Lex Borrero and Tainy on Latin Music's Impact and Influence at Somos Vevo's Executive Experience

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Cover image for  article: Lex Borrero and Tainy on Latin Music's Impact and Influence at Somos Vevo's Executive Experience

The Latin music genre has been around for a quite some time, but within the last few years it has seen tremendous growth, becoming the second most popular genre in the world and third in the U.S.* In honor of LatinX Heritage Month, Somos Vevo -- Vevo's ad solution for reaching Hispanic American audiences at scale, featuring the world's biggest Latin artists -- hosted a virtual fireside chat with NEON16 President Lex Borrero (pictured top left) and multi-platinum producer and Grammy-winning artist Tainy (top right), who was just named Producer of the Year at the 2021 Latin Billboard Awards. The chat, which was moderated by Vevo's Senior Director of Multicultural Sales, Rob Velez, was part of Vevo's Executive Experience series, which serves as a way of bringing senior leaders together for important discussions on key business topics. This event focused on the impact of LatinX culture around the world and insights into why the Latin music genre has seen such success.

"We at Vevo have been in the multicultural business for several years, working with Latin artists from a discovery standpoint all the way up to triple-platinum artists," shared Kevin McGurn, President of Sales & Distribution at Vevo, at the start of the event. "And we will continue to celebrate these artists and their cultures beyond LatinX Heritage Month."

The session kicked off with Borrero sharing his inspiration for entering the music business and explaining why he continues to be a champion for Latin music in particular. NEON16, which he co-founded with Tainy, is a Miami-based record label behind recent hits with some of the biggest names in pop, reggaeton and Latin music, including "Summer of Love" with Shawn Mendes and "Un Dia (One Day)" with Dua Lipa, J Balvin and Bad Bunny.

"It doesn't matter what race you are, where you grew up, where you're from -– music is global," Borrero said. "It can inspire you, make you cry, get you through a breakup. Latin music is in a place right now where every step moves the needle to making it more and more mainstream. NEON16 wants to be at the forefront of that conversation. It's a big part of what we do."

Borrero explained how music videos remain a key component in artists' ability to share their culture with audiences around the world. "The visual content is all part of the storytelling," he said. "It gives you a chance to show the parts of your culture that are part of you and convey a message. Now more than ever, the visual component is a huge part of that narrative." The nod to the power of sight, sound and motion is also an integral part of Vevo's appeal -- the ability for artists to visually tell their stories and for audiences to connect in ways they are not able to do solely through audio.

When Velez asked Borrero why he thinks the genre has become such a cultural force, he replied, "The Latin community is vast and spread around the world. Latin music has something that unites us all: rhythm. It's what makes you get up and dance and move and can bring you nostalgia when you remember the wedding or graduation party where you first heard it."

They also talked about the changes in the Latin music landscape and the power artists have to forge their own path with audiences who are not Spanish-dominant. Today, Latin artists are finding success without producing translated versions of their Spanish songs in order to break into the mainstream, a trend that is rooted in the accessibility audiences now have to music content. "I just saw a video of Camilo in Berlin and the audience knew every word to his songs," Borrero said. "The accessibility to music today has such a big impact. It's easier now to discover music from around the world. It's in commercials, in movies ... it's everywhere."

Borrero and Tainy, along with NEON16's label partner Interscope Records, also produced the soundtrack for The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie: Sponge on the Run, an experience that Tainy described as a dream come true, allowing his music to connect with and bring joy to families during the pandemic, a difficult time for many.

The opportunity to work on the entire soundtrack was not initially presented to the NEON16 team. However, it was an opportunity that Borreo knew he and his team could not miss out on. "We were initially approached about remixing the theme song,” he explained. “We saw a rough cut of the movie and realized how much it appealed to an older audience. [We] spoke to the head of music at Paramount and said we wanted to do the entire soundtrack." The project has received a massive response from audiences. The song "Agua" a single off the film's soundtrack, featured reggaeton artist J Balvin and has climbed to No. 1 on Billboard's Latin Airplay charts.

In his closing comments, Tainy provided insight into what he is most excited about concerning the future of Latin music and LatinX culture.

"What excites me is not knowing what's next!" he said with a laugh. "You can predict what you want, but then in two to five years something totally new comes in and everything evolves. I'm excited to see where this movement takes us and keep exploring."

Vevo's fireside chat with these two rising titans of the Latin music industry further reiterated that the genre connects so deeply with audiences because it tells human stories at the core, forming a universal appeal, with no end in sight.

*Source: Vevo Internal Analytics, US 8/28 - 9/26/21 views. Lifetime views through 9/26/21

Images at top courtesy of Vevo.

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