The 24th Annual Latin Grammy Awards kicked off. They closed this year with a bang, starting by awarding Edgar Barrera the honor of Composer of the Year and later granting the artist born in Tamaulipas, Mexico, another Producer of the Year trophy. The acclaimed hitmaker, who has worked with artists like Shakira, Bad Bunny, Camilo, Christian Nodal, Sebastian Yatra, and Grupo Firme, continues to assert his great success and prolific career.
On Thursday, at the first-ever Latin Grammys held outside the United States in Seville, Spain, Barrera was the night star for accolades. “Latin music is very enriched in rhythms, many genres, and I always try to incorporate a little bachata, a little merengue, a little cumbia, a little vallenato, a little Andean sound, always trying not to lose those roots of what Latin music is,” said the producer.
This marked the first time the Grammy for Composer of the Year was awarded. That night, Barrera later won a second Grammy for Best Regional Mexican Song alongside Bad Bunny, Andrés Jael Correa Ríos, and Mag for “Un X100to.”
Early signs of talent
Barrera, who grew up in Miguel Alemán, Tamaulipas, recalled composing his first complete song at age 15. Over the years, the prolific songwriter has penned “special songs” like La Bachata by Miguel Turizo, Hawaii by Maluma, and the recent hit Un X100to by Grupo Frontera and Bad Bunny. “All my songs are like children, but those are special because they pave the way for new genres, like what happened with Grupo Frontera with Bad Bunny, which opened a new space for Texan music, making me very proud,” Barrera stated.
With 18 Latin Grammys to his name so far, Barrera was the top nominee this year with 13 nods, many in major categories, thanks to his skills as a producer and songwriter. “In any case, I don’t like the spotlight. I see my work as a way to help artists in their careers, and what motivates me is continuing to work with them,” he said in a press conference leading up to the Latin Grammys.
The Mexican-born hitmaker, now based in the United States, was nominated for the upcoming Grammy Awards as non-classical composer of the year for recent projects with Don Omar, Karol G, Christian Nodal, and Rels B, among others. “We’re paving the way for Latin music to crossover so that it’s not just Latin artists but also Latin composers reaching listeners worldwide, in those global markets,” Barrera celebrated upon hearing the news just days ago.
When asked about artificial intelligence as a potential concern, Barrera acknowledged that it is “when it confuses the listener, because you don’t know what is real and what isn’t” and because “it often plays with an artist’s voice and image. That’s where it’s wrong.” In his opinion, advances in this technology should instead be used to create demos and show singers, for example, what their songs could sound like if recorded. “Songs need a soul, and a computer will never have one. So I don’t see it as a threat,” he concluded.
After starting his label, Barrera aims to support the launching and development of new talent. He will compete in the Grammy’s general categories as the only Latin American nominee for composer of the year. Barrera is up against past collaborators of Britney Spears, George Strait, and Doja Cat. But whether he wins or not, his immortal melodies will continue inspiring listeners worldwide.