13 Puerto Rican Musicians & Singers You Should Know

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Puerto Rico is a small island, but its influence on music all over the world is huge. This list showcases some of the most famous and most successful Puerto Rican musicians and singers of all time. 

The legendary artists in this list have made a name for themselves not just within the realm of Latin music, but within the music scene worldwide.

From salsa, to Latin pop, to reggaeton, here are some of the essential Puerto Rican musicians and singers that everyone should know.

Ricky Martin

ricky martin

Ricky Martin has been dubbed the ‘King of Latin Pop’ with good reason. One of the best-known Latin music artists in the world, Ricky Martin was one of the key players in the ‘Latin explosion’ in the 90s. He has been a household name ever since.

Ricky Martin’s signature song is ‘Livin’ la Vida Loca’ – a track which topped the Billboard Hot 100 and the UK singles chart. He has topped the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart eleven times, with other hits including ‘She Bangs’ and ‘La Copa de la Vida.’ He has sold an incredible 70 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling Latin music artists of all time.

Martin’s other accolades include five Latin Grammy Awards, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Since coming out in 2010, Martin has been an active supporter of LGBT rights.  

An icon of Latin music, Ricky Martin is one of the most influential Puerto Rican musicians to have ever lived.

Bad Bunny

Bad Bunny is the alias of Benito Antonio Martinez Ocasio – the most-streamed artist in the world in both 2020 and 2021. 

His music, which combines elements of Latin trap and reggaeton, has proven massively popular worldwide. He was the first Spanish-speaking artist to claim the title of Spotify’s most-streamed artist, and he has held the title for two consecutive years – a staggering achievement.

Bad Bunny first made his name internationally thanks to his appearance on the Cardi B track ‘I Like It,’ and his track ‘Mia’ on which Drake featured. In an interview with Billboard, Bad Bunny listed fellow Puerto Rican artists Héctor Lavoe, Vico C, Daddy Yankee, and Marc Anthony as his biggest influences.

He has released four solo studio albums to date, as well as a collaborative album with J Balvin. His latest two albums, El Último Tour del Mundo (2020) and Un Verano Sin Ti (2022) topped the US album charts.

Luis Fonsi

luis fonsi

Luis Fonsi is the Puerto Rican singer responsible for the smash hit song ‘Despacito.’ Released in January 2017, the song, which features Puerto Rican rapper Daddy Yankee, broke numerous world records, and saw Luis Fonsi pick up a plethora of awards.

Fonsi’s biggest accolades include ‘Despacito’ being the most-streamed video on YouTube of all time (up until November 2020). To date, the video has nearly 8 billion views. In total, Fonsi won seven Guinness World Records for the track. He also picked up four Latin Grammy Awards, and five Billboard Music Awards.

Not everyone releases that Fonsi actually had a long career before ‘Despacito,’ releasing nine studio albums before he became a worldwide viral sensation. 

Ivy Queen

ivy queen

Martha Ivelisse Pesante Rodríguez, better known as Ivy Queen, is a hugely influential Puerto Rican singer, who is often given the honorific title, ‘Queen of Reggaeton.’

Born in Añasco, Puerto Rico, Ivy Queen’s parents moved with her to New York as a child. When she was 18, she moved to San Juan, where she joined the Puerto-Rican reggaeton group The Noise, which was led by DJ Negro. She was a pioneer as one the first women to succeed in the male-dominated genre.

After dropping her first solo album, En Mi Imperio in 1997, she went on to record nine more studio albums, and has released over ninety singles. Her biggest hits include ‘Quiero Bailar’ and ‘La Vida Es Así.’

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Ivy Queen hosted the Spotify podcast, Loud: The History of Reggaeton, in which she explores the Puerto Rican and Panamanian roots of the genre which has exploded across the world in recent years.

Vico C

Vico C

Born in New York and raised in Puerto Rico, Vico C is a hugely influential rapper and producer, who has been referred to as one of the founding fathers of reggaeton.

A central figure in the early days of reggaeton along with DJ Negro, Vico C blended elements of hip-hop with elements of Carribean music to create the sound.  

His career has seen him release ten studio albums since dropping his debut album, La Recta Final, in 1989. Both his 2002 album Vivo and his 2004 album En Honor A La Verdad won the Latin Grammy Award for Best Urban Music Album.

A legendary Puerto Rican musician, whose influence on Latin American hip-hop, rap, and reggaeton has been profound.

Ozuna 

Ozuna

Puerto Rican singer and rapper Ozuna is one of the best-selling Latin music artists of all time. Ozuna first broke onto the scene in 2012 with his song ‘Imaginado.’ He has gone on to sell over fifteen million records worldwide.

Ozuna holds the record for the artist with the most videos to reach over one billion streams on YouTube, with over seven videos that meet the criteria.

He has released five studio albums to date, with every one of them reaching the top of the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart. His 2017 album Odisea spent over thirty weeks at the top of the chart, breaking another record.

A superstar of contemporary Latin American music, and one of the most significant living Puerto Rican musicians today.

Chayanne

Chayanne

Chayanne is one of the best-known and best-selling Puerto Rican singers of all time. One of the most important names in Latin pop explosion of the 80s and 90s, Chayanne has sold of fifty million records.

