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Roselyn Sanchez Hosts 2003 Billboard Latin Music Awards, Ricky Martin Sings "Tal Vez"… Singer-Actor Chayanne Leads Winners…Latin Entertainers Make Some Noise

Roselyn Sanchez, Carlos Ponce And Miguel Varoni Will Host 2003 Billboard Latin Music Awards

Ricky Martin, Eros Ramazzotti Debut Musical Performances.

May 1, 2003
Copyright © 2003 Business Wire. All rights reserved.

MIAMI-Excitement mounts as Telemundo and Billboard announce the hosts of the 2003 Billboard Latin Music Awards. Actress Roselyn Sanchez, Singer/Actor Carlos Ponce, and Actor Miguel Varoni will present a night of exciting performances, honorable recognitions, and emotional speeches. Ricky Martin and Eros Ramazzotti will delight fans with their new musical productions, as they join the line-up of performers including Chayanne, Thalia, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Pilar Montenegro, Grupo Limite, A.B. Quintanilla III & Kumbia Kings, Alexandre Pires and David Bisbal. The Billboard Latin Music Awards, Latin music's most prestigious awards shows, will be produced by Telemundo on May 8th at the Miami Arena, and will be broadcast on May 11, beginning at 7:00PM (ET/PT). Tickets to the show are available through Ticketmaster and at the Miami Arena Box Office.

Roselyn Sanchez is a rising, multitalented young performer who has already established herself as one of the leading upcoming young actresses in Hollywood. The former Miss Puerto Rico who played an undercover Secret Service agent in "Rush Hour 2" opposite Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, and acted in "Boat Trip" starring opposite Cuba Gooding Jr., Roger Moore and Vivica A. Fox, can be currently seen at the box office as a New York Socialite on the romantic comedy "Chasing Papi," and on "Basic," in which she stars opposite John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson and Giovanni Ribisi.

Carlos Ponce is renowned as a singer, songwriter, actor and television host and producer. His first musical production went double Platinum in the U.S., topping the Billboard Charts and earning him various recognitions including a Billboard Award for Pop Album of the Year, New Artist. He has acted in various Spanish-language soaps, hosted several television shows, most recently Telemundo's reality show "Protagonistas de la Musica," and made special appearances in English-language TV shows like "Beverly Hills 90210" and "7th Heaven." Ponce is now preparing for his cross-over move to the big screen with the film "My Gardener."

Miguel Varoni is the Colombian actor, director and producer whose leading role as the lovable wannabe Don Juan in the Spanish-language soap "Pedro el Escamoso" shot him to international fame. Varoni has appeared in many Spanish television productions, among the most popular "Los Cuervos," "La Potra Zaina," "El Angel de Piedra," and "Las Juanas," for which he has been recognized with numerous awards. He will soon be returning to the screens in the sequel to "Pedro el Escamoso" titled "Como Pedro por Su Casa," which launches on Telemundo May 5 at 8PM ET/PT.

World renowned Eros Ramazzotti, one of the best Italian composers to date, will use the Awards as a platform to launch "Una Emocion para Siempre," the single written by Eros himself for his new release titled simply "9." Ramazzotti has enthused people around the world with his unique and immediately recognizable voice, and thanks to his recordings in both Italian and Spanish, has become a favorite among Hispanics.

Finally, International superstar Ricky Martin, will take the stage at this year's Awards to perform, for the first time in public, the song "Tal Vez," written by Franco de Vita. The track is from Martin's new CD "Almas del Silencio," his first all-Spanish-language album in more than five years.

Telemundo, a U.S. Spanish-language television network, is the essential entertainment, news and sports source for Hispanics. Broadcasting unique national and local programming for the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population, Telemundo reaches 91% of U.S. Hispanic viewers through its 13 owned and operated stations, more than 30 broadcast affiliates with distribution to more than 425 cable systems in 115 markets. Telemundo is a wholly-owned and operated subsidiary of NBC, the nation's leading broadcast network.

Now in its 109th year, Billboard magazine is the world's premier music industry publication. It is read weekly in 110 countries. Billboard publishes the most trusted charts and offers unrivaled reporting about the latest music and entertainment issues and trends. Billboard is the flagship property for the Billboard Music Group, which also consists of Airplay Monitor, Amusement Business, Music & Media, Billboard Bulletin, and Billboard Licensing. The Group is a unit of VNU Business Media, a worldwide media company that provides specialized publications, electronically delivered data, expositions and marketing services and is owned by VNU Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Netherlands-based VNU, an international publishing and information company.

