One of the most measured units of success for a musical artist is the number of YouTube views. Artists like J. Balvin, Shakira, and Cardi B have all come to bask in YouTube’s “Billion View” club. While it is undoubtedly a goal for an accomplished artist, it should come as no surprise that YouTube also supports and features new musical artists with its own special program called “Foundry.” The program’s goal is to support artists as they forge ahead in the music business as independent artists.
Artists like ROSALÍA, Rauw Alejandro, and Dua Lipa have all been featured in the global artist development program since its inception in 2016. “Foundry was my introduction to YouTube,” said Dua Lipa, who was a participant in the program’s freshman year. Since then, Dua Lipa has been the youngest woman to hit one billion views on the platform. Today, she has 19 million subscribers. Rauw Alejandro most recently had a collaboration with Jennifer Lopez on the summer hit “Cambia El Paso.” Those two examples alone from the first year’s class are enough to prove the point that it’s a big deal to be on the Foundry list.
Fast forward to this year’s 2021 class, and it too shows a lot of promise. Not only is it the largest Foundry group to date with 27 musicians, but it also features a diverse group from 14 countries around the globe. A big chunk of that diversity comes from Latine artists from the U.S. and Latin America. With that said, here are a few of those artists to put on your playlist.
Medellín, Colombia — known for producing some of the biggest talent _—is home to new artist Bad Milk. Born as Manuelita Garcia, this Colombian artist is in the urban pop category. Her biggest single, “Ego,” featured Ovy on the Drums and has racked up over 411-thousand views. “My music is chameleonic; I love to experiment with different sounds and portray different emotions. I don’t enjoy putting my creativity in a box. I see music as a mission,” she says
Also from Medellín, Colombia is Blessd. At 21, this rapper has already collaborated alongside Maluma, The Black Eyed Peas, Ovy on the Drums, and The Rude Boys. “Being an artist is a dream I always had and also something I needed to do for my family. As an independent artist, I feel free,” he says. His latest single, “Hace Tiempo,” is just a month old and already has 10 million views.
“Being independent is a mentality. Claiming independence is saying: We are not the same! I will not conform to your standards. I will express myself in a way that satisfies my will, not yours,” says the Bakersfield, California musician. Junior Mesa has a fresh sound in the indie music scene. His influences are Ella Fitzgerald, Jimi Hendrix, Sly, and the Family Stone. He told Remezcla recently, “There’s a slower pace that my generation sort of needs because our lives are so fast and frantic. For me, music is peace. It’s what I want to share.”
Marina Sena is an artist from Brazil. Her sounds are a culmination of funk and soul. “To be an independent artist is to have determination, free will, freedom. I love being an independent artist, making the sound that really is all about me.” she shares. With one album out, her latest release, “Voltei Pra Mim,” is almost at the one million view mark on YouTube.
Also from Brazil, São Paulo to be exact, is Tuyo. The band’s music is described as more of a feeling than a type or specific genre. “It’s music for floating, for flying. We are whole, happy, and successful when we can communicate with people through music,” they said. With an impressive social media following, their YouTube page is just as successful.
With over 81,000 subscribers, the group has a combined 8 million views total for their music content.
The Dominican Republic is home to Tokischa. The artist has defiant lyrics and is a mindset all its own. “My music has no labels,” she says, “I am excited to stand out in countries that are far from my culture.” A look at her YouTube page, and you will see multiple videos with over 10 million views. Her most viewed song “Tukuntazo“ has over 14 million.
Watch the video below for more on the 2021 YouTube Foundry’s Class.