Latin Grammys continue to grow with return to Las Vegas

“It’s a spectacle.”

For sure.

“And what better place to have a spectacle than Las Vegas?”

Rhetorical question.

Terry Lickona is talking the Latin Grammy Awards.

The co-producer of the show, now in its 19th year, sounds an insistently enthusiastic note as the festivities return to Las Vegas for an 11th year.

He’s seen quite a change.

“I remember when the Latin Grammys first came to Las Vegas, it was not as big a deal. In fact, I think we might have had a difficult time selling out all of the public seats back then,” Lickona says. “Now it’s no problem. It’s a hot-ticket item.”

So is Latin music itself, hence the Grammys’ heightened profile.

“It’s really become a universal platform for Latin music at a time when Latin music is exploding,” Lickona says. “Latin culture has become a worldwide phenomenon. It certainly has a big influence on American culture.”

That influence will be on display at 5 p.m. Thursday, when Univision will broadcast the show live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Here are a few of this year’s leading storylines:

The year of J Balvin

Consider the language barrier broken: With more than 16 million streams of his latest album, “Vibra,” this reggaeton kingpin set the mark in May for the largest streaming week ever for a Latin album. It is an especially impressive feat since Balvin doesn’t perform in English. This night could be a victory lap for the white-hot Colombian, who leads the field with eight nominations.

“People love his music whether or not they understand the language,” Lickona says. “He’s probably the best representative (of Latin music) out there.”

The coronation of Rosalia

This rising Spanish flamenco ingenue has collaborated with Balvin and is the second-leading nominee with five nods. The 25-year-old is on the verge of superstardom. Even Kourtney Kardashian is a fan — what more do you need?!

“She’s another one who I think is about to break out beyond the Latin market,” Lickona says. “It goes without saying that this is a big year for female performers. She is definitely going to be a part of our plans.”

Mana’s big moment

For the first time in Latin Grammys history, the Person of the Year award will go to a group instead of an individual performer: Mexican alt-rock prime movers Mana.

“The Person of the Year is intended to honor somebody, not just because of their musical career, but also because of the work they’ve done outside of their music to help the world around them,” Lickona says. “In the case of Mana, their focus has been on environmental causes, especially related to the ocean. They’ve been very big on conservation efforts. It’s that combination of the musical legacy that they have as well as what they’ve done to help the world they live in and the people in it.

“We’ll have other people there to honor them and perform on their behalf, and then we’ll have a special spot on the show where they’ll come out and do a medley of their best-known hits. That’s really a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”

Latin music continues to go global

A glance at the Album of the Year contenders provides a sense of Latin music’s strong international presence: Artists up for one of the night’s biggest awards include Spanish spark plug Rozalen, Brazilian singer-songwriter Chico Buarque, Uruguayan Academy Award winner Jorge Drexler and Balvin, to name but a few.

“We increased the number of nominations in those top four categories from five to 10,” Lickona says, “and one of the reasons we did that was to acknowledge the huge variety and diversity of Latin music, since we’re looking beyond the U.S. and Latin America to include Spain, Portugal and Latin countries all over the world. In terms of the music and the artists and what country they’re from, it’s all over the map. Literally.”

Halsey crosses over

The Latin Grammys aren’t confined to Latin music: The show tends to feature an artist from outside the genre to highlight the music’s growing reach. This go-round, popster Halsey will perform.

“We want to stay true to our roots and identification of what the Latin Grammys are. I think it’s a good sign of how the rest of the culture is very hip and tuned in to Latin music and wants to be a part of it,” Lickona says. “Latin music has much more respect than it did even just a few years ago in the general culture. I think that’s a testament to how the music has grown and matured, and how successful it’s been in terms of reaching out to wider audience. It’s one big umbrella. Just like America itself.”

