The cards are often stacked against up-and-coming artists, especially early in their careers. New artists often have to drum up clout to get people to pay attention – regardless of the quality of their music. Massive names in Latin music like Mexican ranchera legend Vicente Fernández and “La Diva de La Banda” Jenni Rivera started from nothing and grew into something on the merits of their hard work and the hits that followed. But when the children in these famous families step forward in hopes of being the next big thing, it’s seen as a form of privileged nepotism. And in a sense, it is – but there are other pressures involved when following in the footsteps of the family business.
When a child from an established musical family steps into the spotlight, they often already have the resources to get their foot deep in the door. But they also have big shoes to fill; frequently, the progeny of an artist can’t escape comparisons to their famous family member. They may also be taken less seriously due to the perception that everything was handed to them. Of course, those struggles pale in comparison to the ones faced by new artists with no leg up in the industry – but it’s still worth noting that it’s not always smooth sailing for the children of music success stories.
When Stella Santana, the daughter of Mexican-American guitar great Carlos Santana, was asked by TMZ in 2014 if musical talent is hereditary or partly earned, she responded “Both. In my family, for example, my dad’s dad is a musician and my mom’s dad was a musician, so I kind of just have it like all the way.” She was careful, however, to note that talent alone is not enough, noting “But it’s up to me to do the work to make it good.”
Many of family dynasties in Latin music are now putting forth their newest voices in hopes of continuing the legacy.
Here’s seven acts that are carrying on their family name proudly.
Mau y Ricky
Mauricio Montaner and Ricardo Montaner, Jr. are the sons of Argentine-Venezuelan singer Ricardo Montaner. Together, the two comprise music duo Mau y Ricky. The Latin Grammy-nominated brothers paid their dues as songwriters on billion-view hits like Becky G and Natti Natasha’s “Sin Pijama,” and Ricky Martin and Maluma’s “Vente Pa’ Ca.” After trying to duplicate the elder Montaner’s románticas on 2017’s Arte EP, Mau y Ricky have found their own groove, blending pop and música urbana on their recently-released debut album Para Las Aventuras y Curiosidades.
15-year-old Ángela Aguilar comes from one of Mexico’s most famous musical families, dating back to her father Pepe Aguilar’s parents, Antonio Aguilar and Flor Silvestre. After releasing an album with her older brother Leonardo Aguilar, 2012’s Nueva Tradición, Ángela broke through with her debut album, 2018’s Grammy and Latin Grammy-nominated Primero Soy Mexicana. As her album’s title suggests, she celebrates her Mexican roots on the record as a rising voice in ranchera music. Aguilar sounds eons beyond her years on a cover of the classic “La Llorona.” She is currently on the Jaripeo Sin Fronteras Tour with her family.
The story of Mexico’s Fernández family continues with 25-year-old Alejandro Fernández, Jr., who goes by the name Alex Fernández. He follows in the footsteps of his father, ranchera music superstar Alejandro Fernández, who was able to successfully step out of his father Vicente Fernandez’s shadow. With música urbana ruling airwaves across the globe, Alex stays true to the regional Mexican music his family is known for on his debut album, the fittingly-titled Sigue La Dinastia. With his father’s looks and musical gusto, Alex sounds primed to uphold the Fernández name.
After the untimely passing of her mother Jenni Rivera in 2012, 33-year-old Janney Marín Rivera, who goes professionally by the nickname Chiquis Rivera, had to step up to fill the role of family breadwinner. Rivera’s last record, 2018’s Entre Botellas, included a posthumous duet with Jenni. Chiquis’ hustle is paying off with last month’s news that she signed Universal Music Group’s Fonovisa imprint.
The Estefans became a household name in the ’80s thanks to the Miami Sound Machine, featuring Cuban couple Gloria and Emilio Estefan. Their daughter, Emily Estefan’s debut album, Take Whatever You Want, arrived in 2017, showing off her multi-instrumentalist dexterity, much like her father, while also boasting a rich voice like her mother’s. As an openly lesbian woman, Estefan is also using her platform to support LGBTQ+ causes with her parents.
The legacy of Mexican icon Pedro Infante, the singer and actor who was one of the inspirations for the character of Ernesto de la Cruz in Disney’s Coco movie, lives on in more ways than one. His son, Pedro Infante, Jr. took up the mantle for years before reportedly committing suicide in 2009. Nearly 10 years later, his daughter Lupita Infante, 32, emerged as a standout on the sixth season of La Voz México in 2017. Even though she didn’t win the competition, Infante has been singing with mariachi bands around the world. In late 2018, Infante signed a publishing deal with Peermusic.
Earlier this month, Lupita Infante posted a picture of herself on Instagram alongside 29-year-old singer Beatriz Solis, with the caption: “How exciting to see the next generation on the same path.” From that famous last name, it’s easy to deduce that Beatriz is the daughter of Mexican superstar Marco Antonio Solis, who launched his career with the band Los Bukis. After releasing a string of singles written by and featuring her dad, Beatriz stepped out with her debut album last month, Mi Nueva Historia. And with a soaring voice like the Solis patriarch, she’s getting ready to fly solo and write her own narrative.