The 14th Annual Latin Grammy Awards were televised a few weeks ago. This award show began in 2000 and is handed out by The Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. They are given to members of the music community from all around the world whose music is recorded in either Spanish or Portuguese.
International artists like Marc Anthony, Carlos Vives and Alejandro Sanz were big winners with Miguel Bosé (from Spain) taking home the trophy for Person of the Year. Some in this industry have noticed that genre is slowly changing and accepting "newer" age bilingual music as the show becomes more multi-generational. However, one of the night's big winners was a veteran in the industry but to an outsider might not be as known (though very much respected in the Latin music community).
Longtime producer Sergio George took home three trophies. They were Producer of the Year (his third time), Producer of Marc Anthony's album (which won Record of the Year) and for Best Salsa Album for "Sergio George Presents: Salsa Giants." This added to his 11 previous wins bringing the total to fourteen Latin Grammys.
George was born and raised in New York City (East Harlem). Music came naturally to him. In his teens, he taught himself how to play both the piano and violin by ear. George has been in the industry for over 30 years. He has worked with a slew of artists including Marc Anthony, India, Christina Aguilera, and Jennifer Lopez among countless others. As a predominant producer in the Latin music community, he has over 200 million album credits. This is either as a producer, pianist or composer.
Over the years his music has been prominent on the Billboard Tropical Music chart which has garnered Platinum or Gold status in countries all over the world. In 2009, he founded his label Top Stop Music. It is an independent record label based out of Delray Beach, Florida and specializes in salsa, merengue, and bachata. Popular artists such as Prince Royce and Leslie Grace are signed to the label.
One of Sergio George's biggest passions is salsa music. He channeled this passion into one of his biggest undertakings. "Sergio George presents Salsa Giants" brought together salsa superstars like Marc Antony, Cheo Feliciano, and Oscar D'León (among many others) in front of over 12,000 music fans at the "Curacao North Sea Jazz Festival." The CD/DVD was released last summer and has remained near the top of the Billboard Tropical Music chart for months and has been certificated Platinum in Mexico. Fans of salsa music can soon experience the "Salsa Giants" on the big screen with a documentary of the show scheduled to debut early next year (currently slated for January 28th, 2014) as well as a tour.
With the popularity of Latin (and Salsa) music continuing to go up, I will not be surprised if more people outside of the Latin music scene will begin to know who (or at least the works) is Sergio George. Originally, this genre of music is not something I would typically listen to. However I thought about the longevity of Sergio George and the changing landscape of the United States. The Latin American culture (which includes its music) is increasingly becoming more and more influential in even the smallest of towns (like the one I live in). With this influence comes even more competition in the already crowd entertainment industry. It is becoming very rare to have such longevity (and respect from his colleagues) like Sergio George does. So, I applaud producers like him who have been able to not only continue to work in the industry, but also grow and adapt to the times while still staying true to themselves and to the music they love.