Luis Fonsi To Be Honored At Fedex/St. Jude Angels & Stars Event
Luis Fonsi To Be Honored At Fedex/St. Jude Angels & Stars Event

How I Wrote that Song Panelists: (from left to right) Donato Poveda, Luis Fonsi, Jorge Villamizar, Lenny and Max (Photo: Arnold Turner/A. Turner)

Pitbull sadly could not make it to the "How I Wrote that Song" panel at the Billboard Latin Music Conference Wednesday as planned, but the rest of the panelists - BMI songwriters Donato Poveda, Luis Fonsi, Jorge Villamizar, and Lenny y Max (formerly of bachata sensation Aventura, and now of their own new project, D'Element) -- provided lots of lively discussion, and even an impromptu singalong.

Moderated by Delia Orjuela, BMI's VP of Latin Writer/Publisher Relations, the hour-long session was structured in a round-robin style. Starting with Poveda and moving down the line, Orjuela asked each of them to recount the story behind one of his biggest songs.

Lounging Around: BMI's VP of Latin Writer/Publisher Relations Delia Orjuela (sitting, white blouse); BMI Latin director Jessica Roffe (back row, left); BMI senior VP of business technologies Jim King (back row, second from left); Joey Mercado, director BMI (back row, middle); Porfirio Pina, director of Latin Music at BMI (back row, second from right); and Billboard's Leila Cobo (Photo: Arnold Turner/A. Turner)

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For Poveda, that meant recollections of some of his earliest hits: "Usted Se Me Llevo La Vida," a song he performed as part of duo Donato y Estefano, and "Estoy Enomarado," a solo work. The former, he said, was an expression of pride in his heritage. "All the songs I write, I write to share my Cuban culture, so I'm very influenced by bolero and son," he explained, before launching into an acoustic version of the anthem that drew a spontaneous singalong from the audience.

Billboard cover star Fonsi touched on three selections from his own solo material, "Aqui Estoy Yo," "No Me Doy Por Vencido," and "Gritar." The first, he recounted, was directly influenced by Boyz II Men's "End of the Road," a group and song of which he became an admitted "superfan" after moving to the States from Puerto Rico at age 10. "No Me Doy Por Vencido," meanwhile, was conceived in a dream, "for the guy alone at the bar at with a bottle of tequila, saying to himself, 'I'm gonna love her forever!'

Hangin' out before the panel (Photo: Arnold Turner/A. Turner)


Villamizar was the most wry of the panelists. Of "La Cancion de Pescado," a recent hit for his new group Alex, Jorge y Lena, he hinted with almost a wink that its backstory was too adult to share. Meanwhile "Mi Primer Millon" was written almost sarcastically, he said, to be as "cheesy" as possible for a surefire radio hit -- which he scored with his old band, Bacilos.

Lenny y Max, meanwhile, were the only panelists who didn't accompany themselves on acoustic guitar, a feat which would have been impossible given the electrified nature of their hip-hop/bachata hybrid. Younger brother Max rapped along with his verse snippets, while Lenny explained his serendipitous writing process. "You and Me," Lenny explained, started with the "oooh-oooh-ooooh" chorus -- the only part of a song that matters, he insisted. "It's the oooh-oooh-oooohs that stick!"

Fonsi gets sandwiched by Billboard's Cobo (left) and Cebele Marquez, who handles sponsorship sales at Billboard (Photo: Arnold Turner/A. Turner) will be reporting from the Billboard Latin Music Conference and Awards all week -- check back every couple of hours for the latest!

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