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MD Disc: Edgar Barrera, Producer to the (Latin) Stars

With the Grammy’s just a few months away at this point, it’s officially awards season. That’s especially true given the time to marinate on the list of nominees announced late in 2023. One of the newer categories introduced in last year’s edition was Songwriter of the Year, an addition to the show that aims to recognize the behind-the-boards work that’s often just as (if not more) important in crafting the music we all love. Edgar Barrera, notably the producer of Grupo Frontera’s “un x100to” in 2023, is among the leaders for the award this time around. Here’s everything you need to know about one of Latin music’s biggest orchestrators.

A Decades-Long Resume of Crafting Latin Music

Even a cursory search into Edgar Barrera’s resume would elucidate just how much of a dynamo he’s been since the early 2010s. Kicking off his career in earnest in 2011, the Miami-based musician first had his name credited in the solo work of Carlos Vives, Bustamante and Juan Fernando Velasco, where he served as the session engineer. As time went on, his palette too expanded, and with a Tony Bennett compilation record focused on mixing the crooner’s vocals with contemporary Latin artists, Barrera earned his first songwriting credits. Reuniting with Carlos Vives in 2013 provided the final piece of the puzzle—Edgar’s initial tries at true blue production, a hat he’d go on to wear dozens upon dozens of times in the years since.

Aligning with Grupo Frontera and Bad Bunny last year is no doubt the crowning achievement in his spectacular 2023. But it’s only the start of the star-studded rolodex he put together over a decade in the industry. Luis Fonsi, Farruko, Jason Derulo, Jennifer Lopez, Maluma—nearly any notable name in the scene, Barrera has worked with. The lattermost is arguably the most fruitful relationship, with Maluma enlisting Barrera for wide-ranging roles on his last handful of projects. Over the course of 2019’s 11:11, 2020’s Papi Juancho and last year’s Don Juan all came with plenty of Edgar Barrera in the liner notes. He handled granular production on most songs, earned songwriting credits up and down the tracklist, and also served as each project’s executive producer.

Taken from @edgarbarrera on Instagram.

Edgar Barrera At The Precipice of Academy Recognition

With his curation skills honed via that chemistry with Maluma, he stayed plenty busy in 2023, all the more reason he’s up for this new honor. So outside of his work on Don Juan, he again stepped into the executive producer role for Grupo Frontera’s debut album. Highlighted by the aforementioned “un x100to,” Barrera’s candidacy extends to that entire project, unquestionably one of the bigger releases in Latin music in the young decade and a true announcement of a bright new group in the scene.

When February rolls around, Edgar Barrera will be amongst a talented group all vying for the honor. Also up for consideration are Jessie Jo Dillon (Megan Moroney’s Lucky), Shane McAnally (Niall Horan’s The Show), Theron Thomas (Lil Durk’s Almost Healed) and Justin Tranter (Reneé Rapp’s Snow Angel.) No matter how that award plays out, the work that Edgar Barrera has put on display is award-worthy, and with Latin music becoming a dominant force in recent years, has never been more high profile.

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