Concerts

Houston Rising as Hub of Urban Latino Music

Maluma was the star of the show at at AT&T's #HazRuido event at White Oak Music Hall.
Maluma was the star of the show at at AT&T's #HazRuido event at White Oak Music Hall. Photo by Marco Torres
One evening late last week, about 500 lucky fans packed the downstairs floor of White Oak Music Hall to see one of the hottest Latin-American entertainers in the business. The show was sponsored by AT&T Latino's #HazRuido campaign, which translates to "Make Noise;" that's exactly what occurred as an arena act was squeezed into such an intimate setting. Aided by a team of Houston based entertainment specialists, the event — headlined by Colombian superstar singer-songwriter Maluma — proved that Houston is ready, willing and able to host Latino-focused brand activations on a large scale with outstanding success.

When AT&T approached local DJ Gracie Chavez about the event, it began on the basis of a performance slot. As the scope grew, so did the responsibilities, and Chavez's role evolved into a production capacity, run through her Fahrenheit Media company. She then recruited Marissa Saenz of Pure Peach Media and Miguel Medina of AURA Systems (light/sound/video) to help coordinate the event in conjunction with The 360 Agency, an experiential firm for AT&T. Chavez has worked with large brands before, and knows the importance of making a good impression for the future of quality entertainment oriented towards the Latino fan base.

"Houston is an international hub with a strong Latino and Pan-American community," stated Chavez when reached by phone a few days later. "Our city is becoming the focus of many activations like this one, as Houston's 'Fourth Largest [City]' tag shifts to 'Third Largest' before the next census in 2020." Combine that with Houston being named the nation's most diverse large city, plus the trillion-dollar spending power of the Latino population, and it all leads to continued interest in capitalizing on that portion of the economy, one campaign at a time.

Back at #HazRuido, Maluma delivered a masterful seven-song set full of confidence, sex appeal and pride. Tracks like "Borro Cassette" and "Felices Los 4" made the room spin with emotion and applause. He refers to his music as "Urban Latino," encompassing styles from reggaeton to salsa, ballads to hip-hop, pop to underground. "Its a mashup of the Latino experience," says Chavez. "It definitely resonates with this generation of Latinos, acculturated or otherwise."


click to enlarge Jonatán Sánchez, aka the Justin Bieber of Banda - PHOTO BY MARCO TORRES
Jonatán Sánchez, aka the Justin Bieber of Banda
Photo by Marco Torres
Also on the bill was 18-year-old Jonatán Sánchez, who has been called the "Justin Bieber of Banda." With a voice and demeanor way more mature than his baby face would suggest, he opened the show with the sweet sound of Regional Mexican love songs. Corpus Christi's own DJ El Dusty filled in between the two headliners with his own brand of Latino remixes and genre-bending blends. From current hits by J.Balvin and other tropical bass tracks, he shifted the evening's mood with a Ramon Ayala classic chopped into a hip-hop booty shake, much to the audience's surprise and delight.

Houston is blessed with a great selection of quality DJs and Latin-themed nights, ranging from the traditional to the cutting edge of the genres, which include — but are hardly limited to — Tropical, Merengue, Reggaeton, Cumbia, Salsa, Bachata y más. Artists such as DJ David Cruz and DJ Geraldo keep the culture in Houston vibrant and up-to-date by mixing the latest hits with beloved classics. Follow DJ iLL-Set as she travels back and forth between Houston, NYC and Miami keeping the party alive with Latin rhythms. Nights such as Bombón and Blackout HTX push the envelope towards a more modern mix. Here are a few more ongoing Latin-themed events in Houston:

click to enlarge Reggaeton, Cumbias, Tropical, Latin Bass - FACEBOOK/SATELLITE BAR
Reggaeton, Cumbias, Tropical, Latin Bass
Wepa Wednesdays at Satellite Bar

click to enlarge Spire Houston's Latin Fridays, feat. DJ Riddler - SPIRE HOUSTON/FACEBOOK
Spire Houston's Latin Fridays, feat. DJ Riddler
Spire Latin Fridays

Fox Hollow Latin Fridays w/Orquesta Salmerum


Blackout HTX at Boondocks

Bombón - Houston's Ultimate Tropical Dance Party


More images from the #HazRuido below:

click to enlarge The crowd was treated to a variety of sounds all night. - PHOTO BY MARCO TORRES
The crowd was treated to a variety of sounds all night.
photo by Marco Torres

click to enlarge El Dusty. - PHOTO BY MARCO TORRES
El Dusty.
Photo by Marco Torres

click to enlarge PHOTO BY MARCO TORRES
Photo by Marco Torres

click to enlarge Maluma - PHOTO BY MARCO TORRES
Maluma
Photo by Marco Torres

click to enlarge PHOTO BY MARCO TORRES
Photo by Marco Torres

click to enlarge Maluma was the star of the show at the #HazRuido event at White Oak Music Hall. - PHOTO BY MARCO TORRES
Maluma was the star of the show at the #HazRuido event at White Oak Music Hall.
Photo by Marco Torres
click to enlarge The dream team (L-R) Miguel Medina of AURA Systems, Gracie Chavez of Fahrenheit Media, & Marissa Saenz of Pure Peach Media. - PHOTO BY MARCO TORRES
The dream team (L-R) Miguel Medina of AURA Systems, Gracie Chavez of Fahrenheit Media, & Marissa Saenz of Pure Peach Media.
Photo by Marco Torres

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When he's not roaming around the city in search of tacos and graffiti, Houston Press contributor Marco points his camera lens toward the vibrant Houston music scene and beyond.