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“THE SLEEPING GIANT HAS AWAKENED”: FUERZA REGIDA AND THE RISE OF MÚSICA MEXICANA

The impressive growth of música Mexicana is proving it isn’t just a trend. "Bebé Dame" by Sony Latin/Rancho Humilde’s Fuerza Regida, the San Bernardino, Calif., group led by rising star JOP (Jesús Ortiz Paz), for one, is among the hottest new songs at DSPs this year.

The Mexican American group, known for ballads highlighting Latino street culture (narcocorridos), collaborated on “Bebé Dame” with Texas indie breakthrough Grupo Frontera, hot off the success of its 2022 viral hit “No Se Va.”

Regida has demonstrated its knack for marketing with an onslaught of self-produced visual content, feeding its audience via Instagram, YouTube and TikTok. “Each video trends on YouTube within hours of posting,” explains Sony Latin U.S. VP of A&R Txema Rosique (pictured with JOP), who inked the group in partnership with Jimmy Humilde’s hugely influential Rancho Humilde. “Their audience is extremely engaged.”

In the first week of the year, “Bebé Dame” ranked #2 in the U.S. at TikTok, where JOP’s personal account and Fuerza Regida’s profile have jointly amassed 4.5m followers. Visual campaigns sparked action at Apple Music and Spotify, the song reaching #7 and #12, respectively, on the DSPs’ U.S. chart and Top 40 on Spotify global (it was #1 on the Spot’s Mexico chart). Blending Fuerza Regida’s street reputation with Grupo Frontera’s traditional regional Mexican sound, the song is appealing to fans of all ages.

The culture of música Mexicana and Fuerza Regida is resonating with Latin Gen Z streamers and their elders, who grew up soundtracking their gatherings with corridos (regional Mexican ballads). Subgenres inspired by traditional corridos like sad sirrieños (emotional, guitar-driven corridos) and tumbados (rhythmic corridos with trap elements) continue to boom. The narcocorrido, meanwhile, is mounting a comeback as street elements—much like some rap acts' promotion of "gangsta" culture—resonate with audiences. “We’re from the streets,” JOP told The New York Times in 2019. “We weren’t born in Mexico, and we’re not singing about the ranchos.”

Rosique, who previously held A&R titles at Warner Spain and Warner Chappell in Miami, has throughout his career championed rising música Mexicana acts like Natanael Cano and Junior H, inking both—also via Rancho Humilde—to Warner Music Latina. His bullishness on the genre paid off immediately when he moved from WML to Sony Latin in 2022, connecting with Rancho Humilde once again and closing Fuerza Regida, the West Coast’s hottest independent música Mexicana act, in August.

“‘Bebé Dame’ has surpassed its viral moment and established itself as one of the organic hits to kick off 2023,” commented Spotify Senior Editor, U.S. Latin Daniel Calderon. “It's exciting to see the milestones música Mexicana is reaching and the impact it has in pop culture, further solidifying what we've been saying for years: that música Mexicana is borderless. The sleeping giant has awakened, and we will continue to see artists in the genre from both the U.S. and Mexico reach these global milestones."

Many insiders expect an uptick of interest from the biz as top música Mexicana acts, most of which are based in California, Texas and the Southwest, remain independent, with some nonetheless selling out arenas in the region. Could this regional domination one day amount to what reggaeton or cumbia has achieved nationally in the U.S.? “The genre hasn’t had the global push yet that reggaeton has received,” Rosique notes. “That push, along with a superstar talent, could be all música Mexicana needs to get to that level.”

Watch the video for "Bebé Dame," currently #1 on YouTube, below.

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