Peso Pluma on Becoming Música Mexicana’s Newest Leading Star: ‘It’s No Longer ‘Regional,’ This Is Global’

Peso Pluma on Becoming Música Mexicana’s Newest Leading Star: ‘It’s No Longer ‘Regional,’ This Is Global’

It’s a great time to be Peso Pluma, as the Guadalajara native is seeing the work he’s put into his life in music coming up roses in recent months — even translating into the U.S., with his name being attached to several monumental moments and historic metrics.

His collaboration with Eslabon Armado, a trumpet-led corrido titled “Ella Baila Sola,” hit No. 10 on Billboard’s all-genre-inclusive Hot 100 with over 24 million streams. It’s the highest-charting single in the genre’s history and the third all-Spanish language song to enter the top 10 of the chart this year.

Pluma’s audience has also expanded globally. He ranks as the No. 5 most streamed artist in the world on Spotify with six songs hitting the platform’s Top 50 Global chart. On that list, “Ella Baila Sola” is at No. 2 and Peso Pluma’s remix of Yng Lvcas’ “La Bebe” is at No. 3.

This morning, he unveiled the launch of his own independent record label, Double P Records, where he’ll serve as CEO and head of A&R in the subdivision linked to his home label Prajin Records. “Peso is an incredible artist and I have witnessed him in the studio writing and producing for many years,” said George Prajin, president of Prajin Records, in a statement. “I have always known that he would make an excellent executive and I want to do whatever I can to support him in this new journey.”

He’s set to go on his first U.S. tour later this year, hitting over 20 cities across the country — an “inconceivable” feat for the young musician whose sights were set on captivating only border states not too long ago.

“We have dates in Brooklyn, in Atlanta…with a lot of the tickets being sold within the first few minutes we released them,” he tells Variety. “It feels incredible because we ultimately want to stop putting that name of ‘regional Mexican’ to the music because it is no longer regional. This is global, this is Mexican music and it’s for the world.”

Variety caught up with the rising Latin music star to reflect on his career milestones — many of which have happened in the span of the last few months. From playing his first (sold-out) show in the U.S. to making his festival debut at Coachella, Peso Pluma outlines his journey thus far and opens up about his plots to bring all of Mexico with him, wherever he may end up next.

How’s life been for you these days? Where in the world are you spending most of your time?

We’ve been spending a lot of time in the U.S. and it’s been great because I’ve always been very well-received here. It feels like people have been waiting to see me and the fanbase has been growing a lot here and very fast — but it’s not something that I would say surprises me because I knew where the project was headed. I always knew we had something special and I think the people on my team — everyone at Prajin [Records] to the people that travel with me all over the fucking place — we’ve managed it very well.

When did you begin to realize you had an aptitude for music — especially in this genre that has remained untouched by younger generations before this decade?

It all happened at the same time. I think I was about 13 or 14 when I realized that what I wanted to do was dedicate myself to music but I didn’t imagine myself as a singer. I wanted to dedicate myself to music — in any field. Be it production or in the studio, as an engineer — I wanted to dedicate myself to music because it was my greatest passion. Later I realized that I had the facility to do many things.

I didn’t know what a producer was, but I realized halfway through my making music that I was learning to produce my own stuff. Later I collaborated with producers like my cousin Tito Laija who is a composer. Then came Iván Leal, who helped us give the group a color, an identity.

The first person to discover me was Arminio Morales, brother of [Jessie Morales] the El Original de la Sierra. When [Arminio] found me, he took me under his wing and helped advise me on what to do. That led to our partnership with Prajin and the rest is history. I think that we have known how to handle ourselves very well, from the producers to myself and everyone on the Peso Pluma project — we know what works for us.

You’ve said you knew your voice was best suited for música Mexicana, but your influence is much more expansive.

I went to a high school in San Antonio, Texas where there’s a large community of Chicanos so it was easy for me to integrate with American society as well as in Mexico. I always listened to reggaeton, hip-hop and rap but I realized that my voice was made to sing corridos because I would hear them played around family all the time. My family listens to that genre and well, the more I sang, the more I realized my voice shined differently there than in any other genre.

I’ve always loved Drake, that’s my top artist — I also like the Weeknd, 21 Savage, Post Malone, Suicideboys, and Shoreline Mafia. My taste and my music reflect that I grew up on both sides of the border. I take the things that I like the most and mix them into a single project and I think that is the beauty of the music we make.

