It’s a great time to be a pop music fan. Following our seemingly never-ending pandemic confinement, there’s been an exuberant return to high-energy dance music, glossy pop videos, intricate choreographies that go viral on a weekly basis, and an inspiring embrace of collective musical experiences. Barring the constant social media “stan wars,” pop and indie pop fans around the world are being well fed, both by rejuvenated legends and rising superstars.
Mexico has demonstrated it’s still Latin America’s hit factory, not only launching huge stars in música mexicana and infinitely memed perreo anthems, but also and enduring Mecca for artists taking their career to the next level. Colombian pop sensations Esteman and Elsa y Elmar, as well as nostalgic Argentine crooners Daniela Spalla and Bandalos Chinos, have become radio favorites and fixtures of the Mexican festival circuit. The country is also home to a new generation of pop agitators finding fresh inspiration in alt-rock (Bratty), emo (Bruses), rave (NSQK), and R&B (Latin Mafia).
Look further south and you’ll find new pop titans in Argentina such as Lali and Emilia, as well as Brazil, where adventurous divas Ludmilla and Marina Sena are following in Anitta’s stiletto footsteps in their quest for global domination. Also, shout out to the glorious return of legends Shakira, Julieta Venegas, and Cristian Castro, who have recently teamed up with sonic adventurers such as Bizarrap, Alex Anwandter, and Miranda! across riveting comebacks.
However, as much as we love an inescapable pop hit, the underground is also rife with delightful earworms and the kind of visual ingenuity that inevitably leads to stardom. Noisy R&B hybrids, confounding art-pop, and even the impending explosion of Quechua pop are all in our sights, so keep scrolling to discover some of the freshest names in Latin American indie pop set to take over your playlists in 2024.
Argentine singer and producer FERMIN has been on a steady climb since co-producing rapper Dillom’s blockbuster 2021 LP POST-MORTEM, subsequently harvesting his hooky Midas touch for his own solo project. His 2021 debut LP ORDEN Y PROGRESO glided on a Charly García-esque pop/rock charm, while his 2023 follow-up TODO SOBRE LA NADA went all in on mutant electropop, which prismatic swaths of house and baile funk. FERMIN performed at Primavera Buenos Aires in November and will be taking the stage at Lollapalooza Argentina this coming March, meaning the industry is already paying attention, and you should, too.
Some of the best pop music comes from disruptors who can craft the hell out of a catchy melody – think Lady Gaga or even Bad Bunny. And in Mexico’s evergreen musical landscape, standing out from the pack is an increasingly daunting challenge. Enter Valgur, the sibling duo from Oaxaca whose 2019 debut Zapandú came loaded with vampire synthpop and dreamy Zapotec poetry. Last year, they released Armaggedon, a dizzying, apocalyptic record filled with references from anime, Christian prog rock, and even heavy metal, earning rave reviews and positioning Valgur among the experimental vanguard of Mexican pop.
Denver-based producer and pop chanteuse Neoma made a big splash with her 2022 sophomore LP Hyperreal, hedging her bets on moody, ultra glossy bangers with singles like “FIXXIÓN” and “Don’t Call Me Again.” Originally from Cuenca, Ecuador, she debuted five years earlier with a sound that straddled synthpop and bedroom folk, cultivating loyal fan bases at home and in Colombia. In 2022 she was dubbed a Spotify Radar Artist, releasing a perreo-fied cover of Kate Bush’s viral “Running Up That Hill.” A subsequent string of percussive singles indicates that 2024 will be all about sadgirl culo shaking.
L E N I N
Quechua pop – it’s here, get into it! Peruvian singer, designer, and dancer L E N I N got massive social media buzz last year with dazzling videos for his singles “KUTIMUNI” and “AMARULLAQTA,” which melded Andean haute couture, high fantasy makeup, and intricate choreography. Taking a page from the K-pop handbook, L E N I N is harnessing the genre’s collectivist ethos to expand the reach of Quechua as a language and ancestral culture, following in the trailblazing steps of his mother, Andean music icon Yolanda Pinares.
Colombian singer, producer, and heartthrob Amantina has been in everyone’s mouth as of late. Daniel Sorzano Perry launched his mysterious, sensual project while living in Ecuador. But as buzz grew around his mix of pop, R&B, and experimental noise, he relocated to Bogota to engage with the equally effervescent scene. His 2022 LP Vivo, Nasty was a critical hit and earned Amantina a cult following, as well as an exciting booking at Estéreo Picnic. As he teases his forthcoming record, reggaeton and afrobeats have popped up on singles “Sabi” and “Caminito de Economia,” hinting at exciting fuckboi perreos to come.
Santiago de los Caballeros, in the Dominican Republic, has become a breeding ground of influential pop projects ranging from the innovative work of Mula and Diego Raposo to the thumping, melancholic earworms of Martox and Rosee Abreu. Newcomer maJa might be the next name on the brink, unveiling her debut EP Sí, back in November and weaving atmospheric production from Solo Fernández’s Gian Rojas with her own soaring, dulcet melodies. Fresh tunes and a cinematic partnership with director Jorge Guillén across videos for “a vivir en desacuerdo” and “me acostumbré” undoubtedly make maJa a star to watch.
With his 2023 debut album Belamor, Venezuelan pop ingenue YADAM perfectly synthesized his artistic mission statement, seeking the beauty in love and heartbreak through a series of percussive, compelling musical snapshots. Spending long, formative stints in the U.S. and France, the polyglot singer has also embraced high fashion cinematic aesthetics, transforming affecting bangers “Beso” and “Otras Mujeres” into immersive pop experiences. YADAM is signed to the finely tuned Nacional Records, already scoring buzzy crossovers with Zoe Gotusso and Blas Cantó and hinting at even bigger milestones on the way.
The psychedelic pop machinations of Guatemalan singer Tita have gained steady traction since debuting at the top of 2020, weaving bossa guitars, trap beats, and vintage vocals into her own little signature cocktail. Her peers have been paying attention, and so should you! Dig into the atmospheric trip-hop of “Ya No Estás” with Salvadoran producer AR Ferdinand, the smoky nostalgia of her “El Muchacho De Los Ojost Tristes” cover alongside Adrian Quesada, and introspective house ditty “Saturno” with fellow Chapin Bumont. For a more immersive journey, check out her 2022 debut album Mundo Cruel, which is filled with disco bass lines and devilishly angsty storytelling.
When it comes to the vast realm of Brazilian pop, where to begin? You could aim glitzy and glossy with sinewy productions from Céu and Marina Sena or march boldly into conceptual, avant territory with Luiza Lian and Ana Frango Elétrico. For our money, check out singer-songwriter and actress Julia Branco, who got her start back in 2018 with indie rockers Todos os Caetanos do Mundo before breaking out with her own brand of jazzy, atmospheric pop. Last year, she released her sophomore LP baby blue, which swirled with soulful vocals, synth textures, and big band arrangements across delightfully whimsical tracks like “Fim e començo” and “Silêncio.”
Check out the playlist below with even more amazing indie pop artists to keep on your radar.