It was new meets established at the ASCAP Latin Music Awards on Wednesday (May 11) night, with 25-year-old Joss Favela becoming the youngest-ever songwriter of the year winner while Sony/ATV picked up its 14th consecutive publisher of the year trophy.
The annual awards, which took place at the Ritz Carlton South Beach, were dynamic and fast-clipped, with performances interspersed between honors — like a music awards show — rather than saved for the beginning and end, which is usually the case with society awards.
That this year wasn’t going to be business as usual was apparent from the onset, with Cuban duo Gente de Zona opening up the show with an acoustic, but still very uptempo, version of their hit “La gozadera.”
Other performers of the evening included Nicaraguan star Luis Enrique, who won the ASCAP voice of music award, and recent Grammy winner Natalia Lafourcade, winner of the ASCAP golden note award.
Romeo Santos, who wasn’t present, won songwriter/artist of the Yyar while his publishing company, Mayimba Music, was named Independent publisher of the year.
Hosted by radio personality Enrique Santos, it was an evening of musical highlights. Favela was impressive singing in counterpoint with just his guitar, and Luis Enrique, who received his award form veteran songwriter Omar Alfanno, provided the poignancy. “I entered the United States as an undocumented fleeing the war in Nicaragua,” said the singer/songwriter, who became a star as a salsa singer but is also an accomplished guitarist, songwriter and composer. Luis Enrique then launched into a medley of hits, beginning with “Autobiografía” (“I reached the promised land, learned another language, I grew up in the shadows of silence, scared and illegal), whose lyrics were particularly thought-provoking in this election year.
On her end, Lafourcade sang her Latin Grammy winning song “Hasta la raíz,” Pedro Capó, Beatriz Luongo and Yotuel sang “La mordidita,” recorded by Ricky Martin, and Daniel Santacruz sang “Culpa al corazón,” recorded by Prince Royce. Another newcomer, Spaniard Pablo López, performed “Tu enemigo” at the piano.
Awards were given in pop, tropical, regional Mexican urban and televisión categories, with Sony/ATV notching an impressive 44 winning songs.
“This is the A team,” said Jorge Mejía, recently promoted to president of Sony/ATV Music Publishing Latin America and U.S. Latin, collecting his award and recognizing his staff. More importantly, he added, “We’re in a process of change but the only thing that moves this industry is a song.”