Panamanian artist Boza is making waves far beyond his geographical roots, and as the latest artist to join Spotify’s RADAR roster in the United States, his rise may very well continue.
The singer-songwriter is the newest RADAR artist in the U.S., but he’s no stranger to the program, which spotlights emerging talent from around the globe. In 2020, Boza was chosen as the first March RADAR artist of the month for the Central America and Caribbean region. Listeners quickly gravitated toward his music, and his success in the program is what led him to be picked as a 2021 RADAR artist for the U.S. region. Boza’s tracks can be found on over 80 Spotify playlists and he has nearly 12 million monthly listeners. Fans particularly love his song “Hecha Pa’ Mi,” which has racked up more than 330 million streams. On his debut album, Mas Negro Que Rojo, listeners will find sounds that follow a mix of dancehall, reggaetón, R&B, and more.
“Over the last two years we have witnessed Boza develop one of the strongest fan bases in all of Central America, which has quickly scaled throughout the rest of Latin America and Europe,” shares Jose Nova, a Spotify Senior Editor for Latin America. “Boza consistently provides his fans with unique storytelling through his lyrics that have deep connections with audiences around the world.”
Through RADAR, Boza will be featured on the RADAR playlist and will record music for our Spotify Singles program, and Spotify will provide a full suite of on- and off-platform marketing and promotional support. Spotify also worked with the artist to release a mini documentary, out today. Taking place in his hometown of Panama City in the La Meri neighborhood, the film gives viewers an intimate look at Boza and his journey from the streets to the stage.
For the Record caught up with Boza to ask a few questions about his first album release, his musical style, and how he’s using Spotify to reach fans all over the world.
The last year has been quite busy for you, with your first full album release and the popularity of the song “Hecha Pa’ Mi.” What has it been like to see your career take off?
Seeing my career take off with “Hecha Pa’ Mi” marks a before and after. To really see a track like this hit the whole world is what every artist dreams of. Seeing that they write to me from countries where they don’t even speak Spanish is so exciting.
Your music includes elements of the Panamanian style “canela.” How would you describe this sound to new listeners?
Canela is a little bit of Panama in my music. It is “The Hood” (El Barrio) and represents my friends, my experiences, and my life experiences in words.
What artists have inspired you the most, in terms of their sound and lyrics?
I really like Bad Bunny. I also like Kafu Banton from Panama—he is one that I always listen to, and I like his way of composing. El Roockie was also an influence. I also like all kinds of music such as salsa, merengue, Haitian, and rock and roll. I learn, gain knowledge, and take elements from everything that I listen to.
You’ve been working with Spotify’s RADAR program since 2020, when you were named RADAR artist of the month for Central America & the Caribbean. Now you’re expanding as a U.S. RADAR artist. What has this experience been like?
This is another dream that I didn’t think would come so soon. It is very important to connect and see this happening in my country and in Central America, but as an artist, to come to the United States and see that my music is sneaking in everywhere, it’s wonderful. This is going to help me to grow that dream!
Your music has found international popularity in countries like Spain and Italy. Do you think working with Spotify and the RADAR program has helped introduce your music to other areas of the world, outside of Latin American?
The data available to artists on the platform allows me to know how many people are streaming my music in real time, how the number of listeners change over time, where they live, and to also be able to know which of my songs are liked the most. It’s incredible.
You can’t imagine my, and all my team’s, excitement when we saw we were number three in Spain. We were jumping with joy, because really when we entered the top 200 it was already an achievement, then at 100, and then at 50 we said, “Wow, the dream came true.” But when we got to number three, it is one of those moments that you thank God and reflect on all the effort and sacrifice, because it is not easy. It is almost impossible to have a number three in Spain with so many good artists there. In Italy, we asked ourselves, “How did it reach number seven when the song is in Spanish?” That is where one learns that music has no borders.
What advice do you have for fellow emerging artists?
The best advice I can give you is to be prepared, and to 100% create your own style and your own music. Learn every day from everything you can in studios, in meetings—listen and know that your future depends on many things but the main one is that it depends on yourself.
Check out the latest music from Boza below and keep an eye out for his new track, “En La Luna,” coming out June 25.