Ivan Cornejo backstage at the Watsco Center in Coral Gables, FL on September 29, 2022. 
Ivan Cornejo’s is hitting the road for the first time. And he’s coming to Houston.
MORE SAD BOY SOUNDS: Houston native Keshi is bringing Hell & Back Tour home
But if you didn’t already get tickets, you’re too late. The Houston date, Feb. 16 at the House of Blues Bronze Peacock, sold out in around 20 minutes.
If you’re asking, “Who is he?” you’re probably outside the demographic. Cornjeo, 18, is part of a new wave of young, regional Mexican singers pushing the genre forward with ablend of traditional and modern elements. Here’s a quick primer.
Cornejo, who was born in Riverside, Calif., began writing songs when he was 13 years old after getting his heart broken in middle school, according to Billboard. It “left him scarred and now fuels his inspiration for deep and dark lyrics.”
Sierreño’s signature is sad, lovelorn lyrics accompanied by traditional instruments and electric bass. Cornejo’s music typifies the sound, and it has been popularized by several other young acts, including Junior H, Carin Leon and Uziel Payan.
Cornejo taught himself to play guitar when he was eight years old by watching YouTube videos. The first song he learned to play was “La Bamba” by Ritchie Valens.
The single “Está Dañada” went viral on TikTok, with more than 1 million people using it for their own videos. “Está Dañada” is only the second regional Mexican song to chart on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100. Cornejo himself has 1.5 million TikTok followers and almost 17 million likes.
“To be honest, I didn’t listen to regional Mexican until like three years ago when my friends introduced me to T3R Elemento and Grupo Los De La O,” Cornejo told Billboard. His brother liked Arctic Monkeys and Tame Impala; his parents listened to Mexican rock band Café Tacvba. Those influences can be heard in Cornejo’s own songs.
Cornejo was named new artist of the year at the 2022 Billboard Latin Music Awards. “Alma Vacía” was named regional Mexican album of the year.
Joey Guerra is the music critic for the Houston Chronicle. He also covers various aspects of pop culture. He has reviewed hundreds of concerts and interviewed hundreds of celebrities, from Justin Bieber to Dolly Parton to Beyonce. He’s appeared as a regular correspondent on Fox26 and was head judge and director of the Pride Superstar singing competition for a decade. He has been named journalist of the year multiple times by both OutSmart Magazine and the FACE Awards. He also covers various aspects of pop culture, including the local drag scene and “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
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