Chino Pacas was only 12 years old when he unearthed his passion for music. Four years later, he went viral on Tiktok, landed on the Billboard charts, and signed a major record deal.
Born in Guanajuato, a city located in central Mexico, Pacas (real name: Cristian Humberto Avila Vega) was aware of his artistic skills but it was his older brother, Diego Arturo Avila Vega (known by the artist name “Turo Pacas”) who not only encouraged him to kick off his singing career, but also taught him how to play the guitar.
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“I feel that in Guanajuato, the clothing and culture has been represented by the tumbado movement and I based my character a lot on that,” Pacas tells Billboard. “Seeing all the movement that was emerging around me was what motivated me.”
Inspired by artists such as Natanael Cano and Fuerza Regida’s Jesús Ortiz Paz (JOP), who he says “for real, he’s a big example to follow,” Pacas began to upload his original music on social media flaunting his mature and raspy vocals. One viral TikTok video, however, quickly changed his fate.
“‘El Gordo Trae el Mando’ is the big blessing that pushed us forward,” he recalls, explaining that JOP came across his videos on the app and decided to FaceTime him at 4:00 a.m. Pacas inked a record deal with JOP’s label, Street Mob Records, this year.
“When he wanted to sign me, I was super excited, because I never had relationships with artists in music. I was really moved,” he notes. “Thanks to that song, JOP noticed us and decided to sign us.”
This year, the then 16-year-old Mexican artist scored three Billboard chart entries across Hot Latin Songs, Latin Streaming Songs, and both Global charts with “El Gordo Trae El Mando,” “Dijeron Que No La Iba a Lograr” (with Fuerza Regida) and “Que Onda” (with Calle 24 and Fuerza Regida). Both the first and the last of the three earned him two tops 10 hits on Latin Streaming Songs. He was also a finalist at the 2023 Billboard Latin Music Awards for best new artist.
“I am very happy with everything that is happening and the reception from the fans that are always supporting us,” the now-17-year-old says. “I really feel like I’m not very famous yet. I’m just making music and people really like it.”
Below, learn more about this month’s Billboard Latin Artist on the Rise:
Name: Cristian Humberto Avila Vega. (His artistic name is a mix of his childhood nickname “Chino” with “Pacas,” which translates to bales of money.)
Recommended Song: “Dijeron Que No La Iba a Lograr” with Fuerza Regida
Biggest Achievement: At only 16 years old, Pacas earned three entries across the Billboard charts with “El Gordo Trae El Mando,” “Dijeron Que No La Iba a Lograr,” and “Que Onda,” all which have entered Hot Latin Songs, Latin Streaming Songs, and both Global charts. He was also an artist of the year, new finalist at the 2023 Billboard Latin Music Awards.
What’s Next?: “Right now I’m working on my first album and many surprises are coming,” he says. “I have several collaborations that are very good, including another with Fuerza Regida. And my older brother, Turo Pacas, just made his debut as a singer on Fuerza’s album. I’m also going to release a song with him on my album. Turo is my blood brother, my requintista, producer, my writer, and everything, he’s very good!”
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