meta-scriptThe Latin Recording Academy Announces Its 2023 Special Merit Award Honorees: Alex Acuña, Arturo Sandoval, Soda Stereo, Simone & More | GRAMMY.com
The Latin Recording Academy Announces Its 2023 Special Merit Award Honorees: Alex Acuña, Arturo Sandoval, Soda Stereo, Simone & More
The Latin Recording Academy's 2023 Special Merit Award Recipients, including Carmen Linares, Mijares, Arturo Sandoval, Simone, Soda Stereo, Ana Torroja, Alex Acuña, Gustavo Santaolalla and Wisón Torres

Graphic and photos courtesy of the Latin Recording Academy

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The Latin Recording Academy Announces Its 2023 Special Merit Award Honorees: Alex Acuña, Arturo Sandoval, Soda Stereo, Simone & More

This year's honorees also include Carmen Linares, Mijares, Gustavo Santaolalla, Wisón Torres, and Ana Torroja.

GRAMMYs/Jul 18, 2023 - 01:00 pm

Today, the Latin Recording Academy announced that Carmen Linares, Mijares, Arturo Sandoval, Simone, Soda Stereo, and Ana Torroja will receive this year's Lifetime Achievement Award, as part of its annual Special Awards Presentation. In tandem, Alex Acuña, Gustavo Santaolalla and Wisón Torres will receive the Trustees Award.

"We are extremely honored for the opportunity to recognize these great figures of Ibero-America, whose musical legacy continues to inspire new generations," Latin Recording Academy CEO Manuel Abud said of the 2023 honorees. "We look forward to celebrating their virtuoso careers during Latin GRAMMY Week in Sevilla this coming November."

Read More: Latin Recording Academy CEO Manuel Abud On The Global Expansion Of The Latin GRAMMYs: "It Is Our Responsibility To Support Our Artists In Their Quest To Go Global"

The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to performers who have made works of excellence within the Latin musical sphere. The Trustees Award is presented to those who have made tremendous contributions to Latin music outside of performance. Both distinctions are voted on by the Latin Recording Academy's Board of Trustees.

The honorees will be celebrated during a private event as part of Latin GRAMMY Week 2023 on Sunday, Nov. 12, in the Teatro Lope de Vega in Sevilla, Spain. 

This news follows the recent announcement of Laura Pausini as the 2023 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year.

This November, the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs, officially known as the 24th Latin GRAMMY Awards, will take place in Sevilla, Spain, marking the award show’s first-ever international telecast. This year, the Latin GRAMMYs will introduce several new Latin GRAMMY Award categories, including Best Songwriter Of The Year, Best Singer-Songwriter Song and Best Portuguese-Language Urban Performance, among other changes. 

Learn more about the Latin Recording Academy’s 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award and Trustees Award honorees below:

Read More: 2023 Latin GRAMMYs Explained: 4 Reasons To Be Excited About The New Categories & Changes

Carmen Linares (Spain)

One of the most gifted, passionate and knowledgeable cantaoras in the history of flamenco, Carmen Linares stands alongside Spanish legends such as Camarón de la Isla, Paco de Lucía and Enrique Morente. Born in the city of Linares, Andalucía, in 1951, she learned the musical codes of flamenco at a young age guided by her father's guitar. In 1971, the release of her first album showcased a deep understanding of traditional Spanish styles. It was the beginning of a dazzling career that found her recording the works of Spanish poets like Federico García Lorca, Juan Ramón Jiménez and Miguel Hernández – as well as showcasing the splendor of flamenco artistry in concert halls around the world. Antología De La Mujer En El Cante (1996) is considered one of the essential records in the history of flamenco, and in 2020, she celebrated her career with the tour Cantaora: 40 Años De Flamenco. Linares has performed with symphony orchestras, directed her own shows and recorded songs for film and television soundtracks. In 2022 she received the Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts for a lifetime of dedication and devotion to flamenco.

Mijares (Mexico)

Throughout his distinguished musical career, Mijares has produced a wide variety of records and sold millions of them along the way. Manuel Mijares was born in 1958 in Mexico City, where he began his artistic career with groups Sentido and Los Continentales, and was part of Emmanuel's chorus. His solo debut, Soñador, in 1986, included the international smash "Bella". In 1989 he enjoyed a pinnacle of popularity with the LP Un Hombre Discreto, backed by the torrid ballad "Para Amarnos Más". With hits like "Uno Entre Mil" and "No Se Murió el Amor," in the summer of 2009 he released Vivir Así, an album of balada favorites. After countless international performances, in 2016 he celebrated three decades of uninterrupted career with a concert at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico accompanied by a symphony orchestra.

