16-year-old one of Latin Grammy winners, 10-year-old classical guitarist win special honors

The Grammy Awards have nominated 22 of Latin music’s biggest stars for their 2018 achievement. This year’s Latin Grammy winners will include heavyweights such as Ricky Martin, who has sold out stadiums and played 12 stadiums across Europe. This year’s nominees include 26-year-old Alex Cuba (who also performs as the trap star Bonsa), who has twice released No. 1 Latin hits, and performs provocative electroclash pop. His semi-autobiographical debut album, Galactic Journey, was one of 2018’s first critically acclaimed releases. It focused on the artist’s on-and-off romance with José Barrantes, with whom he has an 8-year-old daughter, Blue.

Meanwhile, Majida Velazquez, a 10-year-old classical guitarist who appeared in a documentary about her father, who was killed in the attacks on November 13, 2016, won this year’s Grammy for most-played Latin song. The song, “Amistad,” which was released as a single in August, has racked up an impressive 1.5 million streams on Spotify. In her acceptance speech, Velazquez said that the song is for all the women in the world. Her mother and the rest of her family will be in Los Angeles this weekend when they become the first Latin women to receive this achievement. They will be joined by Grammy-winning music producer Mario Canto, who broke into music with the winning song “Macarena.”

But while 2019 will be the 30th anniversary of Kool & the Gang’s debut album, Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop, the group is still struggling to adapt to a change of pace in the industry. In 2017, Kool & the Gang almost quit the music industry, according to Mexican newspaper Milenio.

In the decade since Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop became the most popular and talented Latin-American record ever, Kool & the Gang lacked recognition and opportunities. Numerous executives, musicians and producers tried to convince Kool & the Gang to go under. But an interview with Juan Carlos Alvarez, one of the group’s original members, changed all that. Alvarez explained why, among other reasons: It was his determination to establish his name again that strengthened the group’s determination to make sure Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop continues to be played in nightclubs, airports and homes all over the world. Alvarez also explained that even if the group was making sales like it once did, the music is played all the time. That means the music industry has changed in a very short time — the difference between it and the ancient world, when music was transmitted through the hearth in family and people knew how to listen and understand the songs. The music industry did not even exist back then. Now musicians have built radio stations and television shows that continue to extend their global reach. As for the music industry’s transition, it started with the introduction of a vinyl format in 1976, then through CDs and then to digital music distribution. This digital evolution has already made it possible for people in many countries to reach a music audience outside their own borders. And now, thanks to Spotify, Pandora and other streaming services, entire channels in any one country can be viewed by millions of listeners all over the world.

Read the full story at Huffington Post.


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