Although the Latin Grammy Awards 2015 edition was filled with big wins and memorable performances by some of Latin music’s biggest names, there was lots bubbling behind the cameras that was equally intriguing.
Here’s a round-up of some things you didn’t see on TV:
There’s a big boxing match happening right here in Las Vegas on Nov. 21 between Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez, and salsa icon Victor Manuelle is not going to miss it. “It’s going to be one of the best fights of the last five years. Cotto has a big challenge ahead of him, and Canelo is at his peak, but my heart has to go with Cotto because he’s from Puerto Rico. He’s the underdog but I’m rooting for him.”
Speaking of the Cotto vs Canelo fight, the reggaeton star told Billboard he’s going to be performing on Friday night. “I’ll be singing ‘Encantadora,’ ‘Calentura’ and ‘Moviendo Caderas,’” he shared.
In the press room, where he talked about winning best urban performance, Nicky revealed that a collaboration between him and Chris Brown is in the works. “We were FaceTiming recently, and I’m excited about what we’re working on,” he said.
On the red carpet, ahead of Major Lazer’s opening performance of “Lean On” with MO, Farruko and J Balvin, Diplo gushed about Balvin, who was standing right next to him. “I’ve been a fan of Balvin’s for a long time, so thank you to Toy Selectah for connecting us,” Diplo told Billboard. “For the song to have the impact that it did all throughout Latin America is amazing for us, so we’re just happy and honored to be here. The song represents this post-global attitude. Colombia has so many different genres and Balvin is a part of all that and it comes through in his music. We have pop music in America but everything fuses together. We have MO from Denmark here; their voices mix perfectly.”
Major Lazer’s Walshy Fire chimed in on the Balvin love-fest: “He seems to be one of the most revered artists on this carpet here today. Girls love him, the streets love him, he’s got a pop attitude, and he’s not afraid to do what he wants to do and he has the heart behind it.”
Speaking of Balvin, the Colombian sensation stopped by the press room after winning the award for best urban song for “Ay Vamos.” The king of cross-genre collaborations, he says there’s not one sound he’d shut out — yes, even a Latin urban-flavored opera. “Sure, why not?” he joked, adding, “so long as I’m not the one singing!”
Andres Levin & Cucu Diamantes
The Venezuelan-born producer, who worked on Miguel Bosé’s Latin Grammy-nominated album Amo, is considered the unofficial mayor of Havana. When Mick Jagger visited Havana recently, he called Levin up and asked him to be his personal tour guide. “He was super chill, we took him to places that no one knows, we took him partying in underground clubs. Havana is magical for any person, whether you’re an artist or not. Everyone who has visited us has had a blast. He came with his son. Havana is going through lots of changes in this moment so what we try to do is show the real Havana to our friends.”
“It was so cool for a rock icon to come to Cuba to see the country’s folk artists live,” added Levin’s wife and singer/actress Cucu Diamantes, “and they don’t even know who he is. So I think it was very refreshing for him.”
A presenter at this year’s awards show, the budding Hollywood actress and daughter of beloved Venezuelan crooner Jose Luis Rodriguez set the record straight once and for all about her non-existent musical aspirations. “Hell no, I know too much, I’ve seen too much, and I respect it too much. I found my path and I feel comfortable doing what I’m doing.”
What’s the legend’s secret to looking so young? “There’s no secret,” laughed Moreno. “The secret is not letting this [she pointed to her strapless dress] fall down.” This was after Moreno displayed her dance moves to a reggaeton beat and right before she sang “Somewhere” from West Side Story in Spanish, the version off her recent all-Spanish album, Una Vez Más. Her parting shot and her number one pet peeve at awards shows: “I hate to see people chewing gum in the audience. I was standing there and I saw this young man chewing gum and I asked, ‘Who is that?’ Turns out it was the husband of someone famous. I felt like going to him and saying, ‘Throw it away!’”
Did you see that stunning coat that Goyo from Chocquibtown was wearing? It was made for her by Colombian designer Juan Pablo Socarrás and hand-painted with colorful graffiti, to represent “music, rhythm and the urban side” that is the group’s music. The trio took home the award for best tropical fusion album for El Mismo.
Fresh off his win for best urban album for El Que Sabe, Sabe on Thursday night, the reggaeton pioneer seemed genuinely surprised yet happy to be taking home the trophy. In an era when his younger counterparts are making chart-topping party music for the ladies and the lovers, Calderón’s brand of Latin urban music is on the more socially conscious side, and, in turn, remains somewhat underground. “The mother of my kids kicked me out of the house so this is a slap in the face to her,” he said with a laugh, though he declined to elaborate on the exact reasons for their fallout.
A mini Alejandro Sanz? Not so fast, says the Spanish pop idol. Turns out his eldest son Alexander wants to follow in his musical footsteps — but in a slightly different direction. “He loves hip-hop and I support him 100 percent,” Sanz told Billboard backstage. “Sometimes as parents we make the mistake of pushing our kids to be mathematicians when they have an artist’s soul. If he’s happy, I’m happy.”
Fher of Maná
Though the iconic Mexican band used tonight’s performance to make an important point about Latinos’ power in America and the need for them to register to vote in the next election, he also took time in the press room to speak on the most recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut. “There are a lot of Muslims in the world and there are good people amongst them. You can’t put people in a bucket. As Latinos we know what that feels like. These first-world countries have to be very careful in their response [to ISIS]. Violence breeds more violence, and I don’t think violence is the answer. They [the leaders of the U.S. and the world] have to see who the bad guys are, and be strategic and careful in their response. You can’t attack children and women indiscriminately and wage an all-out war; that’s wrong.”