Hardcore corrido singer Gerardo Ortiz was the big winner at the inaugural Billboard Mexican Music Awards, taking home six honors, including Artist of the Year, New Artist of the Year, Male Artist of the Year, Albums Artist of the Year (for 2010's "Ni Hoy Ni Mañana" and this year's "Morir y Existir: En Vivo," both out on Del Records/Sony) and Norteño Artist of the Year. Ortiz also won Vocal Event Song of the Year for "Culiacán vs. Mazatlán," the Calibre 50 track where he was a featured artist.
The awards show, presented by State Farm, took place Thursday night at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles and will be broadcast on Telemundo Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. Eastern, marking the first time a major U.S. television network has produced and aired an awards show dedicated entirely to regional Mexican music, the top-selling genre of Latin music in the United States.
Ortiz stands out among a new generation of corrido singers who have managed to scale both the airplay and sales charts. His multiple awards were particularly impressive given that he didn't make his debut on Billboard's Hot Latin Songs or Top Latin Albums charts until mid-2010.
His success this year has also been tinged by tragedy. In March, the young artist narrowly survived an ambush in Colima, Mexico, that claimed the life of his cousin and business manager Ramiro Caro and their driver.
Other multiple award winners included Larry Hernández, ranchera icon Vicente Fernández, Julión Alvarez y su Norteño Banda and the album "35 Aniversario" (Fonovisa), a collection of greatest hits by the legendary romantic group Los Bukis.
Hernández, another young corrido act who sings with a banda, and who of late has also turned toward more romantic fare, won Songs Artist of the Year and Norteño Song of the Year for "Arrastrando las patas." Fernández won Ranchero/Mariachi Artist of the Year and Ranchero/Mariachi Album of the Year for "El Hombre Que Mas Te Amó" (Universal) while Alvarez won Song of the Year and Banda Song of the Year for "Ni Lo Intentes."
La Arrolladora Banda El Limón received the Airplay Artist of the Year award and Telemundo's Premio Tu Mundo, which was determined by online fan voting.
Billboard also honored two artists with special editorial awards created specifically for Premios Billboard de la Música Mexicana. Los Tucanes de Tijuana, pioneers in the contemporary corrido realm, received the Legacy Award for their career trajectory, while iconoclast Paquita la del Barrio won the Voice Award (Premio La Voz).
Banda and ranchera diva Jenni Rivera, who won Artist of the Year, Female, was honored with Telemundo's El Premio de la Estrella.
In the label categories, given out during the pre-show ceremony, Disa won Airplay Imprint and Airplay Record Label of the Year. Sister label Fonovisa won Albums Imprint of the Year, while parent company Universal Music Latin Entertainment won Albums Record Label of the Year. Universal Music also won Publishing Corporation of the year while Marcha Musical Corporation won Publisher of the year. The Producer of the Year award went to Fernando Camacho Tirado-who also won Producer of the Year at the Billboard Latin Music Awards-while Horacio Palencia Cisneros won Songwriter of the Year.
The winners of the Billboard Mexican Music Awards are determined by chart performance, as chronicled in Billboard magazine and on Billboard.com during the eligibility period of Aug. 28, 2010, through Aug. 20, 2011. Award categories were based on sales data provided by Nielsen SoundScan and radio airplay monitored by Nielsen BDS.
The Billboard Mexican Music Awards will be broadcast on Telemundo on Thursday, Oct. 27 -- Billboard.biz will have lots more about the awards later today and next week!