Latin Grammys 2019: Rosalía's 'El Mal Querer' Wins Album of the Year - Rolling Stone
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Rosalía’s ‘El Mal Querer’ Wins Album of the Year at Latin Grammys

Rosalía is the first solo female performer to win this award since Shakira in 2006

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 14: Rosalia accepts her Album of The Year Award onstage during the 20th annual Latin GRAMMY Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on November 14, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for LARAS)

Rosalía is the first solo female performer to win Album of the Year at the Latin Grammys since Shakira in 2006.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Rosalía’s El Mal Querer, an impressive fusion of old-school flamenco and hyper-modern electronic production, won Album of the Year at the Latin Grammy Awards on Thursday night in Las Vegas. Rosalía produced the album with El Guincho, and despite minimal radio play Stateside, it has earned around 40 million streams in the U.S. this year, according to the analytics company Alpha Data.

Rosalía was competing against Sebastián Yatra, Tony Succar, Ximena Sariñana, Alejandro Sanz, Luis Fonsi, Fonseca, Andrés Calamaro, Rubén Blades and Paula Arenas. Notably absent this year were any reggaeton or trap albums released during the Latin Grammys’ eligibility period, which spanned from June 1, 2018 through May 31, 2019. Though nominees Fonsi and Yatra dabble in reggaeton, especially when they want a radio hit, they are pop singers at heart. 

The lack of reggaeton nominations in the Album of the Year category was mirrored in the other general categories, Record and Song of the Year. So it’s not surprising that when the nominations were announced in September, reggaeton acts hopped on social media to voice their displeasure. “Without reggaeton, there are no Latin Grammys,” J Balvin wrote on Instagram. “There is a history that dates back many years where our genre has been denigrated,” the singer added later, in a lengthy Instagram video that has been viewed over four million times. On stage in Las Vegas, Rosalía thanked Balvin, who helped bring her to a wider audience in 2018 by including her on his Vibras album. 

Rosalía’s win on Thursday puts her in the company of musical giants who have ruled Latin pop for decades: Recent Album of the Year winners include Luis Miguel, Rubén Blades, Juan Gabriel, Juan Luis Guerra, and Paco de Lucía. Album of the Year winners are also overwhelmingly male — the only other solo female artist to take home the award was Shakira in 2006.

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