Since dropping his debut album Chayanne es mi Nombre in 1984, the artist released a total of fifteen studio albums. Chayanne released sixty singles, nine of which topped the Billboard Hot Latin Tracks chart.

His greatest hits include ‘Y Tú Te Vas,’ ‘Completamente Enamorados,’ and ‘Tiempo de Vals.’

Aside from his music career, Chayanne is also well-known as an actor, appearing in Puerto Rican telenovelas Sombras del Pasado and Tormento.

An icon of Puerto Rican music and one of the big players in 80s, 90s, and 00s Latin music.

Daddy Yankee

puerto rican musicians and singers

Daddy Yankee, often referred to as the ‘King of Reggaeton,’ is one of the most-influential artists on this list. He is responsible for coining the word ‘reggaeton’ in 1991.

His first major international smash hit came in the form of ‘Gasolina’ – a track which is often credited as being responsible for bringing reggaeton to a worldwide audience. His 2004 album Barrio Fino, which features the song ‘Gasolina,’ went on to become the best-selling Latin music album of the 00s.

In 2017, Daddy Yankee made it big again, this time on his collaboration with Luis Fonsi, ‘Despacito.’ That year, the track became the most-streamed video on YouTube.

Daddy Yankee has received dozens of awards and nominations, including five Latin Grammy Awards, and fourteen Billboard Latin Music Awards. He announced that his 2022 album Legendaddy, and the accompanying tour, would be his last.

Willie Colón

willie colon

Willie Colón is a legendary American salsa musician, born to Puerto Rican parents in New York City in 1950. A prolific recording artist, Colón first rose to fame as a trombonist. Today he is better known as a singer. He is also known for his acting career and involvement with politics in New York.

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In a music career that has spanned seven decades, Colón has released over twenty studio albums. He was inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame in 2000, and in 2015.

Billboard named Colón amongst the 30 most influential Latin artists of all time. His hits include ‘Ché Ché Colé’ and ‘Calle Luna Calle Sol.’

Yomo Toro

Yomo Toro

Yomo Toro is a legendary Puerto Rican musician, internationally famous as the ‘King of Cuatro.’ The cuatro is Puerto Rico’s national instrument, and it is a small, 10-stringed guitar-like instrument that is slightly larger than a mandolin.

Toro was a prolific recording artist, releasing over 150 albums in his career. In his career of six decades, Toro was a regular collaborator with fellow Puerto Rican icons Willie Colón and Héctor Lavoe, as well as legendary Cuban musicians Arsenio Rodriguez and Alfonso Joseph.

Toro’s rise to worldwide fame came partly off the back of his theme song for the 1971 Woody Allen film, Bananas. His Christmas albums were also hugely successful, including the classic Asalto Navideño (1972), recorded with Willie Colón and Héctor Lavoe.

Jennifer Lopez

jennifer lopez

Jennifer Lopez, also known as J.Lo, was born to Puerto Rican parents who moved to the US mainland as children. She was born in the Bronx.

J.Lo initially rose to fame as an actress, starring in films including Selena (1993), Anaconda (1997), and Out of Sight (1998). She released her debut studio album On the 6 in 1999. She has released eight studio albums altogether.

J.Lo has achieved astonishing success in both her acting and her music career. Her biggest musical success is her second album, J.Lo (2001), which topped the Billboard 200 album chart, selling eight million copies worldwide.

Her biggest hits include ‘If You Had My Love’ (1999), ‘I’m Real’ featuring Ja Rule (2001), and ‘Jenny from the Block’ (2002). In recent years, much of her charitable work has supported Puerto Rican organisations.

José Feliciano

José Feliciano

Born in Lares, Puerto Rico, José Feliciano became an international star in 1968 with his Latin-soul rendition of The Doors’ song ‘Light My Fire.’ His other major hit is the Christmas song ‘Feliz Navidad.’

Blending elements of Latin, soul, and rock, his 1968 album Feliciano! was his most successful, reaching number two on the Billboard 200 album chart. The success of the Feliciano! album saw the artist become the first Puerto Rican to win a Grammy award.

A prolific recording artist, Feliciano has released over fifty studio albums in his long career. However, it would be fair to say that his popularity peaked in the 60s, with later releases failing to generate as much traction as the likes of Feliciano!.

Héctor Lavoe

Héctor Lavoe

Héctor Lavoe was a hugely influential Puerto Rican musician who was renowned for his salsa singing. The height of his career came in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, when he helped to popularise salsa music.

Lavoe was renowned for his clean, clear enunciation and diction, and his ability to effortlessly deliver rapid and complex vocal phrases.

Lavoe was a member of Willie Colón’s band, and the pair recorded over a dozen albums together. The records included a number of Puerto Rican folk songs. Lavoe was known for his energetic presence in live performances.

Unfortunately, his life ended sadly. After struggles with depression, drug addiction, and suicide, Lavoe died from from a complication of AIDS in 1993. His greatest hits include ‘El Cantante,’ ‘Bandolera,’ and ‘Periódico de ayer.’

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