To help people discover their calling is one of the most extraordinary gifts you can give, and Vanessa Verduga is the kind of artist who has dedicated her talent to doing just that. She represents what hasn’t been represented, bringing a much needed feminine gravitas to the often male-dominated urban Latino genre. It would seem almost serendipitous for a woman whose last name means ‘executioner’, to be the one cutting through.

Having originally been all about musical theatre and Broadway show tunes, it was Vanessa’s mother who got her hooked on urban Latino music. Her own talent as a songwriter came to her as a surprise outpouring of lyrics in the form of spoken poetry and rap, which of course shouldn’t have astonished any Bronx girl who grew up with hip-hop in her heart.

Destined for a multi-faceted life and career from her earliest days, Vanessa started acting, singing and dancing at age four, encouraged by her mother, a trained dancer in Spanish dance whose own mother (Vanessa’s grandmother) would take her every weekend to sing live at the local radio station in her native Ecuador. Coming from a family that valued the performing arts – but also stressed the importance of a strong education and practical career path – it’s logical that Vanessa would eventually find her way back to performing after a lengthy college and law school hiatus.

These days she’s all about finding a groove and making you dance, with a sound that’s a fusion of Latin, reggaeton, moombahton and bachata – think somewhere between J Balvin, Shakira, Enrique Iglesias, Selena, Nicky Jam, and Jennifer Lopez.