‘Verano Alternativo’: 4 Latin Artists You Need To Know To Spice Up Your Summer

On Tuesday, July 5, BMI Latin brought the "Verano Alternativo" showcase to New York City’s Bowery Electric. The sounds of Latin electronica, rock and dance rhythms lit up the night and served as the unofficial start to the 2016 Latin Alternative Music Conference (LAMC).

Digital Guaracha served as the DJ in-between sets by Manu Manzo, Rana Santacruz, Vanessa Zamora, and Too White to Be Mexican, four incredible artists you need to be listening to right now.

Scroll through the pictures above to relive some of the showcase’s highlights and keep reading below to find out more about these talented performers.

Manu Manzo ( @manumanzo):

Manu Manzo is a Venezuelan-born singer/songwriter. She relocated to Miami when she was 10 years old and since then has been part of several music groups.

She studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston where she discovered new sounds, which gave her new influences. In 2015, Manu released her first EP “Como Soy” independently, in which she was able to write with artists such as Alex Ubago, Tommy Torres, Luis Enrique, Elsten Torres, Cris Zalles and Juan Carlos Pérez Soto, who also produced the project.

Her sound is a mix of all the genres that have influenced her life from Latin to Jazz, and Hip-Hop to Neo-Soul and the Blues. In September 2015, she was nominated in the “Best New Artist” category at the Latin GRAMMY Awards.

Rana Santacruz (@RanaSantacruz):

Born and raised in Mexico City, Rana first found success there in the late '90s with his alt-rock band La Catrina. But when the group failed to score a radio hit, Rana turned his back on a major label record deal to release his own music on his own terms and moved to Brooklyn in 2002.

On his 2010 solo debut, “Chicavasco,” Rana re-invented himself as a sophisticated musical cosmopolitan and talented multi-instrumentalist. Now he’s back with “Por Ahí,” a bold new collection of 11 original songs that dig even deeper into this potent musical mix.

Released on May 5 on Chicavasco Music, “Por Ahí” captures the visceral acoustic punch of Rana’s live shows, with an eight-piece band (drums, percussion, contrabass, acoustic guitar, banjo, violin, trumpets and Rana’s own accordion) that’s sometimes rounded out with clarinet.

Vanessa Zamora (@vanezamoraa):

Vanessa Zamora’s emotive vocals coupled with her personal lyrical style has captivated audiences in her native Mexico. Only in her early 20s, the Tijuana, Baja California native has already created the aura of an artist who has been around for quite some time.

Vanessa’s debut album “Hasta La Fantasía” has created a buzz amongst key tastemakers. Vanessa was nominated for multiple IMA’s (Indie Music Awards) in Mexico and has created a touring circuit for her in Mexico, which has garnered more and more attention for the talented singer/songwriter.

Zamora was also invited to perform at the South by Southwest Music Conference, BMI’s Mujer de Fe Showcase, and the Viva Pomona Festival. Vanessa will be returning to the U.S. this summer with more select live performances all the while writing and recording new material.

Too White To Be Mexican (@toowhitetobemex):

Too White to be Mexican is a collaborative multimedia project created by producer and composer Giovanni Escalera of the pioneering Mexican electronic group Sweet Electra.

In this new solo project, Escalera, a Mexican native who lives in New York City, collaborates with singers from Chile, Mexico, Spain, Israel and the United States, including Lara Bello, Camila Meza, Renee Mooi, Sandrushka Petrova (Deskartes A Kant), Mi$$ound, and Maor Nawi.

Escalera plans to release new singles on a bi-monthly basis. The title of the project refers to a comment Escalera often receives: “You’re too white to be Mexican!” – one that challenges his identity as both a Mexican and a global citizen and also challenges others' perceptions of what a Mexican should be, or should look like. The music for this project will highlight and reflect the richness of contemporary Mexican culture.

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Maria G. Valdez

Maria was born and raised in Dominican Republic, where she began her career in journalism covering human interest stories, entertainment, beauty and wellness for a national magazine. She moved to New York City to study Musical Theatre, but went back to journalism after graduating in an attempt of becoming the Latina Carrie Bradshaw. She has an unhealthy obsession with JLo and claims to be Sofia Vergara’s long-lost daughter, and has tried a crazy amount of treatments to keep looking young. She became a Zumba instructor for fun.