Whether it’s Latin pop, reggaeton or regional Mexican, it’s a male-dominated Latin music industry out there, but more and more women are stepping in and taking charge.
With Women’s History Month coming to an end, Billboard has compiled a list of women in the Regional Mexican genre that you should keep on your radar. From newcomer Lupita Infante to Latin Grammy winner Chiquis and beyond, check out the list below.
Hailing from Tijuana, Mexico, Adriana Rios is one to watch in the regional Mexican realm. The singer-songwriter, who’s making the rounds with her two singles “Ya No Me Importa” and “Hoy Dame El Gusto,” is signed to AfinArte Music and has already shared the stage with Latin music titans such as Los Ángeles Azules, Julio Preciado, Aleks Syntek and Pancho Barraza. Last year, Rios’ “Esta En Ti” (It’s In You)” won best quarantine-inspired song in a Billboard fan poll.
The daughter of Pepe Aguilar and granddaughter of regional Mexican legends Antonio Aguilar and Flor Silvestre, Aguilar is making a name for herself thanks to her contemporary take on traditional mariachi and norteño sounds. The Mexican-American singer released her first album Primero Soy Mexicana in 2018, which received a Latin Grammy nomination for best ranchero/mariachi album at the 19th annual awards ceremony. Most recently, she released her highly anticipated collab with Christian Nodal “Dime Como Quieres,” which peaked at No. 8 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart (dated Dec. 4, 2020).
Signed to DEL Records, singer-songwriter Cheli Madrid stands out for her banda and mariacheño tracks such as “Que Poquito Me Conoces,” “Me Cae” and “Haré De Cuenta.” The Sinaloa-born artist got her start in the music industry at the young age of 10 singing Marisela and Joan Sebastian songs.
Chiquis, daughter of the late Jenni Rivera, is no new name in the game, but we’re convinced that more and more fans are discovering her music thanks to the popular Netflix series Mariposa de Barrio. In 2015, the Mexican-American singer reached No. 1 on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart with her debut set Ahora, becoming the first woman to top the chart since her mother opened at No. 1 on Dec. 20, 2014, with the posthumous 1 Vida-3 Historias: Matamorfosis — Despedida de Culican. In 2020, Chiquis won the Latin Grammy for banda album for Playlist.
Ely Quintero got on most radars after she teamed up with Chiquis and Helen Ochoa for an all-female collab on “Las Destrampadas.” The Culiacan-born singer, who calls herself “Cantautora Culichi” on social media, signed off 2020 with her album Corridos Clasicos, Vol. 1, which she says was a miracle of God. “It’s the riskiest thing that I have done because of the confinement, the dates, the times,” she noted.
Erika Vidrio is hardly a newcomer. Born and raised in Jalisco, Vidrio has penned more than 100 songs that have been recorded by artists such as Conjunto Primavera, Banda La Trakalosa, Voz de Mando and Christian Nodal. The singer-songwriter, who began her career in the industry as a radio host in Los Angeles, has also recorded multiple albums including her 2010 debut record “Te Vas a Seducir” and her latest “Alma Bohemia” released in 2020.
Erika Ortiz “La Morra De La Vihuela”
Born and raised in Baja California, Mexico, Erika Ortiz, who records under the moniker La Morra De La Vihuela (the girl with the vihuela), began her singing career at 4 years old singing in shows such as Siempre En Domingo. Ortiz has released a handful of guitar-led singles serenading fans with songs of heartbreak (“Siempre Te Quiero Ver”) and empowering anthems (“Triste Pero No Cobarde”).
Inspired by artists such as José Alfredo Jimenez and José José, Helen Ochoa perfectly blends in both worlds: regional Mexican and Latin pop. The California-based artist signed to record label/artist management company Gerencia 360 after being discovered on Puerto Rican singing competition Objetivo Fama. In 2016, she launched her debut album Si Yo Fuera Un Chico and since, has collaborated with artists such as Lupillo Rivera, Chiquis, and Marco Antonio Solis. “You have to work very, very hard. Nothing will happen if you’re just sitting at home,” Ochoa previously told Billboard. “You personally have to go out and look for those opportunities and be demanding.”
