¡Country Con Sabor! 7 Latine Country Artists to Know

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla.
Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla.
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Latine artists have contributed to the fabric of country music since its early days, shaping its evolution long before the age of recorded music. Country music has a rich heritage deeply entwined with the American South and Southwest, with communities influencing the genre from the Cajun-Creole to the Navajo. President Obama once said of the genre, “It’s a unique history that ties together many threads of our immigrant heritage … into music that is truly made in America.” It resonates with a wide spectrum of perspectives, transcending divides. The enduring popularity of songs like Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless The U.S.A.,” consistent use from President Trump, underscores its enduring appeal. And that appeal is growing outside of the U.S., in communities as far afield as Mongolia and Africa. Amidst this global embrace, the influence of Latine country artists remains constant in this field.

Early pioneers like Lydia Mendoza topped Texas radio charts with their Tex-Mex sound. Advancements in recording techniques further distinguished Tejano from country, exemplified by artists like Little Joe and Freddy Fender, and icons such as the Texas Tornados and Selena Quintanilla mastered this fusion. Yet, Texan variants aren’t the sole representation. New Mexico boasts its own country music heritage, called New Mexico music and was pioneered by folks like Al Hurricane and Antonia Apodaca, blending influences from ancient Pueblo peoples, New Mexican folk music, Wild West themes, and Route 66 rockabilly. 

Today, reflecting the genre’s expanding influence, both Texas and New Mexico distinct traditions are still strong, just check the New Tejano playlist on Spotify or keep up with KANW’s New Mexico Top 15. Not only that, but country en español is a popular format in Mexico, with bands like 8 Segundos contributing to its widespread appeal. All the while, in neotraditional circles, Leah Turner infuses her genuine family background into her music, and Frank Ray incorporates Spanglish into their songs. Lindi Ortega, with Mexican-Irish heritage, draws praise for her diverse musical experiences, including touring with The Killers’ Brandon Flowers. Emerging talents like Wyatt Flores from Stillwater, OK, bring a fresh perspective to country music with tracks like his debut single “Travelin’ Kid” and eclectic covers such as The Fray’s “How To Save A Life.”

In this list, we’ll meet more Latine country artists of this next generation in line to two-step.

Carin León

One of the biggest names in Latin American country music right now is Carin León, the Mexican singer-songwriter who isn’t shy about his love of the Nashville music scene. His songs blend traditional Mexican folk music with modern country elements, creating a unique and captivating sound. The Sonora singer made history after being invited to play both Coachella and Stagecoach this year, two of the most prestigious music festivals in the U.S. He is also spearheading the F*ck Regional Movement, taking a stance against the Regional Mexican monolith that consolidates numerous styles of music within música mexicana. He has collaborated with musicians from across the spectrum, including soul artist Leon Bridges and cumbia king A.B. Quintanilla. Not to mention, he recently played at the iconic Grand Ole Opry.

Valerie Ponzio

Valerie Ponzio debut EP Frontera was a reminder of the long line of Tejano stars that have made waves in the country music charts, in the footsteps of Lydia Mendoza and Little Joe. A native of The Lone Star State, Ponzio is a rising star in the country music scene. In 2017, she gained national attention after her rendition of the Johnny Cash classic “Ring of Fire” on NBC’s The Voice. Her popular songs include “Desert Rain,” “Just a Bordertown,” and “Love Me When You’re Lonely.” Each is a testament to the unique perspective she brings. Her music celebrates her West Texas culture, being a native of El Paso, with her songs encapsulating the essence of desert life. Through country soul vocals and heartfelt lyrics, Ponzio delves into themes of perseverance, love, and the importance of one’s roots. The music hones in on storytelling, doing what country music does best.

Angie K

Angie Keilhauer moved from El Salvador to the U.S. at the age of 11 and has been a rising star in the country music scene since 2016. Much like Ponzio, she gained recognition after appearing on The Voice, where she impressed the judges and the audience. After arriving in Nashville, the team of country star Jake Owen helped fund her 2020 single “Real Talk.” Her music is a blend of country, pop, and Salvadoran music, with bilingual lyrics that celebrate her dual identity and culture. Her songs include “Happily Ever After,” “Laredo,” and “Country Is as Country Does.”

Daniel Solis

Daniel Solis effortlessly transitions between classics like George Strait’s “Amarillo By Morning” and Baby Gaby’s “Tipi Tipi Tin” in live performances, but also shines with originals like “Up In New Mexico” and “Albuquerque,” written with ranchera stalwart El Gringo, aka Shawn Brooks. Solis also collaborates with other New Mexico country artists, such as Nathaniel Krantz with the Spanglish rendition of Billy Currington’s “People Are Crazy.” Solis and Krantz won “Crossover Song Of The Year” at the 2024 New Mexico Hispano Music Awards for that cover “La Gente Está Loca.”

Veronique Medrano

Known for her innovative Tex-Mex sound, Veronique Medrano gained recognition from her four studio albums and two EPs, including her latest, MexiAmericana. She advocates for the Mexican-American community’s impact on country music and has received six Tejano Music Award nominations. With a Master’s Degree from the University of North Texas, she’s not only a talented musician but also a scholar in Archives and Preservation. Recently, she paid tribute to Johnny Cash with her rendition of “Folsom Prison Blues.” Blending her multicultural life experiences into her music, Medrano continues to celebrate her Mexican American heritage through her art and make an impact in the country music scene.

Brandon Saiz

Back once again to The Land of Enchantment, Brandon Saiz is a former Northern New Mexico College basketball player turned country musician. He performs a neotraditional country music style, while infusing the traditions of Nuevo México. Saiz has made a name for himself in the country music scene with his songs “Tequila and Two-Step” and “That’ll Make You A Cowboy.” The music video for “Tequila and Two-Step” was filmed at The Dirty Bourbon, a popular Country Western bar in Albuquerque, NM. Moreover, Saiz opened for Runaway June and Lee Brice during the 2023 New Mexico State Fair.

Andrea Vasquez

Showing some love to the often overlooked California country music scene is Andrea Vasquez, born in Los Angeles. Her music was inspired by artists like Carrie Underwood and Shania Twain, finding herself chasing a country music dream from early on. Vasquez released a new single recently, “Now I’m Gone,” which is a powerful anthem about finding yourself again. She’s a member of the Song Suffragettes, a group of female singer-songwriters based in Nashville. They’ve been a positive weekly platform in launching the careers of numerous musicians, and encouraging a new generation of talented artists.