The Puerto Rican singer, songwriter, and dancer Rauw Alejandro has found his strength in vulnerability. Whereas earlier reggaetóneros had built their reps on braggadocio (with amorous conquests as the ultimate status symbol), Alejandro has flipped the script, bringing out narcotic, enraptured love songs that have topped the charts and pulled in a broad range of fans. Alejandro was born Raúl Alejandro Ocasio Ruiz in 1993 in San Juan. He grew up in both the mainland U.S. and Puerto Rico, and his first love wasn’t music: It was soccer. But an injury in his teens put his dreams of a pro career out of reach. Alejandro turned to music—his second love—as a kind of therapy, finding an outlet for his frustration as he learned to sing and write songs.
Reggaeton artist Adassa owes her multinational appeal in no small part to her upbringing. She was born in Miami, FL, to Colombian parents, but relocated shortly thereafter to St. Croix, Virgin Islands. She was exposed from a young age to a wide array of musical styles and languages. She soon pursued instruction in music theory and opera while simultaneously exploring interest in writing, publishing her poetry as early as age ten. She was offered a number of familial inroads to the music industry, including recording gospel records alongside her mother and joining groups organized by her promoter/producer brother.