The best ways to learn a language are to do it in natural ways. So you don’t just want to be sat reading a text book or going to class. Instead you want to be living that language, and that means speaking it, reading books, watching movies and of course listening to music.
Listening to music is a great way for you to get exposure to more natural Spanish that you won’t find in a textbook. It also gives you exposure to slang, variations between languages and everyone knows things are easier to remember when we sing them.
The artists I’m going to look at have been around for a while and are pretty famous, but at the end I also want to give a mention to some ever increasingly popular songs and new artists. It’s no secret that latino culture is becoming more popular in the USA, and this means we’re getting more Spanish songs, more Spanish movies and more Spanish TV. Which is great for all of you out there who are trying to learn Spanish.
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Do I need to listen to Spanish from the type of Spanish I’m learning?
Don’t worry about just looking for artists who sing the kind of Spanish you are trying to learn. All music is made to be enjoyed and listened to, and even if you’re learning Spanish from Spain, it’s still going to be useful for you to hear Colombian Spanish or Cuban Spanish.
When you’re listening to music you’re getting input into the language and the culture, you’re not going to suddenly get mixed up with coche or carro because you’ve been listening to latino music instead of castellano music.
Spanish artists to help you improve your Spanish
Here are ten Spanish artists that you can listen to to help you improve your Spanish
Buena Vista social club
Where are they from: Cuba
Buena Vista Social club are a personal favourite of mine. They’re a music ensemble from cuba who play beautiful, chilled out Spanish music. They’re perfect for dancing to but also great background music if you want to do work. The ensemble formed in order to revive pre-revolutionary Cuban music and their success was global. Buena Vista Social Club are a must to listen to if you want to improve your Spanish.
Where is she from: Colombia
This may seem like an obvious one but she needs a mention and that is Shakira. The good thing about Shakira is that you already know most of her songs, so if you just listen to them in Spanish instead of English, you should be able to pick up the lyrics quicker than the other artists and you’ll know what the lyrics mean. Having spoken to a lot of people about their language learning, Shakira is one of the artists that is always mentioned when someone wants to listen to Spanish music to improve their Spanish.
Where is he from: Spain
His music is predominantly pop music but he has worked hard to build a presence for Spanish singers in the global music market. A lot of musicians who aren’t English speakers tend to stay in the charts in their own country, but time and again Enrique Inglesias has featured in the USA and UK charts. His music is fun, and relatively easy to sing along to with catchy choruses, making him a must to improve your Spanish. My personal favourite are ‘Bailando, Subéme la radio and El pérdon.’
Where is he from: Puerto Rico
When Ricky Martin first became famous he changed his name from Enrique Martín to Ricky Martin and sang in English to access the American market. (I’m sure you all remember ‘living la vida loca.‘ But now with his fame and the increasing popularity of Spanish music, Ricky Martin can sing in Spanish with his recent hit ‘Vente pa’ ca.‘ And now you’re learnign Spanish, you can go and look at his back catalogue of music that’s in Spanish as well. It may be pop music but it’s fun and easy to sing along with.
Where is he from: France (but of Spanish descent)
He sings in French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Arabic and other languages. With a Basque mother and a Galician father, growing up in Paris, it was probably always evident that languages would feature prominently in his life. So when you’re done learning Spanish, you can continue to listen to him to improve your other languages too.
Also songs by Manu Chao are actually surprisingly easy to sing along to which can really help improve your Spanish.
Great stand alone songs
Here are some shout outs to some of the recent Spanish songs that have made the charts. Even if they’re not to your taste, you can’t deny they’re really popular and really catchy.
Also if you’re lucky enough to be living in a Spanish speaking country while you’re trying to learn Spanish, it might be useful for you to learn some of these songs, because trust me, they’re played literally everywhere.
Despacito ft. Daddy Yankee
You might hate me for this one if you’re sick of listening to it in clubs but you can’t deny that it’s catchy.
Échame la culpa
Here gets another mention for Luis Fonsi but this time he’s with Demi Lovato. Luis Fonsi is definitely making a name for himself in the music world as a latin singer.
DJ Snake – Taki taki
With appearances from Ozuna, Selena Gomez and Cardi B what’s not to like.
Sophie Chen – multilingual version of ‘How far I’ll go.’
So this isn’t a chart song like the others but I do think this needs a mention. Sophie Chen sings multilingual versions of songs, usually in Chinese, English or Spanish but she also throws in French, Italian and Korean.
Which leads me onto another point. A great way to listen to Spanish music but to be able to sing along quickly is to listen to the Spanish version of Disney songs. Pretty much every Disney song ever recorded has a Spanish version available on youtube, and this can really help with your Spanish. (assuming you’re a disney fan of course).