Carin Leon is bringing regional Mexican music to the mainstream. Born in Hermosillo, Sonora, to a family of amateur musicians, Leon's soaring tenor is as dramatic as the desert that surrounds his hometown. He found early success in Grupo Arranke as leader singer, producer and songwriter. The band's "A Traves del Vaso" became a viral hit in 2018, racking up 10 million views in its first week. That same year, Leon launched an impressive four solo albums, three of them live -- Desvelada con Banda y Mariachi, A Puro Pelo, Pa' Las de Vidrio -- and the studio recording, Amanecida Con Todo y Con Todos. But Leon was just getting started. His groundbreaking 2019 album, El Malo, fused mariachi, ranchero, polka, bandas, and corridos into a singular vision, resulting in extensive airplay across Mexico and the United States. In fact, the single "Me La Aventé" racked up 238 million YouTube views, and garnered Leon his first ASCAP award.
When the COVID-19 pandemic brought Leon's tour plans to a halt, he rewarded quarantined fans with Encerrados Pero Enfiestados. The album features a cover of Puerto Rican pop star Noella's "Tú." Leon's version debuted on Billboard's Top 50 Hot Latin Songs list; it was also the most streamed regional Mexican song on Spotify in 2020.
Growing up 150 miles from the United States, Leon was exposed to much more than traditional music. In fact, the first song he sang as a child was "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen. His take on Extreme's "More Than Words" -- sung in English -- is just as evocative as the original. In 2021, Leon collaborated with country artist Walker Hayes for a remix of the latter's "Fancy Like." It proves that when it comes to music, there are no borders. "On stage, everyone is part of the same family," Leon reveals in the music video. "Every night, it's open mic night. It doesn't matter where you're from, how you look, or what you play -- just as long as you play from the heart."
Despite his success, Leon admits he hasn't reached his zenith. "Honestly, I don't think I have gotten to that step yet," he told Billboard. But he has still realized his dream. "I would say it's making music that I like and being able to live from it. It's a big accomplishment for me."