“2017 and 2018 were key years for women,” said Karol G, who won in the best new artist category and performed a rock-tinged version of her hit "Mi cama." “I feel now we have equality and I see it in these awards. It was hard, it was tough, but now is a great moment. In my opinion, I think the doors are completely open now and I feel it’s about men and women in the same category looking for Latin music to be huge.”
“I’m thrilled that women are getting noticed,” said Laura Pausini, who won the best traditional pop vocal album for Hazte Sentir (Get Yourself Noticed). “I like to think that those of us who have something to say are all the same. I’m happy that the women performing today can offer something unique and are showing how to fuse past and present.”
Despite the ongoing debate on immigration, social and political messages were largely muted, particularly compared to previous Latin Grammys, where multiple artists had socially conscious commentary and performances. At one point, presenters Carlos Rivera and Ana de la Reguera called for gun control and for an inclusive society. But the biggest social message was delivered backstage in the press room by person of the year honorees Maná, who have long been outspoken on urging people to vote and asking for social compassion and equality. When asked if they had a message for immigrants, lead singer Fher Olvera minced no words.
“Don’t lose hope,” he said, echoing a message he has often repeated in recent weeks. “You have to understand that you have all the power. There are 40 to 50 million of us [Latins] here. Don’t despair. Vote. With your vote you can change anything. Two years ago we were performing at the White House. I doubt that will happen any time soon,” he said with a laugh. “But still.”
Maná’s performance of a medley of rock hits underscored an evening marked by variety -- in performances and in genres -- with the spotlight often shining on singer/songwriters.
While urban music has dominated charts, it didn’t dominate the wins, or the performances.
Ozuna, the top-selling artist in the market right now, performed a totally acoustic song, accompanied only by guitars, before launching into more dance-based fare. Bad Bunny, who was nominated for “Sensualidad” with Prince Royce and J Balvin, sang backed by a chorus and with rock elements.