Montaner and Nazario, both active recording and touring acts (Montaner’s new album, Ida y vuelta, debuted at No. 2 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart and this week stands at No. 7), received Lifetime Achievement awards.
“I want to dedicate this award to the Venezuelan people,” said Montaner, who was born in Argentina but raised in Venezuela. “While I’m picking up a Grammy, there are people scavenging through trash cans to find something to eat. This is for all the political prisoners. To Leopoldo Lopez, who can’t see the same dawn I see in the mornings because there is no dawn inside a cell,” he said, referring to Venezuela’s jailed opposition leader.
Nazario, who is in the midst of recording her latest album, struck a more purely musical attitude.
“There are three important things in a musical career: Passion, perseverance and pants,” said the Puerto Rican diva, who wore a red pantsuit to back up her words. “Music has been my light, the energy that fills me in the mornings. I give thanks to God and life and music for allowing me to dedicate every single one of my minutes in this planet to what I like most.”
Besides Montaner and Nazario, other honorees were Mexican singer Eugenia León; Spanish group Mocedades, later renamed El Consorcio; and Argentine singer/songwriter Piero. The former recalled his early days in Argentina juggling gigs with medicine studies. After going to perform at a club full of people, “I decided to try as objectively as I could to be a voice for you,” he recalled.
Trustees awards went to Nicaraguan journalist and recording artist Carlos Mejía Godoy, who received his award from fellow Nicaraguan singer/songwriter Luis Enrique. He was one of several honorees who got his award from fellow artists -- Brazilian journalist, executive and performer Nelson Motta, and Dominican songwriter Rafael Solano.
Other honorees received their awards from fellow artists included Mejía Godoy (from fellow Nicaraguan artist Luis Enrique); Nazario (from Tommy Torres), and most emotionally, Montaner from Yordano, his fellow singer/songwriter from Venezuela.
“I’m wearing dark glasses because I’m a crybaby,” said a visibly emotional Yordano, who indeed, shed tears. “I’m so happy to present this award because this is my friend.”
The special awards ceremony took place Nov. 16 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas.