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Leila Cobo with Decoding “Despacito”: An Oral History of Latin Music — HBE ENGAGE EVENT — Hispanic Heritage Month
October 13, 2021
Leila Cobo, one of the world’s leading experts in Latin music, is known for her in-depth interviews with stars like Shakira, Maluma, Marc Anthony, Daddy Yankee, Jennifer Lopez and Rosalía. As Billboard’s VP of Latin music, she is the organizer and host of Billboard’s annual Latin Music Week, the largest and longest running gathering of Latin music stars and professionals in the world, and is perhaps the first U.S.-based journalist to prominently cover Latin music on a daily basis. Her writing and coverage across many mediums has been instrumental in transforming the coverage and perception of Latin music in the United States and the world.
A former concert pianist who has blended her love for music and writing, Leila is a Fulbright scholar and a native of Cali, Colombia. She has degrees in journalism from Bogotá’s Universidad Javeriana and in piano performance from Manhattan School of Music and a master’s in communication management from The Annenberg School at the University of Southern California. Prior to launching her career in journalism, she concertized extensively in her native Colombia, performing with Colombia’s Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica del Valle and Orquesta Sinfónica de Antioquia among others. She has published two award-winning novels: Tell Me Something True for which she won the National Latino Book Award and The Second Time We Met, which won the Latino Book Award for Best Popular Fiction. Leila’s biography on Jenni Rivera published by Penguin in English and Spanish, was the top-selling Spanish language book in the United States for more than two months. Among many accolades, Leila received the 2020 “Wonder Women of Latin Music” award from the LAMC; the “Music Industry Trailblazer” award from the TJ Martell foundation in 2019: and was named an inaugural “Leading Latin Lady” by the Latin Grammys in 2017. Last year, she was one of Hola! Magazine’s 50 Most Influential Women. She was also named Mujer Imagen by Imagen Magazine and one of the top 25 Latin Women in Media by Latina Magazine.
She lives in Key Biscayne, Fl. with her husband and children.
About Decoding “Despacito”: An Oral History of Latin Music
A behind the scenes look at the music that is currently the soundtrack of the globe, reported on and written by Leila Cobo, Billboard’s VP of Latin Music and the world’s ultimate authority on popular Latin music.
Decoding “Despacito” tracks the stories behind the biggest Latin hits of the past fifty years. From the salsa born and bred in the streets of New York City, to Puerto Rican reggaetón and bilingual chart-toppers, this rich oral history is a veritable treasure trove of never-before heard anecdotes and insight from a who’s who of Latin music artists, executives, observers, and players. Their stories, told in their own words, take you inside the hits, to the inner sanctum of the creative minds behind the tracks that have defined eras and become hallmarks of history.
FEATURING THE STORIES BEHIND SONGS BY:
José Feliciano • Los Tigres Del Norte • Julio Iglesias • Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine • Willie Colón • Juan Luis Guerra • Selena • Los Del Río • Carlos Vives • Elvis Crespo • Ricky Martin • Santana • Shakira • Daddy Yankee • Marc Anthony • Enrique Iglesias with Descemer Bueno and Gente De Zona • Luis Fonsi with Daddy Yankee • J Balvin with Willy William • Rosalía