"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 tells these stories through interviews with the eclectic mix of people who created them. At its core, this is a book about believing in what many considered impossible: “It’s too much Spanish,” said American radio programmers about the titular megahit, which demonstrates the power of music to change attitudes [...]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

“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




  • An Ingram Magazine "New Voices" Pick.

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

  • Las Comadres National Club Picks

  • LatinoStories.com 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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