The Latin Grammys are not a mafia: Manuel Abud

On November 17, the twenty-third delivery of the Latin Grammy will take place, the recognition granted by the Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which since 2000 recognizes what the members of the guild consider the most outstanding of the music in Latin America.

“The term mafia has a pejorative meaning, like something sinister, dark or illegal, and there is nothing illegal here… But it is a group, a community of artists who come together to recognize excellence”, highlights Manuel Abud, the CEO of the Latin Academy of Music, about how this union organization that is made up of four thousand members works.

The foregoing arises from the criticism that artists such as Cristian Castro have made in the past, who assured in 2017: “I do not like the Latin Grammys, I will never go and I never see them.” On that same occasion, the singer He said that this award bothers him because year after year the same personalities appear and he described it as a “mafia”, adding that there should not be a Latin version of the Anglo-Saxon Grammys, because it is not very original.

“What I always say to those who complain is: Do you participate? Are you a member?”, highlights Abud in an interview with Mexican Editorial Organization (OEM)about the criticism that these types of awards have received since their first broadcasts.

“What is wonderful is to see the evolution, both of the artist and of the members, because the vast majority of the artists who are widely nominated have evolved and very broad proposals, so I think it is a joint evolution in terms of music”.

When asked if artists who belong to a transnational record company tend to have more possibilities in this type of awards, Abud replies: “Well, there is a process, but it is not perfect. We try to level the playing field. I have the commitment that the membership is representative of the community we serve, that is my main objective. That some have certain advantages, I cannot deny it, although we try not to… And the one with the greatest amount of resources does not always win, and that is the wonder of this, that once the dominated are defined, everyone they are in equal circumstances… It is difficult to determine if there is an influence, I want to think that there is not, but maybe it is a little innocent to think so”.

about reviews

For Manuel, anyone who has a complaint about the operation of this award should be heard.

“Representativeness is very important, that each member feels that their community or their musical genre is being properly represented, as well as being listened to and seeing that the necessary measures are taken, but until then, because that does not mean that they will win next time. or that the rest of the other genres are going to recognize them as excellent, because that happens over time”, he stresses.

Regarding the remarks made in 2021 by the Colombian Juanes, about the fact that the Latin Grammys already had to open up to other types of music, the CEO of the Latin Grammy responds: “As I tell you, it is our responsibility to open up, be diverse and inclusive. , everything that is added on my part and on the part of the Academy will be welcome ”.

Regarding the nominations for the next installment, which will take place on November 17 in Las Vegas, Nevada, the CEO says he is excited about the way they were received, especially because, he says, Latin music is experiencing a big moment.

“We are very excited to return one hundred percent, because although last year there was already a face-to-face gala (after the most difficult months of the pandemic), there were still many restrictions, in addition to the fact that this year we are going to have new events. ”.

The most nominated of 2022

On this occasion, Bad Bunny heads the list of favorites of the members of the Latin Academy, with 10 nominations, followed by Rauw Alejandro and Rosalía, who have eight, and Christina Aguilera, Jorge Drexler and Tainy, with seven each.

Observing that most of the nominees on this occasion are artists of the so-called urban genre, the interviewee assures: “In the category of Album of the Year there is a very healthy mix of all genres, which I think are quite representative.”

As to whether there are categories that are a little behind or that are not receiving as many nominations as the so-called “regional Mexican” could, he argues: “Well, I wouldn’t say that they are behind, because all the categories are important; we make sure that each genre is well represented, but then how each one of them votes, because it is something I cannot and should not get involved in… “Specifically with the Mexican regional we have had approaches, as we had with the urban genre in previous years, to see how we can get them more involved and participate more.”

On the subjectivity to which an award that claims to reward excellence in music, as is the case of the Latin Grammy, may be subject, he responds that without a doubt, it is something that can be different for each voter.

“What is excellent for one may not be for another, of course, because here there is no mathematical formula that can give us a certain result, and that is why the four thousand voting members of the Academy define as a whole and in the form collegiate, not individual, that is the wonder of having a collegiate body of members who vote a certain product as excellent… And of course, at this moment it may be that in that group of members, in some way, they are considering that certain proposals, such as those of urban music and others, are at this time the closest thing to excellence”.

Finally, Abud highlights the category of Best New Artist as something positive.

“Although I always say that there is no category more important than another, I do believe that the category of Best New Artist is very special, because it is the only one that no artist is going to repeat twice, it is a nomination that you will never have again, because it is focused on giving opportunities to new talents… In fact, this year we will have, on the Tuesday before the award ceremony, a showcase of Best New Artist where each of them will have the opportunity to play on a Latin Grammy stage, and that is something that I am very excited about.”

The delivery of the Latin Grammy 2022 will take place next Thursday, November 17 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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The Latin Grammys are not a mafia: Manuel Abud