On a warm night in the heart of Hollywood, Billboard’s 2019 Latin Power Players and colleagues toasted to a year of industry-wide highlights as the honorees celebrated the increasing scope of Latin music’s global reach.
The Lexus sponsored event, hosted by Leila Cobo, Billboard’s VP, Latin Industry Lead, commenced with a cocktail reception on Oct. 15 at the Neuehouse in Los Angeles. As the evening got underway, Cobo introduced Valence Media Group president Deanna Brown who welcomed the guests to the evening’s festivities by honoring those who lead in the Latin music space.
“It’s because of you all that we’ve had such a growth,” Brown said, before announcing Billboard’s plan to increase its offering of Latin music-focused events in 2020.
“It’s about responsibility,” Cardenas said, addressing his colleagues. “You have to deliver good results.” He went on to issue a strong charge to the room of industry elites, “do not stop believing and insist on always pushing doors.”
For honoree Jorge Mejia, president/CEO, Latin America and U.S. Latin Sony/ATV Music Publishing, the night was also a time to recognize the importance of collaboration.
“This Billboard Latin Power Players recognition is about having a fantastic team,” Mejia said. He went on, “It’s all good in every single respect. You see it within our indie companies, you see it within our clients, you see it here tonight. There’s great things happening and we’re a part of it.”
Jimmy Humilde, founder/CEO of the label Rancho Humilde, said that getting honored for the first time as a Power Player is symbolic of all his years of working long hours in support of acts like El De La Guitarra and Javier Rosas.
“It shows me how many years of loyalty and unity led to this,” Humilde says. “It’s about that for your business partners, artists and promoters. When you are loyal to them, they’ll continue to be loyal to you.”
This year’s honorees noted that moving the event from Miami to L.A. was a nice touch that reinforced the influence of Latin music on both coasts. “We are much more bicoastal than people think,” says the L.A.-based Yvonne Drazan VP, Latin division, West Coast, Peermusic, who was honored this year alongside her Miami-based counterpart Julio Baqué. “We’re also much more diverse in ethnicity and in gender. It was really nice to see that reflected in the list this year.”
For Tomas Cookman, president/CEO, Nacional Records/Industria Works, being recognized on this year’s Latin Power Players list points to his team’s ability to deliver music that resonates with their steadily growing audience.
“I sort of think about it like those little taco stands you see in the middle of nowhere with a long line of people,” Cookman says. “You have a good product and you are true and you do it well, and I think that’s why people show up year after year.”