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"The top Latin music journalist in the U.S." -Variety

"The beauty that results from crashing different styles into each other is a story that runs through Leila Cobo’s DECODING “DESPACITO." -The New York Times


The narrative is rapidly paced, just like the music that fills its pages, and is best served while playing the songs it chronicles." -Kirkus


"One of the best music books of 2021."



"How did “Despacito,” by Luis Fonsi and featuring Daddy Yankee become such a massive hit in the U.S. in 2017?  The author examines the births of notable songs that captured Latin culture in the global imagination. ]Cobo is a highly knowledgeable guide, and she delves deep into the canon to make a convincing case for Latin music as a significant driver of American culture at large. An entertaining oral history."

-Kirkus Reviews

"One of the world's foremost experts on all Latin music." -Pollstar

“I'm a big fan of Leila's novels and have been an avid reader of her Billboard articles for years. She's a music industry insider who really knows her stuff and will have great advice for any young aspiring musician!”

-Gloria Estefan

"In Leila Cobo's new book Decoding “Despacito”: An Oral History of Latin Music, the author and Billboard’s VP of Latin Music breaks down the genre’s biggest singles of the past 50 years in the words of the artists, producers and executives behind each song.

-Rolling Stone




  • An Ingram Magazine "New Voices" Pick.

  • A Starbuck's "Bookish Reading Club" Writer.

  • Las Comadres National Club Picks

  • 2010 Top Ten "New" Latino Authors to Watch. 

  • Best Hispanic Books of 2009 Top 10 List  (The Society of Latino and Hispanic Writers of San Antonio)

  • "Cobo has a beautiful, in depth style of writing that really pulls you into her story.  She is especially gifted at dealing with emotions that we can all relate to."


With two acclaimed novels, two top-selling biographies and a landmark Latin music industry guide, Leila is one of the world's foremost experts in Latin music, as well as a prolific published author and speaker and the VP of Latin content for Billboard, widely recognized as the Bible of music worldwide.


Leila has been instrumental in growing Billboard's Latin presence across all its platforms and also programs the Billboard Latin Music Conference and hosts its iconic Q&As with global superstars who have included Pitbull, Ricky Martin, Marc Anthony, Juanes, Mana and Jenni Rivera. 

A Fulbright scholar from Cali, Colombia, Leila is also a classical pianist, successful novelist and biographer with degrees in journalism from Bogotá’s Universidad Javeriana and in piano performance from Manhattan School of Music.


She also has master’s in communication management from The Annenberg School at the University of Southern California.  Prior to launching her career in journalism, Leila had a successful career as a concert pianist. 

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