MEDIA: For a complete list of finalists, news releases, downloadable pictures and to apply for press credentials to cover the 2003 Billboard Latin Music Awards, please visit

Business Wire and Hispanic PR Wire are the official news distribution services of the 2003 Billboard Latin Music Awards.

Singer-Actors Chayanne, Montenegro Lead Winners In Latin Billboard Awards In Miami


May 4, 2003
Copyright © 2003 THE ORLANDO SENTINEL. All rights reserved.

MIAMI (AP) - A pair of singer-actors, Puerto Rico's Chayanne and Mexico's Pilar Montenegro, were the big winners at the star-studded Billboard Latin Music Awards, taking home three trophies apiece.

Chayanne and Montenegro performed their hit songs, and megastars Ricky Martin and Thalia also were among the Latin music artists who took the stage Thursday night at the Miami Arena.

Chayanne, a veteran singer and actor who starred in the 1998 film "Dance With Me," won Latin track of the year - the top award for an individual song - for the single "Y Tu Te Vas (And Then You Leave)." The song also won pop airplay track of the year, and his work "Grandes Exitos" earned the best greatest hits album award.

"I'm super grateful for the awards, super happy," said Chayanne, whose next album, featuring songs in English and Spanish, is expected to be finished in September.

Montenegro, whose song "Quitame Ese Hombre (Take Him Away From Me)" became an anthem for women, won female pop airplay track of the year. An alternate version of the song won for regional Mexican track of the year for a female solo artist and for a new artist.

She performed her hit song in a glittery two-piece blue outfit - with her band and a group of male dancers wearing black cowboy hats in the background.

Mexican star Thalia won the female pop album of the year for "Thalia" and the Telemundo Viewers Choice award. She wore a flowing red dress and signed autographs for the adoring red carpet crowd, some of whom tossed flower petals at her.

Ricky Martin was honored with Telemundo's "Star" award and performed the song "Tal Vez" (Maybe). His next album is set to be released in Mexico next week. He said he has dedicated himself to a project that finds and protects abused children.

Other performers included Gilberto Santa Rosa, India and Lupillo Rivera.

Brazilian singer Alexandre Pires was the hot Latin tracks artist of the year, the top honor given to an individual performer. Pires showed up without a date and sang his love song "Ama Me" (Love Me).

The upstart Spanish trio Las Ketchup, tied with Montenegro for most nominations with seven, won two new artist awards for pop album of the year and tropical-salsa airplay track of the year for their best-selling song "Asereje," known to English listeners as "The Ketchup Song (Hey Hah)."

Colombian rocker Juanes, whose "Un Dia Normal (A Normal Day)" won for male pop album of the year, could hardly be heard during his acceptance speech. He said he visited a hospital briefly for treatment for hoarseness after performing this week in Miami.

Latin rock mainstays Mana won the album of the year award in the genre for "Revolucion de Amor" (Love Revolution).

The awards honor the most popular albums, songs and performers in Latin music as determined by sales and radio airplay data published on Billboard's weekly charts. It was the first time the glitzy awards were open to the public.

Latin Entertainers Make Some Noise

By Jim Abbott | Sentinel Pop Music Writer

May 4, 2003
Copyright © 2003 THE ORLANDO SENTINEL. All rights reserved.

Billboard Latin Music Conference and Awards

When: Monday - Thursday

Eden Roc Hotel, Miami Beach.

What: The event includes industry showcases, VIP parties and panel discussions featuring leading figures in Latin music. On Thursday, the Billboard Latin Music Awards recognizes the most popular acts in Latin music based on album sales and radio airplay. Leading finalists include Juanes, Spanish rumba-pop trio Las Ketchup and Enrique Iglesias.

Awards: The awards show airs at 8 p.m. next Sunday on Telemundo.

The hot stuff

Here are the Top 10 Latin albums of 2002, based on sales and airplay data from Billboard and Soundscan.

