This will be the first time that a group or band receives the award in the Latin Grammys’ 19-year history. Maná, comprised of lead singer Fher Olvera, drummer Alex González, guitarist Sergio Vallín, and bassist Juan Calleros, has won six Latin Grammys and four Grammy awards during their career. The group has also landed 11 No. 1s on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart, more than any other duo or group in the chart’s history.
Maná is being honored as much for their creative and musical accomplishments as for their philanthropic contributions to the Latin community, their steadfast and dedicated support of environmental preservation and protection and their vocal advocacy of human rights.
“We’re really very excited,” said Olvera, speaking on the phone from his home in Guadalajara. “The Academy is the Academy, and an award like this is a rose for the band’s career.”
Being the first group, he added, was also full of significance. “It speaks to the fact that this is a band with a history of songs. It’s important that there be awards that honor people that create songs.”
Aside from being one of the top-selling Latin acts in the market, and one of the top touring acts in the market, Maná stands our for the work it has done for years to preserve the environment through its Selva Negra Foundation. This past April, the group also received the Billboard Lifetime Achievement Award during the Billboard Latin Music Awards, and sat down for a conversation at the Billboard Latin Music Conference to discuss their philanthropic endeavors.
Maná has also been vocal in speaking out to promote specific causes, including the right to vote. The group was the first Latin act to speak out vehemently against Donald Trump’s negative comments about the Latin community, when the now-president was still campaigning.
“This is the Academy’s opportunity to honor someone who has used the strength of music for the greater good,” said Gabriel Abaroa Jr., President/CEO of The Latin Recording Academy. “They’ve been very congruent in their fight for social rights and ecology. We have a group with very strong personalities; we’d have to hold four Persons of the Year to honor them, so we honored them as a group.”
Maná will be honored at a private dinner on Nov. 14, the day before the Latin Grammy Awards ceremony, with proceeds going to the Latin Grammy Foundation. As is the tradition, the band will be fetted by other artists who will perform their songs.
“We’re very excited that our songs will be performed by other artists,” added Olvera. “And the fact that proceeds go to a music charity is really cool.”
The challenge, says Abaroa, will be in honoring a four-member group. “The logistics of the show may have to change,” he said. “We may have to bring in bands. This concert will have a lot of personality.”
As to which of Maná’s many hits will be performed, the concert is still very much in the planning stages. However, when we asked Olvera to pick three favorite songs from the Maná repertoire he, had an answer: “El muelle de San Blas,” for its combination of poetic lyrics and music; “Mariposa traicionera” because “it crosses Latin American cultures; you can hear it anywhere and in any version;” and “Clavado en un bar,” for its rock ‘n’ roll feel.