New Latino singers proving country music can be a language for all

Budding Latino artists giving country music a new voice
Posted at 9:17 PM, Jul 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-31 11:55:05-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — In the world of country music Kat and Alex are rewriting the status quo.

Since making an appearance on American Idol their career hit the fast track in the last year.

“I’m excited, I’m excited to bring a piece of our culture and our growing up to our music,” said Katherine Lopez, or "Kat."

But unlike most country artists, they’re adding a Latin twist for today’s generation of fans performing in both English and Spanish.

“So Latin culture is about family, faith, friends, food - that’s exactly what country culture is about. So kind of when you correlate the two you realize we’re not so different,” said Alex Garrido, Kat's husband and the other half of the duo.

This comes as the industry faces continuous calls for diversity.

“If we do talk about race in a more inclusive way it’s usually black and white and we rarely think about the Latino presence that has also always been there in country music,” said Amanda Marie Martinez, a fellow at the Department of Recording Industry at Middle Tennessee State University.

Martinez said Kat and Alex’s stardom shouldn’t be all that surprising. “The country music audience has always been much more diverse than we generally think of it as.”

Martinez said Latinos have always been part of the genre’s growing audience, the challenge has been finding them representation. “Really there’s been an uncertainty about how to tap into that market because I think there’s a fear that fans won’t accept country artists who aren’t white,” she said.

But a small handful of budding Latino artists like Kat and Alex are proving it can be done.

“That’s just why we do it, we do it because people are being impacted," said Alex. "That’s all that matters to us.”