Whether it’s Latin pop, cumbia or rancheras, Contreras’ fresh, crisp, powerhouse vocals shine in every way. The Regional Mexican newcomer, currently making the rounds with “Pobre Corazon,” has been inspired by some of Latin music’s biggest names, including Jenni Rivera, Rocio Durcal, Sin Bandera and Camilo Sesto, which is why at only 24 years she considers herself an “old soul.” Contreras recently released her albums En Vivo and En Vivo, Vol. 2 via Show Business.
Irene del Rosario
Hailing from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Irene del Rosario is a mariachi at heart, inspired by artists such as Lola Beltrán and Vicente Fernandez. Her biggest dream would have been to collaborate with the iconic José Alfredo Jiménez because of his heartfelt compositions. Signed to AfinArte Music, del Rosario will soon present her debut studio album.
After making her debut as a featured artist on Natanael Cano’s “Golpes de La Vida” in 2019, Ivonne Galaz, who became Rancho Humilde’s first female signee, released her first-ever album, Voy En Camino (On My Way). The set showcases Galaz’s songwriting chops and guitar-playing skills featuring ballad-like sierreño tracks with resounding themes of hustling, heartbreak and daily life struggles. In 2020, Galaz, who hails from Sonora, Mexico, released a tribute song in honor of U.S. Army solder Vanessa Guillen, on which she narrates Guillen’s tragic fate.
Valenzuela is a 25-year-old artist and musician who got on the map thanks to her viral videos on social media, where she would cover norteño hits with her accordion. Currently making the rounds with her single “El Gato De Chihuaha,” Valenzuela describes herself as “crazy, sarcastic and un desmadre!”
Mexicali-born singer-songwriter Karina Catalán began her career singing with her local church choir when she was 7 years old. By age 12, she had penned her first-ever song. After participating in singing competition shows Latin American Idol and La Voz México, Catalán went on to release her debut banda album A Tu Salud in 2015 and most recently her Ama Tus Raíces album, which was recorded live during the pandemic and dropped this year.
Placing all bets on the mariacheño sound for her 2019 album De Mujer a Mujer, Laraim is a rising regional Mexican artist who made her debut in 2017 singing a cover of Banda MS’ “El Color de Tus Ojos.” The singer-songwriter has also penned songs for other artists such as Grupo Firme. Most recently, she released a duet with Noel Torres titled “Fue Un Placer Conocerte.”
Born in Pueblo Viejo, Lili Zetina was first discovered by Don Pedro Rivera, father of the late Jenni Rivera, at a music event in 2015. Two years later, Rivera signed Zetina as an exclusive artist of his record label Cintas Acuario Música. Making the rounds with her 2021 album La Muerte de Heriberto Zetina, Zetina is coined as “la patrona de los corridos.”
Lupita Infante has deftly fused traditional mariachi sounds with contemporary pop making her a standout in the regional Mexican space. The granddaughter of the iconic Pedro Infante, the Mexican-American artist scored a 2021 Grammy nod in the best regional Mexican music album category thanks to her record La Serenata, a love letter to traditional mariachi and norteño sounds.
Rising singer-songwriter Marián Oviedo released her covers album Mis Versiones 1 in 2018 injecting new life into regional Mexican tracks such as “Me Vas a Extrañar” and “Te Metiste” and “Se Va Muriendo Mi Alma.” Since then, she’s released eight additional cover albums and in 2021, released Considérame, featuring new tracks penned by her.
Victoria La Mala
Bilingual corridos and banda singer Victoria La Mala is known for her distinctive girl-power anthems such as “Vete Mucho” and “Victoria ‘La Mala’” that put her on the map in 2013. Born and raised in Mexico, Victoria La Mala has collaborated with artists such as Flor de Toloache, Young Hollywood, and Kap G.