Arturo Sandoval (Cuba/U.S.)

A founding member of innovative Cuban group Irakere, Arturo Sandoval has excelled as a Latin jazz musician, pianist, classical composer and trumpet virtuoso. Born in Artemisa, Cuba, in 1949, Sandoval formed Irakere in 1973 with keyboardist Chucho Valdés and saxophonist Paquito D'Rivera. Together, they pioneered a bold fusion of experimental jazz, funky rock'n'roll and rousing Afro-Cuban patterns. Sandoval left the band in 1981, and later moved to the U.S. with the assistance of his mentor Dizzy Gillespie. He then assembled his own band and began touring the world. Sandoval is equally comfortable performing as a classical trumpet soloist with symphony orchestras across the globe, and has also composed two Concertos for Trumpet and Orchestra. He's the recipient of multiple Latin GRAMMYs and GRAMMYs, and won an Emmy for composing the score of For Love or Country—an emotionally stirring HBO biopic based on his life and starring Andy García. He was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2013.

Simone (Brazil)

Simone's prolific and massively successful discography sums up the allure of the MPB movement and a samba-fueled revelry of life and romance. Born Simone Bittencourt de Oliveira in Salvador, Bahia, in 1949, the singer released her debut LP in 1973 followed by Quatro Paredes in 1974 and Gotas D'Água a year later. Featuring an ethereal reading of "Proposta" by Roberto Carlos and a soaring rendition of Milton Nascimento's "Idolatrada", respectively, the songbooks of both composers would continue to inspire Simone throughout her career. Simone made a deep imprint in Brazilian popular culture by recording the theme songs of many television soap operas, and also through her powerful live performances. Brilliantly combining a refined artistic palette with pop culture appeal, she is still at the top of her game both in the recording studio and concert stages around the world.

Soda Stereo (Argentina)

The Buenos Aires power trio Soda Stereo was formed in 1982 by Gustavo Cerati, Zeta Bosio and Charly Alberti. Initially influenced by British new wave, Soda's early hits like "Cuando Pase El Temblor" and "Nada Personal," connected with a young generation of fans pining for a rock band that offered a distinct South American perspective. As Soda enjoyed success outside of Argentina, its sound became more sophisticated, and yielded albums like Doble Vida (1988) with classics like "En La Ciudad De La Furia," while Canción Animal (1990) included "De Música Ligera," Soda's biggest hit. The band broke up in 1995, two years after their last studio album, Sueño Stereo, and celebrated their trajectory with the epic double live album El Último Concierto – only to return in 2007 for the final Me Verás Volver tour. Despite Cerati's unexpected death in 2014, Soda Stereo's music continues to live on in the hearts of their fans.

Ana Torroja (Spain)

Ana Torroja became an international pop star in the 1980s as the charismatic voice of the Spanish pop trio Mecano. The iconic group achieved unprecedented levels of success, selling more than 25 million records worldwide. In 1997 Torroja embarked on a solo career with the successful release of Puntos Cardinales, and following the band's definitive breakup a year later, she blossomed as a sophisticated singer/songwriter experimenting with exhilarating mosaic of styles. In 1999 Torroja surprised her fans again with her second album, Pasajes De Un Sueño, which abandoned the radio-friendly hits of the past in favor of a more cosmopolitan sound, with songs like "Ya No Te Quiero" and "Dentro De Mí." She toured the world with Girados (2000), a joint concert with her friend, the legendary Miguel Bosé, with whom she would later record "Corazones." She continues to be active in the recording studio and the concert halls of Europe and the Americas, always committed to both her loyal audience and to the genre she has been masterfully defending for more than four decades. 

