The most influential Latin American artists of the 21st century

October 7, 2022

Here is our list of Latino artists who have made an impact from 2000 to today.

Through music, several Latin American artists have exalted their roots inside and outside their countries of origin. It is true that Latin rhythms have crossed borders to reach different corners of the world for a few decades. However, as the 21st century passes, an increasing influence is observed in markets such as the United States, Europe and Asia.

Let’s take a look at some artists who have made their mark in one way or another on the music scene. And even better, how they have left their mark and have had effects on other cultures, even different languages.

Gloria Estefan

The Cuban-American Gloria Estefan occupied the position number 13 of the list among the 50 singers that will never be forgotten, of the British newspaper The Sun, in 2010. In addition, she has been the only Latina that Billboard magazine has included in its list. of the best artists of all time. In 2011, she became the first Latina woman to release a song and place it directly at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart.

Although the name of this artist began to be visible internationally a couple of decades before the beginning of the 21st century, from 2000 onwards she established herself as a Latin pop icon over the world.

The Miami Sound Machine band was the platform that allowed her to show the world her brilliance. Gloria was the perfect voice to interpret songs that mixed American swing pop with Afro-Cuban rhythms. She is considered the forerunner of Latino artists in the United States.

Carlos Santana

The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) chose Mexican guitarist Carlos Santana in 2021 to receive the Leyenda award. He has 10 Grammy Awards to his credit and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2003, he ranked number 20 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.

Carlos Santana revolutionized rock being a pioneer by incorporating Latin, African, blues and jazz rhythms. His music managed to internationalize and open doors to rock in Spanish.


Colombian superstar Shakira is one of the most successful singer-songwriters in the last 25 years. Her most recent album of hers achieved the highest recognition that a graphic disc production can obtain in the United States, Diamond Disc.

Shakira was the first artist to sing 3 consecutive times in World Cups: Germany 2006, South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014. As if that were not enough, in 2020 she lit up the stage of the Super Bowl halftime show with Jennifer López. This show constitutes one of the most watched broadcasts on American television and the world.

Her career took off internationally after the publication of her third album and her first bilingual production Laundry Service. On this album she combined the genres of pop and rock with Latin and Arabic elements. She is currently recognized as the Queen of Latin Pop.

Jennifer Lopez

Without a doubt, Jennifer López is one of the maximum references when it comes to Latin artists. She is the American with Puerto Rican roots who paved the way for Latin American actors and singers outside of the Hispanic market.

Jennifer was the first Latina actress to earn a million dollars, she broke the Hollywood scheme of assigning stereotypical characters related to ethnic origins. One of her most shocking recent moments was her explosive Super Bowl appearance. In addition to demonstrating her well-deserved title of Diva del Pop, she took the opportunity to convey a clear message that Latinos are an important part of the life of the United States and deserve a dignified place in society.

Daddy Yankee

From 2000 onwards has been the time of the worldwide expansion of reggaeton, an urban genre that popularized precisely the Puerto Rican Daddy Yankee. In 2006, Time magazine included him in its list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

The success of Gasolina is among the 100 best songs of the 21st century, according to Rolling Stone. In that same list, Despacito also entered, a collaboration that he made with Luis Fonsi and has 7 billion views on YouTube.

Daddy Yankee is the precursor of a whole urban music phenomenon that is flooding platforms like Spotify to reach every corner of the planet. J. Balvin, Bad Bunny and Maluma are other great artists who are setting the standard in this genre, and at the same time take advantage of their influence to raise their voice for Latinos.

Definitely, what is going on in the 21st century has laid the foundations for the penetration of Latin American culture in different corners of the world through great artists. The truth is that the list of influential personalities is much longer. In the meantime, we take pride in those who have set precedents and other emerging talents who promise to exalt our roots wherever they go.

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