It was almost three years ago when Luis R. Conriquez made a life-changing decision. After working full time at a gas station and writing corridos on the side, he decided to focus strictly on songwriting and maybe even start singing himself.
“I had been writing corridos for about a year already and the day I decided to quit the gas station was because I was making really good money as a songwriter,” recalls l 26-year-old artist from Sonora, Mexico. “I was like, ‘I’m never going to that gas station again,’ and I made music my main gig. Well, here we are.
Conriquez has since become a chart-topping corrido singer-songwriter, earning a spot on BillboardThe 2021 Year-End Top Latin Artist chart ranks No. 40, thanks to his highest-charting track to date “El Buho,” earning him his first top 10 on Mexico’s regional Airplay chart. Although he’s not one to check charts or numbers, when he hears one of his charted songs “it has to mean we’re doing something right,” he says.
Conriquez is part of the new generation of regional Mexican artists who have gained momentum during the pandemic. A year before the COVID-19 shutdown, he decided to officially start singing inspired by the artists he grew up listening to such as Gerardo Ortiz and Larry Hernández (he has now collaborated with both).
“I always say that I really started writing and singing thanks to them. It comes from the admiration I have for them,” he explains. At first, Conriquez was writing corridos for others, but figured he might as well start singing them. “It was weird because one thing is to sing for fun but quite another to sing with a microphone in your hand.” To give himself courage and gain more experience, Conriquez recorded live songs he had written in a patio. “I recorded about six or seven songs. Then I started making music videos and people discovered them during the pandemic because well they were stuck at home. That’s when my music took off. really took off.
It was at this time that he also signed with Kartel Music, becoming the independent label’s first client. “I mostly managed myself. I had heard horror stories about other artists and their labels, so I thought maybe I would do this on my own,” he confesses. “But then I understood that if I was alone, I would limit myself. I met the label executives and it made sense to sign with them. I lost nothing. On the contrary, I was winning a team.
Now a bonafide corrido artist – who boasts nearly 8 million monthly listeners on Spotify – Conriquez is looking to step out of his comfort zone and reach new ears by releasing music that isn’t as impactful than the corridos. “I’ve always been into bullfights, but I want to start singing romantic songs, and that’s a completely different audience. So it will be a challenge, but I’m ready.
Below, meet this month’s rising Latin artist:
Last name: Luis R. Conriquez
Recommended song: “’Me Metí En El Ruedo’ represents who I am. And, if you watch the video, it tells my story.
Major achievement (so far): “Being able to have my own house. I have my own recording studio. And, having 8 million monthly listeners on Spotify.
And after: “There’s a lot of new music I’m going to release throughout the year. There will also be many collaborations with artists outside of my genre. What I can also say is that in July, I’m releasing volume three of Corridos Belicos and, later this year, I’m releasing an album of purely romantic songs. I’m going to get away from the corridos a bit.