By : Fredwill Hernandez
In its 27 year, and held annually, The Billboard Latin Conference & Awards, is the oldest and only conference catering strictly to Latin music, will take place at the Ritz-Carlton South Beach, Miami – Fl., from April 25 – 28, 2016.
The three-day conference which leads to the Billboard Latin Music Awards [held this year on April 28] brings together top music record labels, publishers, talent managers, and executives in other areas of Latin music to discuss, engage, and interact with conference attendees about new and creative ways of doing business in the ever changing Latin musical landscape.
Among confirmed panelists as of today, include artists Gente de Zona, Ken-Y, Motiff, Reykon, Saga White Black, and Zion y Lennox, who will make-up “The Urban Panel,” to be held Tues. – April 26 [11:45 am -12:30 pm].
Scheduled for Wed. – April 27, beginning at 9:30 am, is the “SoundExchange Fireside Chat,” with [recording artists] Leslie Grace, and Chiquis, making her BLMC debut. Nicky Jam is also scheduled to open up during “The Iconic Songwriter Q & A,” presented [and sponsored] by Sony/ATV Music Publishing on Wed. – April 27 [11:15 -11:45 am], and to end the conference in style, Billboard will interview singer and songwriter Marco Antonio Solis, during [Billboard’s] “Legends Session,” in celebration of the superstar’s 40-years in music.
Among other panels [and topics] expected during the conference include “Music and Sports;” “Music, Film & TV;” “The Social Influence;” “The New Music Curators,” with Shazam, Spotify, Spanish Broadcast System [SBS], and YouNow; “The Divas Panel,” featuring recording artists Paty Cantú, Jackie Cruz, Natti Natasha, and Ednita Nazario; “Making the Tour,” presented by Magusa Logistics; and also “Beyond the Jingle,” a panel that will take on [and discuss] new partnerships between brands and artists.
Conference attendees will also have two opportunities to personally meet, rub elbows, and ask Latin music executives anything they wish during the “One on One Sessions,” [3-5pm, Mon. – April 25], and “Business Roundtables & Cocktail,” reception [5:30-7pm, Tues. – April 26].
On the nominations side of things, Romeo Santos leads the list of finalists for the Billboard Latin Music Awards with 12, followed by Enrique Iglesias and Nicky Jam with 11 each; J Balvin has eight nominations; and Juan Gabriel, Mana, and Ariel Camacho y Los Plebes del Rancho have seven nominations each. Marc Anthony, Ricky Martin, Banda Sinaloense MS de Sergio Lizarraga and Julion Alvarez y Su Norteño Banda also have six nominations each.
As expected Puerto Rico’s Pirulo y La Tribu, who have been making a lot of noise with their classic salsa album “Calle Linda,” released independently, and who after being picked-up [signed] by Universal’s “In -Tu Línea label,” adding two new songs, and re-releasing the album as “Calle Linda – Golden Edition,” are nominated under the Tropical Albums Artists of the Year, Duo or Group category, competing [in the same category] with Aventura, Buena Vista Social Club, and El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico.
Other nomination surprises went to artist Ed Sheeran, Justin Beiber, OMI, and The Weeknd, who would normally not be nominated for Latin Awards who are up for Crossover Artist of the Year category. Of the four nominees only two had Spanish remix collaborations with Latin acts, the first being Bieber with his remix of “Sorry” featuring J Balvin, and the second being OMI with his [Felix Jaehn’s] remix of “Cheerleader” featuring Nicky Jam.
Another big surprise came when the name of the late Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla, considered the Queen of Tex/Mex or Tejano music, who was killed March 31, 1995, by her fan club president Yolanda Saldívar, appeared on the list of nominees for Top Latin Album and Female Artist of the Year, for “Lo Mejor de …Selena,” released March 2015 which climbed to number two on the Billboard charts.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, based underground Spanish Hip-Hop act Kinto Sol, who don’t do reggaeton, also have a surprised and deserving nomination under Latin Rhythm Artists of the Year, Duo or Group, competing against [all] reggaeton acts Baby Rasta & Gringo, Plan B, and Wisin & Yandel, who have split as a duo.
The Billboard Latin Awards are determined by the actual sales, radio airplay, streaming and social data compiled and used for Billboard‘s weekly charts during a one-year period from the char dated Feb. 7, 2015, through this year’s Jan. 30, 2016, issue.
In addition to honoring more than 60 artists in more than 40 award categories, the awards will also honor songwriters, producers, labels and publishers.
For more information about The Billboard Conference & Awards, or to view updated information on both, log on to http://www.billboardevents.com/latin