Episode 121: Decoding ‘Despacito’: An Oral History of Latin Music (Interview with Leila Cobo, Author and Vice President at Billboard)

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Episode 121

Decoding ‘Despacito' (Interview with Leila Cobo, Author and Vice President at Billboard)

Leila Cobo es la autora del libro La Fórmula Despacito y vicepresidenta y líder de la industria latina en Billboard. 

Ella comparte una mirada entre bastidores de algunos de los mayores éxitos latinos de los últimos cincuenta años, incluyendo sus historias favoritas de artistas como Selena, Willie Colón, Juan Luis Guerra y Shakira.

En su libro ofrece detalles nunca antes escuchados de cómo se concibieron las canciones más influyentes de la música latina – contadas por los artistas, ejecutivos y productores que las crearon.

En nuestra conversación, Leila habla de los orígenes de la música salsa y también comparte su consejo sobre cómo obtener fluidez en otro idioma basado en su experiencia aprendiendo inglés, francés e italiano.

Leila Cobo is the author of the book Decoding ‘Despacito' and vice president and Latin industry lead at Billboard. 

She shares a behind-the-scenes look at some of the biggest Latin hits of the past fifty years, including her favorite stories from artists like Selena, Willie Colón, Juan Luis Guerra, and Shakira.

Her book gives never before heard details of how the most influential songs in Latin music were conceived – told by the artists, executives, and producers who created them.

In our conversation, Leila talks about the origins of salsa music and also shares her advice on how to get fluent in another language based on her experience learning English, French, and Italian.

Note: This interview is in English and Spanish. The Spanish portion of the interview begins at 28:18. Click here to download the transcript.


Get the book! Audiobooks and paperback available in both Spanish and English

Decoding Despacito (English)

La Fórmula Despacito (Español)

La canción de los Beatles que mencionó Juan Luis Guerra. ¿Puedes oír la bachata en la guitarra baja?

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