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Becky G Is Latin Music's New Kid on the Block

One minute, you're posting covers of your favorite artists on YouTube. The next moment, you're sharing the stage with them at the American Airlines Arena.

Instances like this are a rarity, but such was the case for Becky G. "I believe in destiny, and everything happens for a reason," she says.

At only age 18, the Mexican-American pop star from Southern California — known as the voice behind "Problem (the Monster Remix)," the theme song featured in the 2012 Sony Pictures Animation flick Hotel Transylvania, and most recently as Valentina Galindo on the Fox TV series Empire — is quickly becoming la estrella mas caliente del momento.

Fame may be the norm for Becky G (whose full name is Rebbeca Marie Gomez) nowadays, but that wasn't always the case. In fact, when the singer was 9, she and her family lost their home in Riverside County, California, and moved into her grandparents' converted garage in Inglewood. From that moment, she was determined to do what she had to do to provide for her family.

When she was of age, she began working part-time jobs, some of which included recording commercials and voice-overs for the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. Eventually, though, Becky turned to music. And like any aspiring artist, she shared her talent on YouTube. "I think YouTube is a great platform," she says. "Everyone should take advantage of it and use it in a positive way."

But it was her cover of Kanye West and Jay Z's "Otis" that caught the attention of veteran producer Dr. Luke in 2011 and got her signed to his Sony Music Entertainment imprint, Kemosabe Records. "Meeting Dr. Luke and deciding to sign with him was something that I felt was supposed to happen. I've learned so much along the way," she says.

The rest is history.

As the freshest face of Cover Girl, Becky G has recorded with mega-artists such as Kesha and Pitbull, has toured the country in a coheadlining tour with J Balvin, is working on a debut album, and has even taken on acting roles, much like her aforementioned stint on Empire. "I love challenges, and it was fun playing someone who is very different to me," she says of her character, Valentina Galindo.

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But unlike pop stars who seem to get a case of amnesia the moment the bright lights and cameras turn on, Becky has stuck to her roots. In a 2013 anthem to her hood (and J.Lo cover, who just so happens to be her idol), "Becky From the Block," the chica raps about her hometown love and respect for the fam. And in response to the GOP's anti-immigrant rhetoric and Donald Trump's comments regarding Mexicans earlier this year, the 18-year-old took her pride even further and wrote the song "We Are Mexican."

"I wanted to highlight our hard work and dedication to our families and country," she says. But she's not out for a political dogfight. "It's all positive. I don't fight fire with fire. I fight fire with water."

iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina

With Pitbull, Jennifer Lopez, Don Omar, Prince Royce, Becky G, and others. Presented by Sprint. 8:30 p.m. Saturday, November 7, at the American Airlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 786-777-1000; aaarena.com. Tickets cost $25 to $159 plus fees via ticketmaster.com.

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