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Why Crossing Over to Spanish Is Worth the Risk for Most English-Language Pop Stars

April 3, 2021

On March 12, pop star Selena Gomez dropped her highly-anticipated Spanish EP Revelación. The 7-track set arrived with 23,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending March 18, according to MRC Data. While hardly a resounding success, it was enough to debut at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Latin Albums and at No. 22 on the Billboard 200.

Latin stars have long attempted to cross over into the mainstream, English-language market, but the reverse has not been true. Long before Gomez, 21 years to be exact, Christina Aguilera made her Spanish-language debut with Mi Reflejo in 2000 just as the Latin genre was experiencing the so-called “Latin Explosion.” That was when artists such as Ricky Martin, Shakira and Enrique Iglesias were crossing over to English and would eventually become general market household names.

But Aguilera – a bona fide pop star in the U.S. and high off her Grammy win for best new artist – was crossing over to Spanish with a 15-track set home to chart-topping tracks including pop anthem “Ven Conmigo” and R&B-tinged “Pero Me Acuerdo De Ti.”

Although Mi Reflejo went on to peak at No. 1 on Top Latin Albums, No. 27 on the Billboard 200 (charts dated Sept. 29, 2000) and received major radio airplay on Spanish stations, the unprecedented album was an isolated event.

Read more of this Billboard article here.  

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