2023 Trustees Award Honorees:

Alex Acuña (Peru)

A drummer and percussionist of remarkable technique, Alex Acuña is also a revered jazz and fusion bandleader. Born in Pativilca, Peru, in 1944, he was enlisted by mambo king Pérez Prado at age 18 after moving to Lima. Acuña later worked in Las Vegas with the legendary Elvis Presley and Diana Ross, and joined jazz-rock supergroup Weather Report in the mid-'70s, where he contributed progressive polyrhythms to two of the band's most iconic albums, Black Market (1976) and Heavy Weather (1977). Following his departure from the band, Acuña amassed a prolific discography as a session sideman, working with Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, Plácido Domingo, U2 and many others. In the '80s, he flexed his creative muscles with the Christian jazz-funk collective Koinonia, and also paid tribute to his Afro-Peruvian roots with the mystically tinged songs of Los Hijos del Sol. In recent years, he contributed his marvelous percussive skills to the soundtracks of such high-profile films as Coco, Moana, West Side Story and Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Gustavo Santaolalla (U.S./Argentina)

Argentine composer, singer/songwriter and producer Gustavo Santaolalla—winner of multiple Latin GRAMMYs and GRAMMYs— has single-handedly changed the course of Latin music throughout a tireless career that spans multiple fields, decades and genres. Santaolalla became a rock star in his teens as co-founder of pioneering folk-rock supergroup Arco Iris. After moving to Los Angeles in the late '70s and establishing an artistic partnership with keyboardist Aníbal Kerpel, he became the one of the most influential producers in Latin rock history, helming a series of masterful albums by the likes of Café Tacvba, Maldita Vecindad, Julieta Venegas, Juanes and many others. The 1998 release of Ronroco paved the way for a new chapter as a soulful and inventive composer of soundtracks. His haunting scores for Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain (2005) and Alejandro González Iñárritu's Babel (2006) won Academy Awards for Best Original Score. Concurrently, he has toured the world as a founding member of the genre-defying Bajofondo, a Rio de la Plata contemporary music group, and has collaborated with a wide array of artists – from Eric Clapton to the Kronos Quartet and classical composer Osvaldo Golijov. In recent years, he has gained acclaim writing the music for the two installments of the video game The Last of Us, as well as its subsequent and highly successful television adaptation, for which he received an Emmy nomination.

Wisón Torres (U.S/Puerto Rico) 

Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1934, Wisón Torres started playing guitar at just seven years of age, and made his first professional appearance on Puerto Rican radio with Los Sultanes—a group he created and directed—at 14. Then, in 1951, he was given the task of forming and directing Los Hispanos de Puerto Rico, a quartet composed of members of different trios who joined together for special performances throughout the island. Inspired by the progressive arrangements of American jazz quartets, Torres fused their harmonies with a Latin American sensibility, and created a distinct sound for Los Hispanos with his unique ability to arrange and harmonize vocal quartets. The group's refined, distinctive sound led to extensive tours in Latin America and the United States. In the mid-sixties, Tito Rodríguez produced a series of albums with Los Hispanos the transposed their sound to the pop music of the time. Over the years they also recorded with Tito Puente's orchestra, toured England and continued with recording projects. With a career spanning more than 75 years, Torres still creates music to this day.

The Latin Recording Academy and the Recording Academy congratulate the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award and Trustees Award honorees. Watch this space for more information about the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs!

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How The Latin GRAMMYS Brought Latin Music Excellence To The 2024 GRAMMYs
Peso Pluma attends the 2024 GRAMMYs

Photo:  Lester Cohen/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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How The Latin GRAMMYS Brought Latin Music Excellence To The 2024 GRAMMYs

Latin music was celebrated throughout GRAMMY Week and on Music's Biggest Night. Read on for the many ways Latin music excellence was showcased at the 204 GRAMMYs.

GRAMMYs/Feb 9, 2024 - 09:56 pm

The 2023 Latin GRAMMYs may have occurred months ago and thousands of miles away, but the leading lights in Latin music also shined at the 66th GRAMMY Awards. From historic wins and meaningful nominations, to electric performances and interesting installations, Latin music excellence was everywhere. 

In anticipation of the 25th anniversary of the Latin GRAMMYs in 2024, the exclusive GRAMMY House — the site of multiple GRAMMY Week events — included a significant installation dedicated to the Biggest Night In Latin Music.

The cylindrical display showcased some of the biggest moments in Latin GRAMMY history, including images, facts, and even a real Latin GRAMMY award. 

