The Billboard Latin Music Awards will recognize the outstanding contributions of two giants at this year’s ceremony.
Brazilian singer/songwriter Roberto Carlos will receive the Billboard Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his outstanding career, and iconic guitarist Carlos Santana will be given the Spirit of Hope Award for his philanthropic and humanitarian contributions beyond his musical work.
Both artists also will perform at the awards ceremony, the longest-running and most prestigious awards show in the Latin music world, produced and broadcast live on Telemundo Thursday, April 30, at 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT from BankUnited Center at the University of Miami in Florida.
The Billboard Lifetime Achievement Award is given to an artist for an exceptional career that has taken Latin music to another level globally. Roberto Carlos, with a musical career that spans over 50 years and more than 120 million albums sold around the world, has certainly earned the distinction. As one of the top-selling Latin artists in the world, he continues to be relevant for his artistic and personal contributions.
The journey of Roberto Carlos began in the 1960s, when he initiated a major music revolution in Brazil, reaching success in a period coinciding with the global youth movement started by The Beatles. Roberto Carlos was the leader of Jovem Guarda, and he led a TV show that became a generic denomination of a musical style that was a definitive change of face for Brazilian music. In the late ’60s, Roberto Carlos changed his style to become the most successful romantic artist in Brazil, co-writing some of the most beautiful songs in this style, which would become Latin American classics, like “Detalles,” “Jesus Cristo,” “Emociones” and “Que Sera de Ti.” By the late 1970s he had become the best-selling Brazilian musician in history.
In the ’80s, Roberto Carlos began to record in English and French, having already released albums in Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, granting him a solid international career with top positions on Billboard’s Latin charts. In 1986, he was a success at Radio City Music Hall in New York and three years later, won the first of his four Grammys, this time for best Latin American pop singer. In the 1990s, Roberto Carlos became the first Latin American artist to sell more albums than The Beatles.
The Spirit of Hope Award, created in honor of the late Selena, is given to an artist for his or her philanthropic and humanitarian contributions beyond their musical work. In 2015, the Spirit of Hope Award will be granted to Carlos Santana for his lifelong devotion to social activism and humanitarian causes, and in particular for his work on behalf of children through his Milagro Foundation. Originally established by Carlos Santana and his family in 1998, the Milagro Foundation benefits underserved and vulnerable children around the world by making grants to community based tax-exempt organizations that work with children in the areas of education, health and the arts. With funds generated by concert ticket donations, Santana licensed products and generous philanthropic partners and individual donors, Milagro has granted more than $5 million, supporting children and youth in the San Francisco Bay area, across the United States and in countries around the world.
Delivered with a level of passion and soul equal to the legendary sonic charge of his guitar, Carlos Santana’s music is a world-renowned signature. For more than four decades, from Santana’s earliest days as a groundbreaking Afro-Latin-blues-rock fusion outfit in San Francisco, Carlos has been the visionary force behind artistry that transcends musical genres and generational, cultural and geographical boundaries. For more than forty years and almost as many albums later, Santana has sold more than 100 million records and reached more than 100 million fans at concerts worldwide.
In addition to his performing duties at the Billboard Latin Music Awards, Carlos Santana will keynote the Billboard Latin Music Conference this year. The Mexican American icon will sit down with Billboard’s Leila Cobo for an intimate conversation traversing his 40-plus years in the industry.
Among many honors, Carlos Santana received Billboard Latin Music Awards’ 2009 Lifetime Achievement award, and, he was bestowed Billboard’s Century Award in 1996. Santana’s recent album Corazón — his first Spanish-language one — is a collaborative effort with the biggest names in Latin music including ChocQuibTown, Lila Downs, Gloria Estefan, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Juanes, Ziggy Marley, Miguel, Niña Pastori, Diego Torres, Samuel Rosa of Skank, Cindy Blackman Santana, Romeo Santos, Soledad, Wayne Shorter and others. Up for five awards this year, Corazón is certified U.S. Latin double platinum and was the top-selling Latin music album in the United States for six consecutive weeks.
The two special honorees join an exciting line-up of previously announced performers at this year’s Billboard Latin Music Awards, including Wisin?, Daddy Yankee?, J Balvin?, Carlos Vives?, Julion Alvarez y Su Norteño Banda?, Ana Gabriel?, and Lucero?.