‘Success For Us Is Opening Doors For Acts’: Q’s With César Andión, The Spanish Wave

01 Cesar Andio Depresion Sonora credit Cindel Oranday
César Andion (left) with Depresión Sonora at one of the Spanish Wave Great Escape 2024 showcases. (Picture by Cindel Oranday)

Pollstar reached out to César Andión, head of The Spanish Wave talent factory of Live Nation Spain, who works with some of the country’s most promising artists. He aswered our questions having just returned from The Great Escape Festival in Birghton, UK, where Spain was this year’s focus country.

The Spanish Wave contributed to this year’s lineup with what it described as “the cream of upcoming Spanish talent,” including Depresión Sonora from Vallecas, who already performed at Coachella, Eva Ruiz from Lanzarote, not just a singer/songwriter, but also an actress starring in “Culpa Mia,” one of the biggest non-English Amazon Prime shows on earth, Ona Mafalda, who opened for Coldplay on their 2023 stop at the Estadi Olimpic in Barcelona, and many more. Surrounded by so much talent, it’s no wonder, Andión is nothing but optimistic about the future.

Pollstar: Seeing that you’re dealing with the best new talent in the game, I’d like to ask: is the future of music safe?
César Andión: Music is constantly evolving, but it’s living its highest times since I’ve been in the business, both in recording and in live. There are more people than ever attending live shows, buying and listening to music, and discovering new talent all the time. This is true not only in terms of big data but also in creativity, variety and access to young people worldwide. By continuing to nurture artists and sectors, we can continue to grow.

And, more specifically, are the headliners of tomorrow safe?
I see many headlining acts of today that, three years ago, were middle of the bill festival acts or performing at small-medium venues. Also, I see many young acts that have jumped from arenas to stadiums, for example, Karol G performing four stadiums shows in Spain, when she has barely played here before….that’s massive! I also see many festivals selling out because of their concept and experience, rather than having ‘big’ names on the bills.

Rodrigo Cuevas + Tanxugueiras + Queralt Lahoz Concert
Queralt Lahoz, one of The Spanish Wave’s many success stories, performs in concert at Auditorio Miguel Ríos in Madrid, Spain, May 14. (Photo by Aldara Zarraoa/Redferns)

What are some of your recent success stories? Which artists has the Spanish Wave successfully exported, as evidenced by their success outside their home country?
For us, success is opening doors for the acts we showcase so they can build contacts, and future business, setting a name for themselves and working from there. We work with emerging young talent and success for them is finding booking agents, festival buyers or organizing small tours in Europe. We have worked with artists like Hinds, Marina Herlop, Nuria Graham, Depresión Sonora, Queralt Lahoz, Delaporte, Marta Knight and Belako, who are all touring overseas regularly.

What are the most efficient ways to promote new talent to a worldwide audience in your experience?
For emerging talent, involves a mix of quality first, new and exciting acts, showcasing the young creators in Spain in a variety of genres and regional origin. And probably most importantly, a hard-working team that studies the market, is patient, builds alliances and networks overseas, and invests smartly in PR.

Any other artists people should have on their radars right now?
Depresión Sonora, Beret, Rels B, Eva Ruiz, Xenia, Sila Lua, Ona Mafalda and Cruz Cafune are ones to watch.

Is it fair to say that Spain is a bridge between Latin America and Europe?
I truly believe so. It has been a bridge culturally and in music trade for decades and is now at a great peak of business, discovery, development and exchange. Companies like Magnus or Seitrack opened offices here, so they are already in Spain and Europe.
How does that show? It’s obvious there are more and more Latin American acts breaking through Europe after an impact in Spain. This includes the UK where they are growing fast and steady, not only among Latin-American fans but with Brits, this is the same in the continent. Majors are focusing efforts on this and so is the media and promoters.

I also believe Spain is a good ‘window’ for continental acts to be discovered by Latin American media, fans and industry. Spain is very unique and lucky because of its European-Latin American links.

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The Spanish Wave lineup at this year’s The Great Escape Festival in Brighton, England, worn by all TGE volunteers. (Picture by Cindel Oranday)

Are there regions/markets in Spain that particularly bring forth new talent right now?
I’m loving the Canarian talent these days, the connection is growing firmly. The young talent coming from the islands like Eva Ruiz and Dyatlov is excellent and has a unique cultural background as it’s always been strongly connected to Latin America but also Africa and Europe.

Also, the Basque urban scene which historically has been rock region, and Madrid’s new breed of city post punk like Depresión Sonora, Alcalá Norte and Carolina Durante looks exciting. Murcia has an amazing scene that is giving some of the most successful Spanish acts of the moment like Arde Bogotá. And, of course, Catalonia and Andalucía are hubs of amazing creativity.

Is the venue circuit in Spain sufficient to build acts from small to stadium size?
There should be more venues with between 1,500 to 5,000 capacity to provide more opportunities and create a living market for acts that aren’t ready for arena or stadium shows yet.

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