1. Libre, Marc Anthony (Columbia).

2. Mis Romances, Luis Miguel (Warner Latina).

3. Revolucion del Amor, Mana (Warner Bros.)

4. Grandes Exitos, Chayanne (Sony Discos).

5. MTV Unplugged, Alejandro Sanz (Warner Latina).

6. Un Dia Normal, Juanes (Surco).

7. Quizas, Enrique Iglesias (Universal Latino).

8. Una Lagrima No Basta, Los Temeraios (AFG Sigma).

9. Dejame Entrar, Carlos Vives (EMI Latin).

10. Shhh, A.B. Quintanilla y Los Kumbia Kings (EMI Latin).

As the biggest names in Latin music gather in South Florida this week for the Billboard Latin Music Conference, the genre finds itself facing many of the same problems as the rest of the industry.

But there are also different challenges, most notably rampant CD-burning piracy that has become an organized industry in Mexico and threatens to undercut a grass-roots retail base unique in the Wal-Mart era.

Yet Latin music also has unique potential for growth, as performers and labels develop marketing avenues already a powerful force for mainstream American hitmakers.

"Honestly, it's a tough time," says Leila Cobo, Latin bureau chief in Miami for Billboard magazine. "You have the whole economic issue and the piracy and new artist development gets stalled when that happens.

"However, if any sector can grow, it's this one. I think it is hugely untapped."

Miami Beach will be ground zero for Latin music promotion starting Monday, with an array of industry panels and label showcases featuring mega-stars such as Juanes, Enrique Iglesias and Spanish rumba-pop trio Las Ketchup, all leading finalists in the Billboard Latin Music Awards. The Thursday show will be taped for broadcast next Sunday on Hispanic network Telemundo.

The conference also will spawn spinoff concerts in Miami featuring hot newcomers such as New York Afro-Cuban hybrid Yerba Buena, a fiery band formed by noted Latin producer and multi-instrumentalist Andres Levin.

Soraya, a Colombian singer known as the Latin Sarah McLachlan, is making a triumphant return from breast cancer with a show at the EMI-Latin post-awards party.

Both Yerba Buena and Soraya have new albums that aim to bolster Latin music sales, which dropped by 4 percent in 2002 compared with the previous year, according to Soundscan-Billboard figures. That's relatively healthy compared with declines hovering around 10 percent for mainstream formats such as heavy metal, rap and pop.

The decline is made worse by the issue of CD piracy, which has become an industry big enough to be considered organized crime in Mexico.

"If there weren't any piracy, sales of Latin music would be substantially more than they are now," Cobo says. "What's really affecting it now is the industry of copying CDs, physical piracy. About 25 percent of the bootleg CDs that the RIAA confiscates is Latin music. Since Latin only accounts for 5 percent of the overall market, that's a disproportionate rate."

Those who work in the industry are optimistic that the music is poised to overcome such hurdles. On the horizon is a new era of exposure on mainstream TV shows, commercials and major movies.

Expect more Latin stars to push into the forefront of the advertising business, as Shakira has with a series of Pepsi commercials and Enrique Iglesias has with a TV spot for Doritos. Census figures now show that Hispanics are the nation's biggest minority, a population that has exploded from 21.9 million in 1990 to 37 million in 2001.

Yet a study by the Association for Hispanic Advertising Agencies shows that U.S. marketers spend an average of only 3.2 percent of their advertising budgets on reaching Hispanic consumers.

A place to be edgy

Latin music still spreads primarily through a grass-roots network of radio airplay, mom-and-pop record stores and word of mouth.

In Central Florida, an array of commercial Hispanic stations is augmented by Rock En Espanol, a weekly show devoted to Latin alternative music that airs from 9 to 11 p.m. Thursdays on Rollins College station 91.5 FM (WPRK).

Host Enrique Fux, 45, has been doing the WPRK show for five years, after launching a similar program nearly a decade ago on AM station WONQ.

"I do the show in English because one of the basic ideas is to bring together the Anglo and Latin cultures through music, which is a language of its own," says Fux, who speaks in a rapid-fire patter. "There are no barriers if you like it. Besides, how many times do you listen to an Anglo song and you don't understand what they're singing anyway?"

Fux says that up to 90 percent of the listeners who call his request line on a given week are English-speaking non-Hispanics, "which surprises the heck out of me."

