Guatemalan singer/songwriter Ricardo Arjona is one of the more respected Latin artists, mostly for his social conscience and his integrity in writing and performing songs. Born in Antigua, he was interested in music from an early age but later decided to become a rural schoolteacher. He also played basketball for the Guatemalan national team, but continued to play his guitar and write songs in his spare time. After realizing that music was his one true love, he moved to Mexico City; once there, he began looking for a record contract and played at many student festivals, increasing his status as a protest singer.
Arjona finally found a contract through PolyGram, but the label attempted to market him as a Latin-lover type on his debut album, Dejame Decir Que Te Amo (Let Me Say I Love You). Predictably, the album failed, and Arjona spent the next five years teaching and occasionally writing songs recorded by other artists. He moved to Buenos Aires, began playing again, and soon returned to the recording sphere with material more suited to his experiences as a protest singer, namely "Jesus Verbo No Sustantivo," a controversial song about his experiences at a Catholic school as a child. It gained him a contract with Sony, which released many of his most popular albums, including Animal Nocturno. Adentro, released in late 2005, was nominated for a 2006 Grammy in the Latin Pop Album category. 5to Piso followed in 2008, with Poquita Ropa arriving two years later in 2010. Independence released the year after that in 2011. ~ John Bush