It was yin and yang at the 26th annual ASCAP Latin Music Awards, with regional Mexican singer/songwriter Joss Favela winning songwriter of the year for the third time and reggaeton/trap star Farruko winning songwriter/artist of the year for the first time.
That two young stars representing two completely different genres were the big wins of the night underscores how eclectic Latin music is, despite the urban explosion that has taken over the charts.
Indeed, not surprisingly, the Latin song of the year award went to “Despacito,” the Luis Fonsi hit co-written with Daddy Yankee (and Erica Ender), with the English version co-written with Justin Bieber and Jason “Poo Bear” Boyd. But throughout the night, awards were presented in pop, tropical, regional Mexican, urban and television categories.
Special honors went to urban music duo Gente de Zona — Alexander Delgado and Randy Malcom Martinez — who won the ASCAP Golden Note Award in recognition of their “extraordinary milestones.” The group became the first Cuban-based act to reach No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart with 2014’s “Bailando,” alongside Enrique Iglesias and Descemer Bueno. This year, Gente de Zona have four winning ASCAP songs, including “Ni tu ni yo” alongside Jennifer Lopez.
The second special honor of the night, ASCAP’s Vanguard Award, went to Eduardo Cabra (aka Visitante of Calle 13) for his “impact on new and developing musical genres that have shaped the future of music.” Cabra most recently won producer of the year at the 2017 Latin Grammy Awards.
The publisher of the year award went to WB Music Corp., which had a publishing share in a long list of songs that include hits “Cásate Conmigo,” “Criminal,” “Echame la culpa” and “Mi gente.”
Independent publisher of the year went to BMG Gold Songs, whose list of songs include “Chillax,” “Corazon” and “Ni tu ni yo.”
The ASCAP Latin Music Awards took place at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City, with ASCAP’s senior executives — including CEO Elizabeth Matthews, President Paul Williams, Membership VP Gabriela Gonzalez and EVP John Titta — in attendance.