The Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame Inaugural Induction Gala took place on Tuesday night at the New World Center in Miami Beach during the Billboard Latin Music Conference. The Miami-based, non-profit Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame was founded in October 2012 under the auspices of the Songwriters Hall of Fame with the mission “to educate, preserve, honor and celebrate the legacy of the world’s greatest Latin songwriters and their music in every genre while developing and inspiring new songwriters,” as stated on the organization’s official website.
“This event is a very significant moment for all Latin American songwriters and composers. It’s exciting to watch an organization like this grow, and we hope it becomes a place to honor the legacy of all songwriters and their work,” said Delia Orjuela, BMI Vice President, Latin Writer/Publisher Relations and a member of the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame Board of Directors.
Two BMI Members were inducted at the ceremony: Spain’s Manuel Alejandro, known for composing smash singles for Raphael, José José, Emmanuel, Julio Iglesias, and Luis Miguel, and Havana-born Concha Valdés Miranda, who has composed numerous songs for Dyango, Celia Cruz, Olga Guillot, Trio Los Panchos, and many other stars from Spain and Latin America.
A special Premio Triunfador (Starlight Prize) was presented to 23-year-old bachata artist Prince Royce for his contributions to the music industry at such a young age. BMI recently honored Royce as co-Songwriter of the Year at the BMI Latin Music Awards in Las Vegas in March, an honor he shared with Horacio Palencia, who also performed at the inaugural Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala Tuesday night.
Nine-time GRAMMY winner and BMI artist Natalie Cole received the Premio Pionero Desi Arnaz (Desi Arnaz Pioneer Award) on behalf of her father, the late Nat King Cole, who released three Spanish language albums in his lifetime. Cole, who treated the crowd to a rendition of her father’s hit, “Acercate Mas,” will be releasing an all-Spanish album this summer.
The Publisher of the Year Award went to Ralph S. Peer (1892 - 1960), founder of Peermusic, the global independent publishing company affiliated with BMI. “My father was a major innovator in the field of music because from the beginning, his ears were open to styles of music that were not yet exposed in the popular market. He was always interested in new musical styles and bringing that music to new audiences,” said Ralph Peer II, who accepted the award on his father’s behalf. This honor will be given out in Ralph S. Peer’s name every year.
Other BMI members present included Arthur Hanlon, Jon Secada, Alicastro, and Michael Bolton, who, earlier this month, was honored at BMI’s 65th Annual NAB Dinner in Las Vegas for his songwriting and humanitarian work.