Latin Artist on the Rise: From Piso 21 to His Solo Career, Llane Steps Into the Popetón World

After a 12-year run as one of Piso 21’s founding members, Llane officially kicked off his solo career in late 2019 and, despite the challenging global pandemic, continues marking his territory in the music industry with his popetón (pop and urban) beats and melodious voice.

Born Juan David Castaño in Sabaneta, Colombia, Llane’s love for music traces back to his music-loving family. His first performance was at the age of 8 at a Mother’s Day event in school. By 11, he discovered his passion for breakdancing, hip-hop and reggaeton music, dubbing the urban culture as one of his biggest influences.

Llane, who admires the careers of artists such as Michael Jackson, J Balvin, Maluma, Freddie Mercury and many others, formed part of the Colombian pop group Piso 21 from 2007 to 2018. On Feb. 3, 2019, he announced he was going solo.

“I was scared at the beginning, but I try to make the best decisions for myself. I always put myself first and I try to take care of my heart. This is something I had to do for me,” he tells Billboard. “This was a chapter in my life that I’m very proud of and it gave me the base I needed to become one of the best soloists right now.”

Despite launching his debut single “Mas De Ti” in October 2019, 2020 has marked a special year in Llane’s career. Not only was he a featured artist on songs by Tainy, Sebastian Yatra, Andres Cepeda and Fonseca but he also released singles such as “Amor Bailando,” “Pa’ Ti,” “Como Antes” and his Manuel Turizo-assisted “Sera.”

“I need to have a lot of patience in my career because even though people know who I am from Piso 21, I’m aware that I’m new,” he says. “I count on the support of many people, but at the same time, I have to go through the whole process. What I really want is for the audience to identify with me as a person.”

Learn more about this week’s Latin Artist on the Rise below:

Name: Juan David Castaño Montoya, aka Llane

Age: 30

Major Accomplishment: “Being nominated to the Latin Grammys, getting my music into the important charts, singing as a solo artist in Premios Juventud, performing at the Billboard Latin Music Week showcase, participating on Univision’s reality  Tu Cara Me Suena, and the fact of traveling the world and that millions of people sing my songs.”

Recommended Song: “Sera” in collaboration with Manuel Turizo

What’s Next: “I’m going to wait until next year to continue releasing new music. ‘Sera’ is growing right now and I don’t want to cut its wings. I’m going to kick off 2021 with a collaboration with two very important artists that I admire and that I know will introduce me to a new audience.”

Drake Comes to The Weeknd’s Defense Over Grammys Controversy

Drake has sided with his compatriot The Weeknd after the “Blinding Lights” singer was sidelined in the 2021 Grammy nominations.

The Weeknd (real name Abel Tesfaye) thought he did enough to earn at least one Grammy mention for After Hours, which debuted atop the Billboard 200 and stayed there for a month, or its hit “Blinding Lights,” which also led the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks.

The Toronto native even managed a nomination at the 2020 ARIA Awards in Australia, but his name wasn’t on the Grammys roll call.

The R&B singer expressed his frustration toward the Recording Academy on behalf of himself, his fans and the entire music industry. “The Grammys remain corrupt,” he stated on Twitter. “You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency…”

In a followup tweet, he wrote: “Collaboratively planning a performance for weeks to not being invited? In my opinion zero nominations = you’re not invited!”

Now, Drake has entered the fray. “I think we should stop allowing ourselves to be shocked every year by the disconnect between impactful music and these awards and just accept that what once was the highest form of recognition may no longer matter to the artists that exist now and the ones that come after,” he wrote on Instagram.

“It’s like a relative you keep expecting to fix up but they just can’t change their ways,” Drake added.

“The other day I said The Weeknd was a lock for either album or song of the year along with countless other reasonable assumptions and it just never goes that way,” he continued. “This is a great time for somebody to start something new that we can build up over time and pass on to the generations to come.”

Drake joins a long line of artists and industry professionals who’ve come out in support of the Weekend, a list that includes Kid Cudi, Charlie Puth, Tinashe and Akon.

The Recording Academy has weighed in on the simmering controversy. Speaking with Billboard, the Academy’s chair and interim president/CEO Harvey Mason Jr. said he understood the artist’s pain at being left out of the categories.

“I can imagine what he’s feeling,” he explained, “but I don’t pretend to put myself on the level of The Weeknd as one of the biggest artists in our industry. But I can imagine that he’s disappointed.”

U.K. Judge Refuses Johnny Depp Permission to Appeal Libel Ruling

A judge has refused Johnny Depp permission to appeal against a British court’s ruling that he assaulted ex-wife Amber Heard.

Earlier this month a High Court judge rejected Depp’s claim that a newspaper had committed libel when it called him a “wife-beater.” Judge Andrew Nicol said the article in The Sun was “substantially true.”

Depp is seeking to overturn the judgment. But in a setback for the Pirates of the Caribbean star, Nicol denied permission to appeal, saying “I do not consider that the proposed grounds of appeal have a reasonable prospect of success.”

In a ruling made public on Wednesday, the judge also ordered Depp to make an initial payment of almost 630,000 pounds ($840,000) to News Group Newspapers, publisher of The Sun, to cover its legal fees.

Depp can still apply directly to the Court of Appeal, and has until Dec. 7 to do so.

The judge’s main ruling came after a three-week trial in which Depp and Heard gave conflicting accounts of their brief, tempestuous marriage.

In the wake of the decision, Depp said he was leaving the Fantastic Beasts film franchise after studio Warner Bros. requested his resignation.

Depp is also suing Heard for $50 million in Virginia over a Washington Post op-ed essay that she wrote about domestic violence. The essay talks about her experience being abused but does not name Depp. The trial is due to be held next year.

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Tones And I, Amy Shark, Jessica Mauboy & More Pay Tribute to Helen Reddy at ARIA Awards: Watch

The music world suffered a blow Sept. 29 when trailblazing singer Helen Reddy passed away, at the age of 78. The Australian singer emigrated to the U.S. in the 1960s to make it as a solo star, and did just that by landing a trio of No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 and a total of 20 titles on the chart.

Among them, the 1972 feminist anthem “I Am Woman,” which was first Hot 100 leader by an Australian-born artist and the first Australian-penned song to win a Grammy Award.

Reddy was the world’s top-selling female singer in 1973 and 1974, and was inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame in 2006. Her remarkable story was retold in the 2019 biopic, I Am Woman.

On Wednesday night (Nov. 25), as the annual ARIA Awards came to a close in Sydney, more than 30 of country’s brightest and best-known female artists came together to pay tribute to the late, great Australian.

Joining the tribute were former ARIA Award winners Amy Shark, Christine Anu, Delta Goodrem, Emma Watkins, Jessica Mauboy, Kate Ceberano, Marcia Hines, Montaigne, The McClymonts, Tones And I and more.

Watch below.