Espinoza Paz and Roberto Tapia, two regional Mexican stars who have also emerged as critically acclaimed and commercially successful composers, were the top winners at BMI’s 21st annual Latin Music Awards, taking home BMI Latin Songwriter of the Year and BMI Latin Song of the Year awards, respectively.

In turn, the BMI Music Publisher of the year award went to Sony/ATV Music Publishing, which numbered 17 tracks among the most performed of the year.

The honors were bestowed during a black-tie gala at the Bellagio in Las Vegas that feted Colombian star Carlos Vives with the BMI President's Award, recognizing his role as “one of Latin music’s most beloved pioneers.” Vives is widely viewed as one of the first stars to popularize Colombian pop and tropical music abroad and certainly the first to commercially fuse both genres.

Lat year, Vives, a Grammy and multi-Latin Grammy winner, released his first album in nearly a decade via a new recording deal with Sony Music Latin, becoming a successful comeback story and landing three singles at No. 1 on Billboard’s Latin Airplay charts. To celebrate his president’s award, Vives performed several of his hits in a pared-down, acoustic format.

Paz’s Songwriter of the Year award came thanks to five songs that were among the year’s most-performed: “Amor Express” (recorded by Banda Sinaloense MS de Sergio Lizárraga), “Cabecita Dura” (recorded by La Arrolladora Banda El Limón),  “Necesita Un Hombre” and “Te Mirabas Más Bonita” (recorded by Chuy Lizárraga) and “Si Mañana No Me Ves.”

On his end, Tapia and his Roberto Tapia Music publishing took home Latin Song of the Year for “Mirando el Cielo.”  The track spent four weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s regional Mexican airplay chart and hit No. 2 on Hot Latin Songs.

The 21st annual BMI Latin Music Awards was hosted by BMI president Del Bryant and BMI VP of Latin music Delia Orjuela. BMI represents Latin songwriters based in the U.S. and around the globe through reciprocal agreements with sister societies in the songwriters’ home countries.