The celebration of Latin music continued throughout GRAMMY Week, with several Latin GRAMMY-winning artists also winning on the GRAMMY stage. Among the major moments at the 2024 GRAMMYs, Karol G won her first golden gramophone for her 2023 LP Mañana Será Bonito. "This is my first time at GRAMMYs, and this is my first time holding my own GRAMMY," the Colombian songstress exclaimed during her acceptance speech. 

Música Mexicana star Peso Pluma also took home his first GRAMMY; his album GÉNESIS won in the Best Música Mexicana Album (Including Tejano) Category.

Premiere Ceremony presenter Natalia Lafourcade — whose Todas Las Flores won big at the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs — also took home the GRAMMY Award for Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album. She tied in the Category with Juanes

Premiere Ceremony performer Gabby Moreno also took home a GRAMMY Award for Best Latin Pop Album for her album X Mí (Vol. 1)

Beyond the stage, Latin artists graced the red carpet and the nominations list. For example, producer and songwriter Edgar Barrera was the only Latino nominated in the Songwriter Of The Year, Non-Classical Category.

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Mañana Y Siempre: How Karol G Has Made The World Mas Bonito
Karol G

Photo: Patricia J. Garcinuno / WireImage / Getty Images

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Mañana Y Siempre: How Karol G Has Made The World Mas Bonito

'Mañana Será Bonito' may have been the vehicle for Karol G's massive year, but the 2024 GRAMMY nominee for Best Música Urbana Album has been making strides in reggaeton, urbano and the music industry at large for a long time.

GRAMMYs/Feb 1, 2024 - 04:16 pm

For Karol G, 2023 was a watershed year. Her fourth album, Mañana Será Bonito, peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 200 and took home the golden gramophone for Album Of The Year at the Latin GRAMMYs. Her many milestones also included a Rolling Stone cover, and signing with Interscope. At the 2024 GRAMMYs, Mañana Será Bonito is nominated for Best Música Urbana Album. 

The Colombian singer and songwriter was suddenly everywhere in 2023, but this moment is the culmination of a long, steady rise. Karol G has been on the scene for some time, and changing it for the better just by being who she is: an extremely talented woman making waves in a genre still dominated by men.  

Karol G has been a pivotal figure in the world of urbano since 2017, when she collaborated with Bad Bunny on the Latin trap single "Ahora Me Llama." It was a transformative moment for both artists, whose careers took off precipitously after its release. The track led Ms. G’s aptly titled debut album, Unstoppable, which went multi-platinum and peaked at No. 2 on both the U.S. Top Latin Albums and U.S. Latin Rhythm Albums charts. At the 2018 Latin GRAMMYs, Karol was awarded Best New Artist

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Although she came out of the gate in an unstoppable fashion, Karol G's chart-topping debut was the result of years of touring and recording. The artist born Carolina Giraldo Navarro was no overnight success.

She started singing as a teenager growing up in Medellín and, after signing to Colombia's Flamingo Records, chose the name Karol G and began releasing music. Early on, she flew to Miami for a meeting with Universal Records, but they chose not to sign her on the basis that a woman would not be successful making reggaeton — a severe miscalculation, that belies female pioneers and a blossoming roster of contemporary acts

Thankfully, she ignored them. A year after "Ahora Me Llama" and Unstoppable, Karol G won her first Latin GRAMMY. 

The star’s determination makes her a role model, but Karol G's career has also been defined by an inspiring integrity around her principles and artistic vision. By now, it is a well-known anecdote that she turned down the song "Sin Pijama" because it references marijuana use. Karol does not smoke, so the lyrics would not have been authentic to her as a person, or as an artist. 

This authenticity has doubtless been key to Karol G's success. Rather than try to fit an established mold, she brings a uniquely sunny swagger and sporty style to reggaeton. She projects a powerful and feminine energy, and her music often expresses a healthy sense of sexual independence and self-empowerment. This is an intentional part of her message, especially to her female fans.

"They teach us it’s wrong to celebrate ourselves for something we have," she told Rolling Stone of her musical messaging. "And it’s not. We have to be the first ones to give ourselves credit."

Like early collaborator Bad Bunny, Karol G is able to reach a global audience without having to change the language she sings in, her genre of choice, or her messages. Case in point: One of her 2023 accomplishments was becoming the first Latina to headline a global stadium tour, and the highest-grossing Latin touring artist of the year.

