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Have you ever wanted to ask Enrique Iglesias, Descemer Bueno, and Gente De Zona about their 2014 hit “Bailando”? What’s the story behind that Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine hit “Conga,” the one you that makes it irresistible to move? How does Daddy Yankee feel about being the “King of Reggaeton,” and were he and Luis Fonsi surprised by the outcry when the “Despacito” lyrics were translated to English?
Billboard’s VP of Latin music Leila Cobo joins us in conversations with local journalist Agueda Pacheco Flores to answer all of our burning questions about the last five decades of the genre, gathered in her book Decoding “Despacito”: An Oral History of Latin Music. She has collected oral histories—veritable treasure trove of never-before heard anecdotes and insight—from interviews with a who’s who of Latin music artists, executives, observers, and players. From the salsa born and bred in the streets of New York City, to Puerto Rican reggaetón and bilingual chart-toppers, she takes us inside the hits, to the inner sanctum of the creative minds behind the tracks that have defined eras and become hallmarks of history.
Leila Cobo is a classical pianist, novelist, and executive Editor for Billboard. She has published two award-winning novels, The Second Time We Met and Tell Me Something True. Her biography on Jenni Rivera remained among the top 10 most-sold books in Spanish in the United States for more than 25 consecutive weeks and was named a top read by publications such as Latina and People en Español.
Agueda Pacheco Flores is a journalist in Seattle with a focus on Latinx culture and Mexican American identity. She was previously an arts and culture writer at Crosscut where she enjoyed writing about Chicano galleries, Cumbia in the Pacific Northwest as well as shining a light on emerging Latinx artists. Originally from Queretaro, Mexico, Pacheco Flores is inspired by her own bicultural upbringing as an undocumented immigrant and proud Washingtonian.