He is a big fan of Yerba Buena, as well as other bands that go beyond the traditional regional Mexican music, salsa and merengue favored by most commercial Hispanic stations.

His playlist includes more-adventurous acts such Puya, a Puerto Rican band that melds heavy metal and salsa. Another favorite is La Gusana Ciega, a Mexico City band with a name that means "the Blind Earthworm."

"You hear these bands and it's like, 'Dear lord, what is that?' But it sounds awesome, it's totally, totally hot. Refreshing to your ears."

Fux says that his brand of Latin rock falls through the cracks at other radio stations because of edgy subject matter and a language barrier.

"Traditional Latin music is all about love and 'my girl cheated on me.' It's always the same stuff. Latin rock deals with more profound things and some of it is in Spanglish. The Latin stations say, 'This is half English!' and the American stations say it's Spanish so they won't play it. In reality, the music is a language of its own."

Commercials and films

Advertising companies are starting to understand that language.

General Motors licensed a track from Miami's Latin rock band the Bacilos for a Corvette advertising campaign. Iglesias sings his "Don't Turn Off the Light" hit while crunching on a bag of Doritos.

Mexican singer Thalía is in a Dr Pepper ad. Mexican pop-rock outfit Maná sing for Coors beer, and Argentinian singer-songwriter Fito Paez's "Y Dale Alegría Mi Corazón" (And Give Happiness to My Heart) is used in Coca-Cola spots.

Latin music also is making inroads in the film industry, dominating the soundtracks for Y Tu Mamá También and the Oscar-winning score for Frida.

"It's becoming part of the mainstream, but I think a lot of people don't quite get that," Cobo says. "They still think it's some foreign thing, but it's not. It's like going to Taco Bell. It's there."

New York's Yerba Buena, which released its debut album in April, was one of the groups showcased on the Chasing Papi soundtrack. The band also will have its music in the upcoming Havana Nights: Dirty Dancing 2 and recently had a cameo on NBC's Third Watch, playing its "Guajira (I Love U 2 Much)" in a nightclub scene that opened the show.

Still, bandleader Andres Levin says that promotional opportunities for Latin acts are hard to come by, compared with non-Hispanic bands.

"There's a lack of opportunity for a lot of talented bands and musicians," Levin says by phone from his New York studio, which he calls the Fun Machine.

"A few years back, it was a little better because of the economy," he says. "Now, it's harder for interesting bands to travel to the United States and get deals in the United States. I've been involved in the expansion of alternative Latin music and it's been a lot of work."

After moving to New York from Venezuela a decade ago, Levin began absorbing the influences of hip-hop, Motown, Nigerian Afrobeat and Middle Eastern sounds. He formed Yerba Buena a few years back as a workshop orchestra to combine diverse styles in the studio and onstage.

Levin's production sense has made him a popular collaborator both inside and outside the Latin genre. His resume ranges from work with Chaka Khan, Tina Turner and David Bowie to Latin alternative acts such as Los Amigos Invisibles, El Gran Silencio and Ely Guerra. He also indulged his funk influences as the principal producer of the Fela Kuti Afro-pop tribute album Red Hot + Riot, an all-star project that made numerous top-10 lists.

"I've really tried to bridge urban and Latin music together and strike on the common chord. It's a slightly different animal because most Latin alternative music is more electronic or rock based. I always felt like the whole African style is so present in hip-hop and blues, but no one has really explored that deeply in a rock band."

After working with so many acts, Levin is confident there's enough talent to build Latin music into more of a commercial force.

WPRK's integration of languages on Rock En Espanol is a logical move to increase the music's reach, says Tomas Cookman of the New York management and promotion company Fuerte, which represents Latin acts.

"It makes all the sense in the world," he says. "The people who listen to this music are not watching only Spanish-language TV or listening to Spanish-language radio. They're watching the WB."

A vast horizon of untapped marketing ideas increases the odds of Latin music rebounding from the current overall industry slump.

"I think it can be marketed much more, promoted much more and sold much more, despite all the issues," says Cobo, the Billboard writer. "In the mainstream music industry, we've reached maybe 9 out of 10 in the capacity to promote things. On the Latin side, we're still at maybe 4 or 5.

"There's every option in the world for this music to keep growing."

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