Yours and Eslabon Armado’s “Ella Baila Sola” was the first song in Mexican music history to hit the top 10 — and that’s just one of the several metrics being used to prove the overall pull of the genre. How do you begin to explain how that happens?

I think it has a lot to do with who you are portraying yourself to be. My listeners see themselves in me, they feel the music and what you see is what you get. I’ve never been one to shy away from anything. I’m crazy and that’s what people like.

At the same time, I’m conscious of being a trend. Even in football, there’s the term villamelón — someone who wears the jersey of whoever the winning team is at the time. There are a lot of communities within this style of music — from corridos tumbados [a trap-infused sub-genre] to what we’re doing now. But I connect with the people who send me messages, the people who have supported me from the beginning — since I had 1,000 listeners. They are there and continue to be and continue to support and that’s very real to me.

A lot of my success has been based on sacrifice, discipline and keeping my foot on the gas pedal. That type of hustler mentality is ingrained in me and I think, coming from this genre, that discipline is our strength. We love to work, we love to be in the studio, and we love to continue doing new things because we know that nowadays music is consumed fleetingly — that isn’t lost on me.

A lot of your success has come from singles and collaborations with artists in and out of your sphere. What can you tell us about your own album that’s on the way?

We’ve been working on the album for a year now and I’ve been producing it for a while. It’s an album of all Mexican music that’s almost ready. We have plans in place to release it later this summer and I’m also working to release some singles in the urban space very, very soon.

You just dropped a new single, and there are music videos for almost every song you’re in as well — are you writing and producing on the road now more than ever?

Yeah. I almost don’t have time to get into an actual studio anymore because I’ve been all over the place but there are times when I get to escape for days in a row. The other day I was in the studio with Eladio Carrión and we bank songs. Yesterday I made five songs, today I’m throwing in another three. I also always carry my home studio with us, but it’s not the same as being in the studio and recording with ease.

What was it like to get the reaction you got at Coachella as Becky G’s surprise guest?

It was incredible — all of those people freaked out when Becky mentioned my name and I was blown away by the audience reaction. I’ve never played a festival in my life and Coachella happened to be the first of my career.

It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in my whole life because it’s not just any festival. It’s truly a global stage so it was unforgettable and seeing that audience react the way they did just motivated me so that next year we can come back and invite more of la raza.

Naturally, there was a lot of chatter about you and Bad Bunny interacting at the festival.

I did get to meet and talk with him for a few minutes and what we had to talk about, we did. That will stay between us — but we shook hands, we hugged and we were able to talk things out. He’s incredibly mature and kind and understood everything I wanted to get across to him — there are really only good things to say about him and I have a lot of admiration and respect for him.

The internet was quick to pin you two against each other — is that type of pressure something that weighs on you or affects your music-making?

[Pointing to the tattoo on his chest] This was my first-ever tattoo, it says “All Eyez On Me,” a Tupac [reference]. When I got it, I knew it would be like a conviction, a foreshadowing. I definitely feel a lot of eyes on me but what’s important is to stay focused. I have no interest in gossip or clout, I plan to speak through my music.

You also just played your first U.S. show at the Toyota Center in Ontario — there were some really emotional moments you had on stage. What do you remember from that night or was it all an adrenaline-packed blur?

I wanted to cry that entire night. Less than a year ago, my good friend Luis R. Conríquez played there and he invited me. I remember watching him and thinking ‘When is this going to happen to me? Hopefully, in five or six years, I’ll get there.’ Tickets sold out in a few hours for my show there…and it took less than a year.

Honestly, I will always be very grateful for [Conríquez], he was the first artist that trusted me with a collab. He did not charge me a single peso to collaborate, which is normal within the music industry. When I contacted Luis, he was one of the people who began to invite me to his events, to his first arena shows and it definitely motivated me to do the same.

Has there been any more collaboration requests or invites that excite or maybe surprise you?

Yeah, I mean it’s pretty crazy to me that they’re looking for me to go to Tomorrowland, to various other festivals where Mexican artists like me were not used to participating. I think that’s the best thing to come out of all of this…I share the same ideology with Chicharito who once said something along the lines of, “If we don’t try and trust in what we are, we’re never going to achieve anything.” So, I think that you have to inject that into the new talent that’s pouring in and say “You see that I’m here, you can do it too.”

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

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