At this point, “Despacito” has run the gamut of awards (although the Billboard Latin Music Awards are still coming up on April 26). But for Luis Fonsi, getting the BMI President’s Award at the BMI Latin Music Awards on Tuesday was a particularly sweet moment both as an artist and a songwriter.
Fonsi, who received his award from BMI President & CEO Mike O’Neill, made a point of thanking the many people in attendance who in one way or another influenced the success of the song, from his label, UMLE (and chairman/CEO Jesus Lopez) to publisher Sony ATV Latin and president Jorge Mejia.
Shout-outs also went to “Despacito” producers Mauricio Rengifo and Andres Torres, songwriter Claudia Brant (who was not involved in “Despacito), whom Fonsi referred to as “my older sister,” and to Puerto Rico: “My main source of inspiration.”
Fonsi then performed a short set that spanned earlier hits like “No Me Doy Por Vencido,” which he sang while embracing a woman in the audience, and current hit “Echame la culpa,” with Demi Lovato “singing” her part on a video screen. The grand finale, of course, “Despacito,” was performed in a unique, intimate setting.
“I know YouTube numbers are important, but to me, the most important thing is to feel it,” he said, raising an award that’s given for songwriting but also for philanthropy and social work. “Thanks to my mom and dad, I grew up this way. Not all my songs are social, but it’s important to be honest as an artist and anything that affects you, you should put on paper,” he added, thanking label Sony Music. “I know I’m your rebel child, but I’ve been with you 10 years. Thank you,” he said with a grin.