BMI songwriter/producer Emilio Estefan was feted recently by LARAS, the Latin arm of the Recording Academy that organizes the Grammys, as its first "Person of the Year" on September 11. Estefan also took home two Latin Grammys two days later at the first annual Latin Grammy Awards.
Estefan is congratulated by BMI's Frances Preston and Diane Almodovar
The gala, held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles and attended by some of the most important figures in the Latin music industry, included a Latin GRAMMY Nominee Celebration honoring all nominees and a silent auction featuring collectibles (such as a glittery pair of Celia Cruz's shoes), artwork and other luxury items. Proceeds from the dinner went to the Latin Academy and its outreach programs while proceeds from the auction went to the MusiCares Foundation.
Estefan, who started out in music playing the accordion, closed the evening playing congas in a rousing jam session by a true all-star band featuring wife Gloria Estefan, Jon Secada, Shakira, Celia Cruz and others
Estefan was honored not only for his musical accomplishments but also his philanthropic efforts, including the Gloria Estefan Foundation, which empowers young people by offering financial support to promote good health, education, and cultural development. Estefan has also provided generous financial support to the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, the most comprehensive research center dedicated to treating spinal cord injuries and finding a cure for paralysis.
Pictured here after the ceremony are (l-r): BMI's Del Bryant, Delia Orjuela and Barbara Cane, singer/songwriter Jon Secada, BMI's Frances Preston, Alison Smith, Joey Mercado and Diane Almodovar