Top 10 Bilingual Artists in Latin Music
Being bilingual in today’s global world is a huge advantage. The popularity of the following artists is tightly related to their ability to sing in English and Spanish. While most of these Latin music stars grew up speaking English, others have boosted their careers with their English-language or bilingual productions.
Bilingualism is not an imperative for success in the Latin music business. For instance, artists like Juanes and Mana have never produced English-language recordings. However, fluency in English and Spanish has played a key role in the success of the following megastars. Let’s take a look at the top bilingual artists in Latin music.
Enrique Iglesias is one of the top Latin Pop artists in the entire world. Much of his global stature has been achieved through his English-language albums. Although he grew up speaking Spanish, he arrived in the US when he was only a child. While living in Miami with his legendary father Julio Iglesias, Enrique mastered his English language skills.
Bachata sensation artist Prince Royce is fully fluent in English and Spanish. A child of Dominican parents, he grew up in the Bronx speaking the two languages. Along those lines, he used to enjoy listening to American Hip-Hop and R&B while falling in love with the Spanish-language sounds of Bachata music.
Gaby Moreno is a rising star of the Latin Alternative field. Originally from Guatemala, Gaby Moreno sings in both English and Spanish. Her bilingual work, one of the best Latin music albums of 2011, proves her ability to sing in both languages. As a new star, she is not as popular as most of the artists in this list. However, the quality of her music is way above the commercial stuff produced by some of today’s most famous Latin music artists.
Latin Pop and Salsa music icon Marc Anthony is widely considered one of the most influential artists in modern Latin music. Originally from New York, Marc Anthony grew up in an environment where being bilingual was part of everyday life, especially for a Nuyorican boy. His romantic style has been enhanced by his English-language Latin Pop hits and his Spanish-language Salsa songs.
Most bilingual artists in Latin music sing their songs either in English or Spanish. The popular Latin Urban artist Pitbull, however, has become the master of Spanglish. In most of his songs, his flow moves between English and Spanish sentences producing a mix that is quite common among Cuban-Americans in Miami. Thanks to this natural fluency, Pitbull has been able to size a huge music market.
Puerto Rican singer and songwriter Jose Feliciano is one of the living legends of Latin music. This talented guitarist has become famous for the way he sings romantic boleros in Spanish and classic Rock hits in English. Jose Feliciano is also the author of “Feliz Navidad,” a bilingual tune that has become the most famous Latin music song for Christmas time.
Besides singing Bachata, Romeo Santos’ background is similar to that of Prince Royce. Just like Prince Royce, he is also from the Bronx and fully fluent in English and Spanish. Although most of his Bachata songs are in Spanish, his hit album Formula Vol. 1 incorporated a significant portion of English lyrics into different tracks.
Shakira is a native Spanish speaker from Colombia. After capturing Latin America and the Hispanic world with her albums Pies Descalzos and Donde Estan Los Ladrones, Shakira decided to venture into the English-speaking market. In 2001, she released Laundry Service, a bilingual album that enjoyed tremendous popularity around the world thanks to songs like “Whenever, Wherever” and “Underneath Your Clothes.” Since then, Shakira has grown as one of the best bilingual Latin music artists out there.
Although Gloria Estefan was born in Cuba, her family moved to Miami when she was only three years old. As most Cuban-Americans, she grew up in an environment where bilingualism was the norm. She has used her language skills to produce all kinds of music in the Tropical and Latin Pop fields.
Although Ricky Martin kicked off his career singing in Spanish, his English-language albums are the ones responsible for having transformed this singer into one of the most famous Latin music artists around the world. As someone who is fully bilingual, Ricky Martin moves easily between these two languages.