In our program “Bachata Takeover: From the Bronx to the World” we detailed the history of bachata and the rise to worldwide popularity of urban bachata–the latest incarnation of the resilient Dominican guitar music. Urban bachata, which originated among the Dominican ex-pat community in New York City, is notable for blending the traditional form of bachata with hip-hop, r&b, reggaeton and pop. Starting from modest roots, the style has become a global phenomenon in the Spanish-speaking world, a craze with no sign of letting up.
To help you get situated, we’ve put together a list featuring music from some of the most prominent urban bachata artists along with a few up and comers. It’s more than enough to get you started on the road to bachata fandom. Be careful though–once you start down this path, it may be impossible to turn off the heartache.
Without question the most influential of the urban bachata groups, Aventura changed the sound of genre as we know it with the single “Obsesion.” The group continued to find considerable success with scores of other hits and collaborations before deciding to go on hiatus in 2011.
There is no other bachata artists in the world as big as Santos. First coming to international attention as a member of Aventura, Romeo went solo to equally massive impact. After regularly selling out massive concerts regularly across the Latin American world, Santos recently played three sold-out nights at Yankee Stadium.
One of the first urban bachata groups to form after Aventura, Xtreme hails from the Bronx and has experienced considerable success. Their most successful singles include 2006’s “Shorty Shorty,” which reached number one on the Billboard Latin Tropical charts, and “Te Extrano,” which has received over six million views on YouTube.
Straight out of Washington Heights (thus their name), the group was launched into the Latin music world spotlight with their incredibly popular 2009 debut “Me Puedo Matar.”
Only 25, Royce is the next in line (after king Romeo Santos) for the bachata throne. Born in the Bronx, Royce has already scored worldwide popularity with a number of popular tracks including “Darte Un Beso,” which has over 357 million views on YouTube. Royce is currently recording an all-English bachata album.
The Bronx-born teenage phenomenon Leslie Grace has already found considerable success before she was even out of high school. Grace, now age 19, scored a massive hit with the bilingual bachata cover of “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” originally by the Shirelles. Grace released her second full-length album last year. The self-titled record peaked at number four on the Billboard Latin Charts.
Growing up in both the Dominican Republic and New York City, 24 Horas got their first big break writing a song for bachata legend Frank Reyes. Since then, the group has scored a number of hits including “Mami Dame Un Beso” and “Por Favor.”