Veteran Mexican singer/songwriter Juan Gabriel took home four honors at the 13th annual Billboard Latin Music Awards last night (May 9) in Miami, including songwriter of the year, hot Latin track of the year, and Latin pop airplay track of the year for his hit song “Abrazame Muy Fuerte.” Gabriel was followed in wins by chart newcomers Manu Chao and Lupillo Rivera and salsa/pop star Marc Anthony, who took two awards each.
Salsa icons El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, celebrating their 40th anniversary, were honored with the Billboard Lifetime Achievement Award, while superstar Ricky Martin received the Spirit of Hope award for his humanitarian work, predominantly with children in Puerto Rico. The Telemundo network, which will air the awards nationwide Sunday (May 12), gave the Star award to Mexican singer Ana Gabriel, who performed a duet with Rivera.
The two were among a host of high profile performers who took the stage last night. Noteworthy acts included Carlos Vives, A.B. Quintanilla y Los Kumbia Kings, Anthony, and Celine Dion, singing in Spanish.
Anthony was named Latin albums artist of the year, thanks to “Libre” (Sony Discos), which spent more than 10 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart. The set was named tropical/salsa album of the year. Rivera’s Sony Discos albums “Despreciado” and “Sufriendo a Solas” competed against each other for regional Mexican album of the year in the male solo and new artist categories; “Despreciado” won both. Chao’s “Proxima Estacion: Esperanza” (Virgin) won Latin rock album of the year and pop album of the year, new artist.
Winners of the Billboard Latin Music Awards, which honor the most popular albums, songs, and performers in Latin music, are determined by the actual sales and radio airplay data that informs Billboard’s weekly Latin charts during a one-year period from the issue dated February 17, 2001 through this year’s February 9 issue.
For the full list of winners, click here.