She also became the first Latina to headline Lollapalooza and, in between record-breaking tour dates, saw her song "WATATI" featured on Barbie The Album. (The soundtrack is nominated for Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media at the 66th GRAMMY Awards.)

In November, she closed out her big year with a sweep of the Latin GRAMMYs: Mañana Será Bonito received the award for Best Música Urbana Album and Album Of The Year; her Shakira collab "TQG" took home the golden gramophone for Best Urban Fusion/Performance. When she accepted her award for Best Música Urbana Album, Karol exclaimed, "How cool is it for a woman to win this?" 

Karol G’s wins made up a large part of an awards ceremony where women won big:  Shakira won Song Of The Year for her collaboration with Bizzarap, while Natalia Lafourcade won Record Of The Year and Joaquina took home Best New Artist. This was the first year that women won in all the general categories — something that suggests progress for the Latin music industry. The last time a woman won the Latin GRAMMY for Best Música Urbana Album was in 2013, when Spanish rapper Mala Rodríguez took home the award for Bruja. 

Watching the Latin GRAMMYs this year, it was easy to forget that women still have a long way to go to achieve parity with their male counterparts in the music industry. If you lost sight of that, the year-end Latin charts would bring you back to reality: Of the top 50 tracks on the Hot Latin Songs chart, 11 primarily featured women, but six of those tracks belonged to Karol G. Karol’s presence matters and she knows it. 

Karol G brings a powerful feminine energy to reggaeton and Latin trap, but also an unapologetic feminism. While this is explicit in her music, it's also clear in the creative partnerships she makes. She’s had many high profile collaborations with male artists, but just as many with a diverse roster of female artists from reggaeton OG Ivy Queen ("Leyendas") to Latin fusion pop singer Kali Uchis ("Me Tengo Que Ir," "Labios Mordidos"). In an arena so dominated by male artists, each collaboration with another woman is meaningful, but her collaborations with rising artists, such as Young Miko — who appears on the song "Dispo" from Karol’s Bichota Season — truly make a difference. 

Artists like Karol G increase the range of possibilities for artists in their wake, and for anyone in the music industry who flouts narrow expectations. Karol G knows that her victories have larger implications, and this eye toward the future has helped her reach unprecedented heights. "I understand how hard it is [for women to break through] because of how hard it was for me,"she recently told Billboard.

It wasn't easy for Karol G to get where she is today, but she has been opening doors for others — women, artists in reggaeton, artists in urbano and others —  every step of the way. From here on, the title of her album is ringing more and more prescient, and that’s mas bonito.  

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Pablo Alborán Reflects on His Latin GRAMMY History, Talismans & Lessons From 'La Cu4rta Hoja'
Pablo Alborán performs on stage at WiZink Center in Madrid, Spain.

Photo: Aldara Zarraoa / Redferns / GettyImages

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Pablo Alborán Reflects on His Latin GRAMMY History, Talismans & Lessons From 'La Cu4rta Hoja'

Pablo Alborán discusses his emotional journey with the Latin GRAMMYs — a total of 29 nominations and no wins — as well as the process behind his GRAMMY-nominated album 'La Cu4rta Hoja.'

GRAMMYs/Jan 8, 2024 - 02:59 pm

Spanish singer/songwriter Pablo Alborán has a unique history with the Latin GRAMMYs. Although he receives a nomination for each album he releases, he has yet to win a golden gramophone. 

At the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs, Alborán was the Spaniard with the most nominations. He received a total of five nominations, including Album Of The Year, Record Of The Year, and Song Of The Year. Yet on the Biggest Night In Latin Music, none of the envelopes that announced the winner had Alborán's name. Since 2011, he has been nominated 29 times without a win; his most meaningful accomplishment, however, is the freedom to continue making music and having untiring support from his family, friends, and fans. 

"Refer to last year's #LatinGRAMMY post," Alborán wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter), followed by a series of smiling emojis after the ceremony.

At the 2024 GRAMMYs, Alborán's 2022 album La Cu4rta Hoja is nominated for Best Latin Pop Album. The record competes against Don Juan by Maluma, A Ciegas from Paula Arena, Pedro Capó's La Neta, Gaby Moreno's X Mí (Vol. 1), and Beautiful Humans, Vol. 1 by AleMor.

