Latin artists have been dominating the U.S. charts lately. Look no further than the awards circuit for proof. Bad Bunny, Rosalía, Anitta – these artists, among others, are sweeping the nation and picking up nominations for the most prestigious awards while they’re at it. Whether you speak Spanish or not, the sheer emotive power in their songs pulls the listener in. We’ve all heard the phrase “music is a universal language,” and while it may be trite, it rings true.
Carin León is one Latin artist breaking down barriers. Hailing from Hermosillo, Mexico, León has become a familiar face on the U.S. Latin charts over the past few years – and it’s not hard to figure out why. With stellar vocals and driving 12-string riffs, León’s songs have a power to them that transcends any borders.
From duets with Walker Hayes to solo break-up anthems, find six great songs from Carin León below.
1. “Como Lo Hice Yo”
León wants to turn back time in “Como Lo Hice Yo.” After his relationship goes awry, he wishes he never met his significant other. If he had to option, he would curb the whole affair because now nothing can get rid of this pain. “Como Lo Hice Yo” is a stunning acoustic offering featuring lulling vocals from Mexican three-piece Matisse.
2. “Llorar y Llorar”
Along the same vein, “Llorar y Llorar” tackles the end of a relationship. Instead of bargaining like “Como Lo Hice Yo,” León is letting his emotions run wild in this one. He asks her to end things in the bathroom of a bar so that “the echo” lasts longer and “all his friends won’t see him cry.”
As the simple title attests, León has only one thing on his mind: you. He sings, Tú y de nuevo tú /
Dejas que naufrague justamente en ti / Tú, mi locura tú – which translates into a chorus that tells the listener the object of Leon’s affection is driving him crazy. Elsewhere he claims that saying goodbye would surely kill him. It may seem dramatic to some, but that is the Ranchera spirit at play. “Tu” spent 20 weeks on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart and peaked at No. 21.
4. “Me La Avente”
As the accompanying music video (see below) makes very clear, “Me La Avente” is a classic breakup song. León puts the final nail in his relationship, egging his partner to finally leave him – as she so often threatens to do. At the beginning of the video, León’s wife comes home to a bundle of roses and what she presumes is a love note waiting for her. Right before the video fades to black, we see that León has actually served her divorce papers. As he sings in the song (translated to English) Do what you want, and if you’re so tough / I beg you to follow through on your threats.
5. “El Tóxico”
Arguably his most famous song, “El Tóxico” spent a sprawling 28 weeks on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart, rising to No. 9. The song sees León wearing the “toxic boyfriend” badge proudly. He sings, Me vas a aborrecer / Porque te juro que voy a aferrarme / Voy a ser tu ex, el tóxico / El innombrable. Tapping fellow Latin artists Grupo Firme for a feature, the song is undoubtedly León’s trademark.
6. “Fancy Like (remix)” with Walker Hayes
Walker Hayes topped the county charts earlier this year with “Fancy Like.” A few weeks after the original version was released, León hopped on a remix that brought in a South of the Border flavor to the breakout hit. León added a Ranchera vibe to the song with traditional Mexican elements like trombones and 12-string guitars. The remixed version of the song is just as buoyant as the original, but made all the more special with León’s inclusion.
(Photo by Thaddaeus McAdams / Getty Images)