How FloyyMenor & Cris MJ Made Chart History With Their Out-of-Nowhere Hit ‘Gata Only’ (2024)

Two weeks ago, FloyyMenor and Cris MJ made history as the first Chileans to enter the top 10 on Billboard‘s Hot Latin Songs chart since La Ley and Ednita Nazario’s “Tu Sabes Bien” did so 25 years ago. The only other Chilean artist to have reached similar heights was Myriam Hernández with 1998’s “Huele a Peligro,” which peaked at No. 5. This week, the emerging pair catapulted to No. 1, dethroning Xavi’s months-long reign with “La Diabla.”

The song making waves is “Gata Only,” a sly reggaetón number about online flirtation. According to Luminate, the viral track registered 11.11 million official U.S. streams, a 33% gain from the previous week. That landed them a No. 34 debut on the Streaming Songschart and gave them a second week atop theLatin Streaming Songschart. “Gata Only” also occupies No. 48 on the Hot 100. Last week it was at No. 74.

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But how did two relatively unknown Chilean artists manage to not only break through on the global music scene but also clinch the top spot on the Hot Latin Songs chart? The success story begins with some strategic planning, innovative marketing and a dash of serendipity.

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Initially, FloyyMenor was a mysterious figure circulating online who had scored a few local hits. His identity was obscured and the art on his early YouTube releases was composed of car imagery, never revealing his face. “You needed to go to the nightclubs to see him,” says Adrian Mainou, artist marketing manager of Latin/U.S. at UnitedMasters.

The Latin team at UnitedMasters had been monitoring the Chilean music scene, having signed Nickoog CLK over two years ago and being fans of Paloma Mami and Polimá Westcoast. When the company’s Latin A&R lead, Gerardo Mejía — a music veteran with 30 years of experience and a former rapper/singer originally from Ecuador — began scouting the country’s music scene in the summer of 2023, he encountered FloyyMenor performing live and was captivated by the young artist’s unique appeal and the audience’s enthusiastic response.

“This kid was packing venues [with audiences] singing lyric after lyric,” recalls Mejía. At the time, FloyyMenor’s big local hit was “pa la europa,” while “Gata Only” was just a song people knew from his live shows and online teasers. Eager to sign the promising talent, Mejía had to wait until Floyy turned 18 in December.

After the signing, UnitedMasters released “Gata Only” in December — and the song began gaining traction within the first week and a half of its release. Not long after, Cris MJ — a Chilean act who had gained recognition from Karol G’s remix of “Una Noche en Medellín” featured in Mañana Será Bonito (Bichota Season) — reached out to Floyy, expressing his love for the song and his desire to be part of it.

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As Mejía recalls: “When I got back to Chile in January, [Floyy] called me and said, ‘Cris MJ loves the song.’ I said, ‘Cool. We’ll do the remix.’ He said, ‘No. He loves the song so much he wants to be the original.’ I was like, ‘My brother, if Cris MJ calls you, then get on it with their teams and go record.’ We pulled down the original and waited maybe two weeks before we released it [on Feb. 2] with Cris MJ, and the rest is history.”

In a conversation with Billboard, Mejía and Mainou provided an in-depth look at the strategic rise of “Gata Only” to the top of the Hot Latin Songs chart. See below for the full interview.

The accomplishment alone as the first Chilean acts to make the top 10 of the Hot Latin Songs chart in 25 years is already very impressive, then to top the chart at No. 1. How does that happen?

Adrian Mainou: It was a very interesting and entertaining build up. [After we officially released it], we saw social growth and began working with a press team in Chile. It was a no-brainer to see the movement on TikTok and that we needed to lean into this. So I activated the first phase of influencers in the Southern Cone with design. We pushed [the song] in Chile, Argentina, and Ecuador, and we were able to see a lot of reactions on YouTube from those countries. Once we saw that, we had Floyy go to Argentina and do some shows while pushing press and [involving] influencers. For an artist coming out of Chile, having the Argentina push is a very cool look; it’s a very important country to connect with. For Floyy, it was pretty easy. He loves Argentinian culture. He got in on a Monday, did a show that same Tuesday, and by Thursday it was No. 1 on Spotify Argentina.

[Publicist] Cris Novo-Bernal then joins the team [and she] was able to paint the narrative with press across socials, streaming and [seeing] the bigger perspective. At this point, we activate a second phase of influencers in Mexico, who helped us create more noise. [Mexico is] the third country in his top demographic at the moment.

Activating influencers. Please explain.

Mainou: We looked at lip-synching which fueled social media content. Then we looked into dance challenges. This is where we can start connecting with other countries and going global. We moved from lip-synching to the dance challenge [because] we knew it’s an easier thing for people in other countries to tap into.

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We saw a couple of fan [pages] chiming into this. It was key to leverage from this and create new [dance challenges]. We were like, “Let’s take advantage of that and work with them.” We collaborated with fan accounts on TikTok, being like, “Yo, let’s work together. Put this [song] up.” At the end of the day, it’s content that they’re pushing on an organic level.

Once we got into Mexico, it was a no-brainer to start activating DJs for the song. We did that across Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Miami, targeting different demographics. We were able to get data on Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube. That puts us on this new level, and the song started translating into the U.S., and it was going crazy in the U.S.

FloyyMenor is a relatively unknown artist. What is your thought process when attempting to break an unknown act into the U.S.?

Mainou: This is an independent artist, so I don’t have a lot of money. How can we take advantage of what we’re doing? I connected with the digital team to give me Mexico influencers [whose] second-biggest demographic is in the U.S. With that mindset, I can pay for the influencer Mexico fee. Then it caught U.S. growth; [Mexican influencers] have a very strong presence in U.S. Latin culture. That can cover almost every big Latin influencer in the U.S. doing the song without us having to pay. We saw the song growing to almost 20 million streams on Apple, and from that a large portion came from the U.S.That took me into this current new position where I’m starting to push specifically the U.S. The song is already here, and we know it’s [playing] in nightclubs, people doing remixes, and the DSPs are supporting. He’s gotten [on] pretty much every single cover [of official playlists on] DSPs, and social support.We’ve seen artists [using] the audio [on social media], from Kenia Os to Shadi and Malu Trevejo…as well as Trapeton, Trap House Latino, etc.

Why do you think “Gata Only” is resonating with the masses?

Mejía: The lyrics talk about TikTok, about likes, about following. I think that he hit something that resonates with the kids. To top it off, it’s such a great melody. And having Cris MJ never hurts.

Mainou: The sound is very particular. I’ve become a very big fan of the Chilean sound from “Ultra Solo” [by Polimá Westcoast and Paloma Mami] a couple years ago, and from working with Nickoog CLK. I think the production is very Chilean, [combined] with very good vocals and great analogies.

What is UnitedMasters doing different than other management and agency companies?

Mejía: At UnitedMasters, our mission is to be a tool for the artists and get them wherever they wanna get. We work with independent artists, and that has some challenges around it. Not all of them have managers, nor friends that can make them music videos; not all of them have a studio that they can record music at. We sat down with Floyy, we were able to not only get to know him but make him look at the bigger picture. We told him, “This is what we can do with you if you trust us, if you listen to us. This is where we can take you.” It’s about sitting down with the artists, understanding their needs, and being able to make a plan around it, creating a timeline.

How FloyyMenor & Cris MJ Made Chart History With Their Out-of-Nowhere Hit ‘Gata Only’ (2024)
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