During his Latin American tour, Alborán sat down with GRAMMY.com via Zoom to speak about the lessons from La Cu4rta Hoja, his history with the Latin GRAMMYs, and his return to the stages in the United States.

In 2011, you received your first Latin GRAMMY nominations for Best New Artist, Best Male Pop Vocal Album for his self-titled debut LP, and Song Of The Year for "Solamente tú." What do you remember from that ceremony?

When they told me about the Latin GRAMMYs; it was an enormous thrill. I wasn't familiar with the Latin GRAMMY because my career just started. They called me and said, 'Hey, Demi Lovato is going to sing with you,' which was also very intense. 

I remember taking my parents [to Las Vegas], which was the terrible part because they dressed formally. My mother looked like Cinderella, my father looked like a prince, my brother... They were all there and seated a little farther from us. When they announced the winners…I looked back, and my parents' faces, poor things, they looked as if I had been killed. [Laughs.]They were outraged, trying to pretend they were okay so I wouldn't see them upset. I had Sie7e and his wife sitting next to me, the happiness they felt when he won the Best New Artist award; I was shocked at how happy and excited they were. 

I was genuinely happy, suddenly seeing their happiness after so much work. I understand there's a competitive aspect; we're human beings, but I've been watching the Latin GRAMMYs for many years, living how it is, enjoying, learning to enjoy under pressure.

Unlike in the past, you had no talismans for the 24th Latin GRAMMYs ceremony. Although you did not use any at the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs, you often use talismans such as eagles, twins, and silver clothes for luck. When did this practice start? It appeared that it became an obsession, as you constantly searched for signs everywhere.

It was a way to protect myself and hang on to something and, of course, be able to let go of it as well. Thank goodness I didn't win the Latin GRAMMY when I had all the eagle signs; otherwise, my house would be filled with eagle talismans (laughs). I could see myself getting hooked on the eagle stuff. We must put everything into perspective and live the experience without overthinking. I try not to be too superstitious about anything, anyway, because it's a kind of slavery.

It has been a year since the release of La Cu4rta Hoja. What have you learned from the album and its 11 songs?

Each album is a journey; it is a new experience. Each album teaches you something different, and this one has taught me to live at the speed of musical consumption and not lose the essence in the middle of this journey. 

Being able to innovate while simultaneously maintaining your roots and supporting what you like in music —that balance will always be more challenging to maintain due to what surrounds you, the speed with which music is consumed, and the fact that millions of songs are released weekly. There are times when that effort is more challenging and other times, it is effortless. 

Touring gives me the illusion of seeing an audience that wants to feel the songs regardless of their style. People want to feel and want to see their feelings reflected in the lyrics and the music. And that reminds me why I make music and why I am here. 

Have you been surprised by reactions to any particular song from La Cu4rta Hoja?

"A Batir las Alas" surprised me a lot during concerts because it is a very personal song and, at the same time, a little strange… The lyrics, the way of singing it, the structure, and the response from the people in concerts were excellent. 

"Voraces" also surprised me a lot. It is the third song on the show's setlist. It amazes me that people sing and like it since it is a song that wasn't a single and has a strange concept; it's like a tanguillo [an upbeat and catchy flamenco palo] and, simultaneously, a chacarera [a polyrhythmic Argentinean folk subgenre].

You've always been involved with producing your albums, but you've taken a more prominent role in your last two albums. Why was that? 

In [2020's] Vértigo, I worked remotely, which was challenging. That album was very complicated to put together because I worked with Julio Reyes Copello from Miami, the strings were made in Prague, and my guitarists were in [Spain]. It was a fun process on the one hand but cold on the other. I felt like things were lost. I learned a lot on that album as well. In the end, you know how you want your song to sound, so you have to be very involved. 

On this last album, some songs didn't change much from the demo I produced at home. We wanted to stick with that first idea…playing it live and improving some things. But that production was already done. For example, "A Batir las Alas" worked with a guitar and a string, and there was not even a drum; there was barely a bass. It is a reasonably large ballad, yet we wanted to make it small. There are other times that the producer's work obviously, no matter how much I am involved, [is needed].

What do you like the most about producing?

The freedom. You feel an absence of judgment, an absence of limits. I can spend hours in the studio without eating, without seeing anyone, working with the musicians and the producers, or whoever is there. It feels like anything is possible — not because you know that the process can change suddenly, but because you know that what you produce, maybe you will hear again the next day, and it seems like a disaster, or it could be the best thing in the world.

