To many, Bruno del Granado is the premier Latin agent at CAA, repping a long list of marquee clients that includes Ricky Martin, Lunay, Luis Fonsi, Ednita Nazario and Maluma in multiple ventures, from touring and merchandising to books and film. Upcoming stellar projects include casting longtime client Gloria Estefan for the upcoming remake of Father of the Bride.
Del Granado’s journey, however, doesn’t start as an agent, but as a record executive, as a host for MTV, as the president of Madonna’s Maverick Latin record division and as manager to Ricky Martin for nearly a decade.
At CAA for over a decade, del Granado, a polyglot renaissance man who moves fluidly between cultures and languages, describes himself as “the bridge between the Anglo world and the Latin world.”
Del Granado is featured in this week’s episode of Latin Hitmaker, the Billboard podcast that tells the stories of the visionary executives behind the artists and their hits.
Here are five nuggets from the conversation.
Ricky Martin’s “Maria” was a game-changer: “They invited us to see Ricky play La 9 de Julio in Buenos Aires. 250,000 kids showed up. To this day, I haven’t seen this kind of crowd. I thought, ‘I’m in the presence of greatness.’ We were a rock channel, but fans were screaming for Ricky Martin. We programmed the remix video of ‘Maria’ and it exploded. Shortly after, we got Shakira. And we thought, ‘something is brewing.'”
“Madonna called:” “She was passionate about Latin music. Her and her manager called and said they wanted to get into the Latin business and wanted to open a Maverick Latin operation. The opportunity to go back to work in a label with Maverick and Guy was an opportunity I could not pass up.”
What does the mainstream still not get about Latin: “The general market has not really grasped how big the Latin market really is, how global it is, and how Latin music is loved, admired and listened to globally. I was in Saudi Arabia two years ago with Maluma. It was a stadium show: 32,000 Saudi Arabian kids. No one spoke Spanish. Not even English. And they were all singing in Spanish. I saw that with Ricky too. Latin music is global. And the general market does not recognize how global our culture is.”
What Latin still does not get about the mainstream: “The American way of working is different than ours. A yes to the American market is a yes, it’s not a maybe. When we say yes, yes, yes it means we hear you. Are we going to do it? We don’t know. And nothing is personal in the U.S. It is what it is. It’s business. Our skin has to get a little thicker, and that’s really key. It helped me.”
The importance of Spanish: “It is a requirement for someone to work with me to read and speak Spanish because a lot of our clients don’t speak English. A lot of the contracts we do are in Spanish. It’s so important going forward to speak Spanish, because we have a market of 440 million people South of the border and everything is done in Spanish down there.”
Listen to the full podcast here: