Beverly Hills, California, Mar 21 (EFE).- Puerto Rican pop superstar Luis Fonsi received a career achievement honor and also won the Contemporary Latin Song of the Year 2017 prize for “Despacito” at the 25th annual BMI Latin Awards gala.
Also during Tuesday night’s ceremony at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, the co-founder of alternative rap group Calle 13, Puerto Rico’s Residente, received the inaugural BMI Champion Award for his outstanding artistry and philanthropic efforts.
Fonsi, best known for his 2017 global hit song “Despacito,” which features Puerto Rican rapper Daddy Yankee and received 1.3 billion streams in the United States, was this year’s recipient of the BMI President’s Award in honor of his contributions to Latin and pop music over two decades.
He joins a list of past winners that includes Juanes, Pitbull, Carlos Vives, Taylor Swift and Gloria Estefan.
“It’s been a beautiful year. I celebrate 20 years of a career this year so it’s definitely a special one. And tonight is all about having fun and just celebrating with people who I really look up to,” the 39-year-old San Juan native told reporters during the event.
“‘Despacito’ opened up a lot of doors in countries where my music had never been played before – Asia, Eastern Europe, Australia. And to be able to see a lot of these beautiful places who are dramatically and drastically different than us, to hear them sing the song in Spanish, to hear them want to know a little bit more about Puerto Rico and about Latin music is truly a blessing.”
Among the other artists honored at Tuesday night’s gala were Colombian reggaeton singer J Balvin, who was named Contemporary Latin Songwriter of the Year 2017; and Horacio Palencia, who was recognized as Regional Mexican Songwriter of the Year 2017.
BMI said on its Web site that J Balvin was honored “for writing four of the most-performed Latin songs in 2017: ‘Bobo,’ ‘Sigo Extrañandote,’ ‘Safari’ and ‘Otra Vez.'”
The awards gala is organized by music rights organization Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) to recognize the songwriters, publishers and administrators of the previous year’s best-performing Latin songs in the US from BMI’s repertoire of more than 13 million musical works.