“Despacito” has done it again. The Luis Fonsi song, featuring Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber, won contemporary Latin song of the year at the BMI 2017 Latin Music Awards. Fonsi was also honored with the BMI President’s Award at the ceremony, which took place Tuesday (March 20) at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills.
Special honors also went to Residente, who became the first Latin artist to receive BMI’s Champion Award, recognizing his musical career and philanthropic efforts.
Other top honors of the evening went to Horacio Palencia, whose song “Me vas a extrañar,” performed by Banda MS, won Regional Mexican song of the year. Palencia also won Regional Mexican songwriter of the year for the seventh time. His list of hits also included “Me va a pesar” (Arrolladora Banda El Limón) and “Por enamorarme” (Los Plebes del Rancho de Ariel Camacho). The roster underscored Palencia’s versatility and continued demand as a songwriter whose romantic compositions transcend time and trends.
Another major repeat winner was J Balvin, who took home the contemporary Latin songwriter of the year award for four major hits: “Bobo,” “Otra vez” and “Safari” — all performed by Balvin himself — plus “Sigo extrañándote” by Zion & Lennox, featuring Balvin. Last year, Balvin won BMI contemporary Latin song of the year for his chart-topping track “Ginza.”
The Latin publisher of the year award went to Sony ATV Music Publishing for the third year in a row, with an impressive list of 17 major hits. These include “Despacito,” of course, whose three core writers – Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Erika Ender — are all Sony ATV writers. Other winning Sony ATV tracks include “La Bicicleta” by Shakira and Carlos Vives; “Sin contrato,” performed by Maluma featuring Fifth Harmony; and “Súbeme la radio,” performed by Enrique Iglesias featuring Descemer Bueno and Zion & Lennox.