So I really enjoyed it, knowing that moment was mine and that of those who were there, no one would hear it or give their opinion. Once it's finished, that song is no longer mine; it belongs to everyone. But it is enjoyable to feel that you are jumping into the void and that you are going to fall into the water.

La Cu4rta Hoja was created during your last tour. Has the album inspired you to create new songs?

There are ideas... When I'm on the plane, I spend hours listening to the voice notes on my phone, which are ideas [for] millions of songs I have. I'm in the hotel room, coming from a show or going to a show, and an idea comes to mind, and I record it and then review it. 

Silence is indeed necessary to create. So, I am very focused on giving 100 percent on this tour. There are many trips, many countries. It is the longest, almost the most extended tour we are doing, and then when I return home, and I am in that silence and in that tranquility, everything I am experiencing will explode. There are a lot of emotions and inputs that I'm receiving that I still can't capture because I'm non-stop.

This is the most extensive tour you will do in the United States. What is it like preparing for all those dates? You will go to cities you've never performed in before.

There's a lot of enthusiasm and excitement. We were already in the United States a few years ago, and it was necessary to come back, and the fact that people want it is a gift to me. 

Different things happen at each concert, the repertoire changes, and we let ourselves be carried away by what happens and the place we are in. We also sing versions, maybe a song by a local artist, and in the United States, I'm excited to do some covers of things I already have in mind.

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10 Incredible Moments From The 2023 Latin GRAMMYs: Rosalía, Shakira, Peso Pluma & More
Leon Leiden, Natascha Falcão and Paola Guanche perform onstage during The 24th Annual Latin Grammy Awards on November 16, 2023 in Seville, Spain.

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Latin Recording Academy

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10 Incredible Moments From The 2023 Latin GRAMMYs: Rosalía, Shakira, Peso Pluma & More

The 2023 Latin GRAMMYs were truly international, embracing sounds of flamenco, norteño, reggaetón, and everything in between. Read on for 10 of the most exciting moments from the Biggest Night In Latin Music.

GRAMMYs/Nov 17, 2023 - 03:27 pm

It is not a coincidence that the 24th annual edition of the Latin GRAMMYs took place in Sevilla, Spain — far away from the traditional epicenters of Latin music production. More than ever before, the sound of the Latin GRAMMYs are truly international, embraced by fans all over the world.

At a time of unprecedented global turmoil and collective anxiety, the songs of Bad Bunny, Shakira, Peso Pluma and Rosalía — to name a few of many reigning stars — have enough zest, honesty and passion in them to provide comfort. Both Spain and Latin America boast a long standing tradition of healing through rhythm and melody. Not surprisingly, this year's ceremony felt like a casual gathering of friends for an evening of dancing and celebrating.

From the strains of flamenco to the boom of Mexican music and the ongoing permutations of reggaetón, these are the takeaway points from the unforgettable 2023 Latin GRAMMYs.

The Genius Of Rosalía Transcends Her Own Songbook

It was only fitting that Rosalía — one of the most visionary singer/songwriters in global pop — should open up the first Latin GRAMMY ceremony in Spanish territory.

She could have certainly taken advantage of the opportunity to drop a new single or perform one of her many hits. Instead, Rosalía sang an achingly beautiful version of the 1985 classic "Se Nos Rompió El Amor" by the late singer Rocío Jurado. It was a lovely way to deflect the spotlight and focus on celebrating her Spanish roots.

Spain And Latin America Make Beautiful Music Together

From beginning to end, the telecast underscored the organic kinship that unites the music of Spain and Latin America. It took place during the International Day of Flamenco, and the transcendent genre was present in Alejandro Sanz's moving performance of "Corazón Partío." The award for Best Flamenco Album, won by Niña Pastori for Camino, was presented during the main ceremony — a GRAMMY first.

Later in the telecast, Spanish pop singer Manuel Carrasco and Colombian artist Camilo performed an acoustic duet of "Salitre." They were soon joined by Brazilian singer IZA Texas-born producer/songwriter Edgar Barrera, transforming the Sevilla stage with Carnivalesque energy.

