The music found in Latin America is as rich and diverse as the people that reside there. Latin America is comprised of several countries including Mexico and all of those found in Central and South America. Considering all of the countries that contribute to and influence Latin music, one might imagine just how culturally dense the music of Latin America is. With an immense presence of talented artists, Latin American music encompasses a variety of genres and is ever-changing. One group that has had a powerful impact on the world of Latin music is Jesse y Joy.
This duo has a distinct style that has been heavily influenced by two cultures: Mexican and American. Through these influences, Jesse y Joy have successfully unified two very different cultures. In order to gain insight into modern Latin American music, this biography will explore the beginnings of Jesse y Joy, the influences in their life, their accomplishments in the music world, as well as their impact on others. Jesse y Joy are a unique Latin American group with an interesting background. Jesse and Joy Huerta are siblings that were born in the United States, in Wisconsin to be precise, but were raised in Mexico City.
Although raised by both parents, their mother was an English teacher from Wisconsin and their father was from Mexico City (Johnson, 2009). Throughout their childhood, Jesse and Joy’s mother was adamant about her children not speaking “Spanglish”, a cross between Spanish and English. In an interview with USA TODAY, Jesse Huerta stated, “She spoke to us in English, and our dad spoke to us in Spanish. There was no mixing. She was very specific about that” (Cordova, 2016). As a result, Jesse and Joy grew up with an appreciation for American and Mexican cultures and now speak ompletely fluent Spanish and English.
Throughout school, especially as young children, other students often teased or excluded Jesse and Joy for their mixed culture. Nonetheless, as they grew older, they realized their ability to speak fluently in two major languages was immensely valuable and would empower them in the future (Cordova, 2016). Throughout Latin America and even in the United States, Jesse y Joy have become one of the most popular groups in Latin American music. However, they did not always know they wanted to become involved in the music business.
As children, music played a significant role in the lives of Jesse and Joy. Their parents constantly incorporated music into their home, allowing their children to develop an interest in music (Vasquez, 2009). In particular, their mother played a number of her vinyl records that included artists like Aretha Franklin, Carole King, Neil Young, and Johnny Cash. Moreover, before Jesse and Joy learned to play instruments, they would pretend with spoons and buckets for drums and tennis rackets as if they were guitars.
As they grew older, they were allowed to play the instruments after services at the evangelical church they attended in Mexico City (Johnson, 2013). In 2001, when Jesse was 18 and Joy was 15, the siblings decided to become involved in the music world and recorded their first song, “Llegaste tu,” which would later become one of their most popular songs. In 2004, while Jesse was playing on a basketball and working at Cost Co in Mexico City, the siblings created a demo of their music which eventually reached Warner Music Mexico.
They did not anticipate the demo to generate much interest and had difficulty believing a call they received that requested them to meet with someone from the record company. On April 18. 2005, Jesse and Joy signed a contract with Warner Music (Buena Musica). In December of the same year, the siblings performed their first concert in front of a crowd of 130,000 people in an opening-act for Sin Bandera, which is one of the most popular duos in Latin American music.
Interestingly enough, Joy, the lead vocal, had a phobia of singing n front of others. Through their debut opening for Sin Bandera, Joy overcame her phobia, enabling her to move forward in her music career (Vasquez, 2009). Musical influences in the childhood of Jesse and Joy, such as Neil Young, The Carpenters, and Johnny Cash, have undoubtedly impacted the music they compose today. Jesse, with his skill on the drums, piano, guitar, bass, and even harmonica, and Joy, with her vocal talent and skill with a guitar, certainly have a multifaceted sound (Buena Musica).
Although most often categorized in the pop and alternative genres, their music includes hints of country twang, rock, and even jazz. For instance, one might observe rockabilly and folk tinges in their hit song “Espacio Sideral,” as well as modern-rock vocals and guitar in “Nuevo Dia. ” Joy’s vocal quality is exceptionally indicative of American musical influence, as she has been compared to artists like Norah Jones, Alanis Morissette, and Lady Antebellum (Caramanica, 2009). Indeed, Jesse and Joy’s musical creations have been heavily inspired by their childhood and their mixed culture.
In the span of twelve years, Jesse y Joy have developed into an exceedingly accomplished artists. In 2006, their first single “Espacio Sideral” became the second most popular song in Mexico. That same year, they were nominated at the MTV Latin Awards for “promesa artistica”, or promising artist award. In 2008, the siblings won “Best New Artist” at the Latin Grammy Awards. In 2009, the album “Electricidad” by the sibling-duo radiated throughout the Americas and reach number three on the Billboard Latin Pop Albums.
Perhaps one of their most notable successes is their third album, “? Con quien se queda el perro? ” One song featured on this album, “Me Voy,” was released on September 5, 2011, a couple months before the whole album was released. “Me Voy” quickly reached the number one song in Mexico, and soon earned number one on iTunes (Buena Musica). In 2012, “? Con quien se queda el perro? ” won the Latin Grammy for contemporary pop vocal album (Johnson, 2013). Moreover, their most popular single, “? Corre! “, reached number one on Tu Dial radio and maintained that position for eight consecutive weeks.
As a result, “? Corre! ” became the most successful song on Tu Dial radio for 2012. Furthermore, Jesse y Joy’s music has appeared in several famous Latin movies and television shows, such as Eclipse, part of the Twilight saga, and the Mexican version of High School Musical (Buena Musica; Caramanica, 2009). With five Latin Grammy Awards, three successful albums, and a persistent presence on Spanish radio, Jesse and Joy have certainly reached stardom in Latin American music. With their mixed heritage, Jesse and Joy have had an immense impact on the world.
While they certainly have an enormous Spanish-speaking fan-base, they have also connected with the English-speakers of the world. In fact, their single “Echoes of Love”, the English version of “Ecos de Amor,” made the BBC Radio 1 playlist in England (Cordova, 2016). As products of an English and Spanish-speaking home, Jesse and Joy create songs in both languages because both are fundamental to their identities. In staying true to themselves and their culture, they are able to reach and inspire millions of people with different cultural backgrounds.
Perhaps the biggest impact they have had is on each other. With a challenging childhood, being teased for their American heritage, Jesse and Joy grew up as best friends. The two are not only in sync with each other’s musical talents, but also with their thoughts and feelings. While Jesse is married with two children, he and his sister remain best friends and see each other almost daily (Johnson, 2013). It is well established that music has the power to unify people, for it is a fundamental aspect of most cultures. Jesse and Joy have massively contributed to the music and culture of Latin America.
Moreover, with a mixed Mexican-American heritage, the Latin sibling duo has also had an effect in the world of English music. In part, this can be attributed to the heavy influence of American music that is integrated into their music. Inspired by artists like Johnny Cash, Neil Young, and Aretha Franklin, Jesse y Joy’s music contains elements of country, jazz, and rock. These influences have enabled Jesse y Joy to create a unique and successful musical identity in Latin music, and will continue to impact their future musical endeavors.