Contact Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476. Follow @JasonBracelin on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Artist Joshua Vides created a "White Wedding" chapel for Billy Idol's Las Vegas residency
Artist Joshua Vides created a "White Wedding" chapel for Billy Idol's Vegas residency (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Try the Burning History cocktail at Zuma In Las Vegas
Try the Burning History cocktail at Zuma In Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES final night showcases Drake at XS Nightclub
Drake performed for CES attendees and club-goers at XS Nightclub in Encore at Wynn Las Vegas in the early morning hours of Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (John Katsilometes Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Happy Hour party at Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace
Conventioneers mingled during the Hardware Massive CES 2019 Happy Hour Bash at The Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
CES 2019 Has A Cordless Hair Dryer
CES Has A Cordless Hair Dryer (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Opening Party in Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace
CES conventioneers packed Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, and let loose as they danced to DJs into the night. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Print intricate designs, your pet or your face on your nails
Print intricate designs, your pet or your face on your nails (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Panel talks Impossible Burger 2.0
Panel talks Impossible Burger at CES during launch at Border Grill on Monday, Jan. 7. (Ben Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Momofuku Makes A Cocktail With Bok Choy And Beets
Momofuku Makes A Cocktail With Bok Choy And Beets (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Dream of AJ Montgomery
AJ Montgomery lost part of his leg in a vehicle accident but found his dream as a performer in “Le Reve.” (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kelly Clinton-Holmes of the Stirling Club
John Katsilometes chats with Kelly Clinton-Holmes, director of the Stirling Club's New Year's Eve entertainment.
Month-by-month entertainment coming in 2019
“True Detective” Season 3, HBO (Jan. 13) Travis Scott, T-Mobile Arena (Feb. 6) Robbie Williams, Encore Theatre at Wynn Las Vegas (March 6, 8, 9, 13, 15 and 16) “Game of Thrones” Season 8, HBO (April) Electric Daisy Carnival, Las Vegas Motor Speedway (May 17-19) “Fiddler on the Roof,” The Smith Center (June 4-9) “The Lion King” (July 19) Psycho Las Vegas, Mandalay Bay (Aug. 16-18) Life is Beautiful, downtown Las Vegas (Sept. 20-22) “Tim Burton @ the Neon Museum” (Oct. 15) “Frozen 2” (Nov. 22) “Star Wars: Episode IX” (Dec. 20)
Lacey Huszcza invites you to find something to love at the Las Vegas Philharmonic
Lacey Huszcza, executive director of the Las Vegas Philharmonic talks about the orchestra's wealth of programming. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gina Marinelli offers La Strega preview
Gina Marinelli used a pop-up New Year’s Eve dinner at Starboard Tack to preview items she’ll feature at her new Summerlin restaurant, La Strega. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Year’s Eve at Sparrow + Wolf
Sparrow + Wolf’s New Year’s Eve party was a sort of official unveiling of its newly renovated space. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas NYE Fireworks - VIDEO
The full show: A spectacular view from the rooftop of the Trump International Hotel as 80,000 pyrotechnics illuminated the Las Vegas Strip at the stroke of midnight. Fireworks by Grucci choreographed launches from the Stratosphere, the Venetian, Treasure Island, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Aria and MGM Grand.
Debra Kelleher Of The Stirling Club
Debra Kelleher, DK Hospitality President talks with Johnny Kats about the reopening of the Stirling Club.
Richard Ditton Of The Stirling Club
Richard Ditton, an investment partner of the Stirling Club talks with Johnny Kats about the reopening of the club.
NYE at the Stirling Club
John Katsilometes reports from the reopening of the Stirling Club on New Year's Eve 2018.
Michael Stapleton of the Stirling Club
Michael Stapleton, COO of the Stirling Club talks with Johnny Kats about the reopening of the club.
Recap the Countdown on Fremont Street — VIDEO
Nearly 40,000 people packed Fremont Street to enjoy America's Party Downtown. As the tradition stands, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman counted down the clock on the 3rd Street Stage, alongside her husband and former mayor, Oscar Goodman.
New Year's Eve live from the Las Vegas Strip Bellagio Fountains - Video
Reporter Aaron Drawhorn near the Bellagio Fountains as hundreds of thousands gather to celebrate New Year's Eve in Las Vegas
Ryan Reaves describes the flavors in Training Day beer
Ryan Reaves talks about the flavor of Training Day, the new beer from 7Five Brewing that was launched at the PKWY Tavern on West Flamingo Road. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ryan Reaves describes his new beer
Golden Knights winger Ryan Reaves talks about his new beer from 7Five Brewing at a launch party at PKWY Tavern on West Flamingo Road. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas' five biggest NYE concerts
Imagine Dragons at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Lady Gaga at The Park Theater at Park MGM, Maroon 5 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Bruno Mars at T-Mobile Arena, and Tenacious D at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
Celebrate New Years Day, Hangover Day and Bloody Mary Day at Cabo Wabo
Celebrate New Years Day, Hangover Day and Bloody Mary Day at Cabo Wabo (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Michael Symon, chef and owner of Mabel's BBQ, talks about his first Las Vegas restaurant
Michael Symon, chef and owner of Mabel's BBQ, talks about his first Las Vegas restaurant. Bizuayehu Tesfaye @bizutesfaye
New American Eagle flagship on the Las Vegas Strip lets you customize your clothing
American Eagle flagship on the Las Vegas Strip lets you customize your clothing
Bellagio Conservatory display is Majestic Holiday Magic
Majestic Holiday Magic at the Bellagio Conservatory
Las Vegas Ready for 2019 NYE Fireworks Show
The city of Las Vegas is ready to celebrate "America's Party" with a new and improved fireworks show that will pay tribute to the Golden Knights.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like