De Nuevo Léon, but most of all with Latin global superstar Bad Bunny on “un x100to”, a track that quickly exploded all records, and announced El Comienzo, their first album., which gathered more than 1.6 billions streams while reaching N°2 position in Billboard’s Top Latin albums and Top 200 charts.
El Pinche Mara
At only 28 years old, El Pinche Mara boasts a remarkable success story and has grown to be one of the most important rappers in the current Mexican hip-hop scene. But the life of Yucatán town of Mérida native started on a rough path: he grew up in street gangs, spent time in juvenile correctional facilities and prison, and lost his older brother in a gang fight.
While he managed to change his life's course through music, these harsh experiences are reflected in his songs, which often speaks of the tough living conditions of part of Mexico's youth. But his raw lyrics and gritty voice speak to many: his debut album El relato de mi vida in 2014 quickly became very popular on the Mexican underground rap circuit. In 2018, El Pinche Mara released two different but equally successful albums, Cárcel, hospital o cementerio and Alambre de púas, where he proved he's equally at home on more classic hip-hop (“Las Manos En El Toque”) and very modern trap sounds ("Booty que UH").
Since then, El Pinche Mara hasn't stopped. He has continued to release single after single, and has worked on numerous collaborations, including with popular new-generation artists such as Alemán and Santa Fe Klan. On Youtube, each of his videos reaches hundreds of thousands, even millions, of views. In 2024, El Pinche Mara will celebrate 10 years in the music business, so there's every reason to believe he's got something up his sleeve!
Before Regional Mexicano, reggaeton was the first Latin American musical genre to top the world charts. Although this style originated in the Caribbean, many young Mexican artists, such as Charly Gynn and her Tempvs Music label-mates, have seized on the genre's codes to create their own vision of "perreo mexicano".
Charly's story and success is closely linked to that of the independent label she co-founded in 2016 with Jace Kimura, as they made the crazy bet of being able to make a living from their music. Since the beginning, she's been churning out tracks - singles and featurings - and making live appearances, from opening for Bad Gyal and La Zowi Latin America Tour, to warming up producer Dam Dam's Boiler Room set, being the first female artist to do so.
Yet, she didn't release her debut EP La Fiesta de La Virgen until early 2022, and while it included several of her hit singles like “Puritana” and “Yo Te Quiero”, it didn't include her major hit, the wild and explicit “Chicas Super Perreadoras”. That same year, she also headlined the Coca Cola Flow Fest reggaeton festival.
So far, 2023 has already been a great year for Charly! Not only was she on stage at the Ceremonia Festival, but her new singles "Soy Un 10" and "ASESINA" with Foudeqush have been selected on playlists like EQUAL Mexico and Global Club Music on Spotify! And 2024 is already shaping up to be a very promising one, with her presence at Mexico City's Bahidora Festival already confirmed!
If you’re wondering what kind of music Disco Bahía makes, there is already a huge hint in the band name. Waving an electropop sound inspired by French pop, new wave and 70s music – soul funk and here it comes, disco -, the Léon-based band first appeared in summer 2020 with the chill and refreshing single, “Necedad”. Backed by renowned local pop producers such as José Christen and Coco Santos, Disco Bahía kept releasing singles that led to their first 5-track EP Bonyur.
If the band released only three singles in 2021 and 2022 – “Bahía”, “Acuario” and “nostalgia” – they started 2023 strong with a remix of their song "Bahía" by Metronomy’s Anna Prior, the iconic UK band whose vision of groovy electropop is clearly shared by Disco Bahía. This remix, as well as another one of “Acuario” by lo-fi pop artist Solo San, was later included in Musica Para Adultos, their 2nd 5 track EP.
With their latest single “Paradisco”, a disco-infused hit with hazy beats and suave saxo parts, María, Luisber, Pablo y Tongo, the members of Disco Bahía, are announcing to a growing number of fans their first LP album, that is set to be released early 2024.
For Mexican hip-hop fans, Proof is a familiar figure as the capital-born rapper has been on the scene since 2012. Before he was even 20, Proof made a name for himself by taking part in numerous battles. However, it's mostly for his own distinctive style that the young rapper is appreciated.
Proof is at the opposite end of the spectrum from current hip-hop trends, cultivating a “conscious hip-hop” with old-school boom-bap sounds and carefully crafted and poetic lyrics, filled with references drawn from literature and his life in Mexico City. He has forged his style on no less than 8 albums and over 90 singles. And the formula is working, if we judge by the success of some of his tracks: “Minotauro”, “Receta Secreta” and “Nunca Vemos Nada” have reached 5 million views on YouTube, and “El Mito de La Caverna” is on the verge of reaching 10 million.
Despite having celebrated a 10 years career in 2022, he has clearly no intention of resting: in addition to having released no less than 7 singles in 2023, he appears on the collaborative track "Los que habitan los Maizales (Capitulo 3)" (released in October 2023) and his 9th album La TEORÍA DE LA EVOLUCIÓN (once again with his regular beatmaker Trakifante De Almas) is coming in November 2023. Further evidence that Proof is an artist to be reckoned with on the Mexican hip-hop scene for a long time to come.
At just 17 years of age and only a handful of singles to her name, Zoëlle is the true newcomer on this list of Mexican artists. But this young singer-songwriter from the coastal town of Playa Del Carmen has such an insatiable love of music that you can bet she might be one of the next big indie-pop artists of the next decade.
She briefly appeared on the music scene in 2020 with a Pixies cover, before coming back in 2022 under her new Zoëlle name with “Not The One”, an R'n'B-sounding debut single on which she sings in Spanish and English. And not only she can switch easily between two languages; but Zoëlle can play the piano, bass, guitar and drums, that she started playing when she was 8. When we tell you she's made for music! A self-confessed fan of rock and R'n'B, she has drawn inspiration from Amy Winehouse, Cleo Sol and Jorja Smith (whose track TeenageFantasy she covered).
Although she is still young and only signed a few melodious singles such as “Let Me Down Slow”, “Thinking About You”, “Mi Fantasma” or "Conmigo", she has already attracted the attention of streaming platforms. Zoëlle has been selected for several Spotify playlists, including El Nuevo Pop, R'N'B Latino and EQUAL Mexico. A strong support that will only make her grow bigger and stronger in 2024.