Hell Hath No Fury Like A Pop Star Scorned

Since its release in January, “Shakira: Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53,” the collaboration between Shakira and Argentine producer Bizarrap, has become a global cultural phenomenon. Not only is it a grand pop song with slick EDM accents, but the Colombian diva's lyrics struck a chord with its message of empowerment and fortitude in the face of adversity.

The duo's brisk performance — preceded by a brief intro with Shaki showcasing her tango dancing skills — was an iconic pop culture moment. The track itself won awards in the Best Pop Song and Song Of The Year categories.

Emerging Talent Is The Lifeline That Keeps Latin Music Alive

Watching young artists performing together with the legends that inspired them is a Latin GRAMMY staple. This year was particularly poignant, as Colombian singer/songwriter Juanes performed a moving rendition of the atmospheric rocker "Gris" — about overcoming a relationship crisis — with majestic background vocals provided by six of the 10 Best New Artist nominees: Borja, Natascha Falcão, GALE, Paola Guanche, León Leiden and Joaquina — who ended up winning the award.

For Mexico, The Time Is Now

The moment was ripe for the richness and depth of música Mexicana to shine on an international scale. 2023 was the year when the entire world fell in love with the strains of banda, norteño and corridos tumbados.

The infectious collaboration between Peso Pluma and Eslabón Armado, "Ella Baila Sola" became the emblem of this revolución mexicana. A buoyant rendition of the track was a telecast highlight, as well as the performance by Carín León, who won the award for Best Norteño Album.

Laura Pausini's Artistry Evokes The Elegance Of Decades Past

Introducing herself as "the most [expletive] Latina Italian woman in the world," Laura Pausini seemed overjoyed with her Person Of The Year award. Her medley of career highlights — full of drama and gorgeous melodies — included nods to her first mega-hit, the nostalgic "La Solitudine," and the cinematic "Víveme."

"I thank my father because he chose not to go to the movies with my mom, and instead stayed at home, made love to her and had me, the Person Of The Year," Pausini quipped. Her songbook evokes the golden era of Latin pop, a time of elegance and style.

Radical Genre Bending Never Fails To Intrigue

Latin music is currently experiencing a moment of grace, and this creative apex is frequently expressed through intriguing fusions of seemingly disparate styles. The adrenaline-fueled performance by Puerto Rican neo-reggaetón star Rauw Alejandro gained in electricity when he was joined by Juanes on a rocked-up rendition of "BABY HELLO." 

Elsewhere, Carín León's duet with Maluma and Bizarrap's foray into electro-tango were fueled by a similar spirit of playful experimentation.

Exquisite Singing & Songwriting Will Never Go Out Of Style

There's something to be said about an album that was recorded live on tape with analog equipment — the singer surrounded by her band, as they perform together in the same space, with no outside guests allowed.

Natalia Lafourcade's "De Todas Las Flores" is all about feeling and warmth, her vulnerable vocals framed by delicate piano notes and supple percussion. A worthy Record Of The Year winner, this exquisitely layered track proposes that some traditional methods of music making are definitely worth preserving. At the Premiere Ceremony, Lafourcade also took home golden gramophones for Best Singer-Songwriter Song and Best Singer-Songwriter Album.

Hip-Hop Is A Natural Component Of The Latin Music DNA

At the tail end of the ceremony, the performance by Colombian vocalist Feid — aided by the stellar skills of producer DJ Premier — included a moody reading of "Le Pido a DIOS" with nods to '90s rap and jazzy keyboard flourishes. Just like EDM, hip-hop has been fully incorporated into the Latin music lexicon, assuming an identity of its own.

KAROL G Is Much, Much More Than Just A Global Pop Star

Just like Rosalía's Motomami, KAROL G's fourth studio LP – winner of the coveted Album Of The Year award — will be remembered for the dazzling quality of its songs and the kind of indelible magic that can only be experienced, not described. The Colombian singer's artistic partnership with producer Ovy On The Drums has resulted in a futuristic sound that leaves ample space for the warmth of her vocals — and it grooves like crazy.

Most importantly, MAÑANA SERÁ BONITO celebrates the small pleasures, the brief glimpses of inner peace, and the decision to embrace self-acceptance even in the wake of emotional storms. In KAROL G's world, optimism is the only pathway out to a better tomorrow.

2023 Latin GRAMMYs: See The Complete Winners & Nominations List