NEW YORK, Jan. 16, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Two icons of Latin music will be honored as The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) brings the 27th annual ASCAP Latin Music Awards back to San Juan, Puerto Rico, on March 5 in support of the Latin songwriting community. The legendary Queen of Merengue Milly Quezada will receive the ASCAP Latin Heritage Award and award-winning Latin songwriter and artist Draco Rosa will be feted with the ASCAP Vanguard Award.
Gabriela Gonzalez, ASCAP Vice President Membership, Latin, said, "The devastating impact of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico in 2017 affected so many people we know and love and was just heartbreaking to us all. Late last year, ASCAP made a decision to support the rebuilding of the Puerto Rico songwriting community by hosting our biggest Latin event on the island once again. We are so looking forward to returning to San Juan and celebrating with two of our most accomplished ASCAP members there."
"Milly Quezada began her career captivating audiences in New York City and settled in Puerto Rico, and she has never stopped conquering the world with her infectious music," said ASCAP Chairman of the Board and President Paul Williams. "Now the Queen of Merengue, she continues to cultivate this vital art form with heart and soul."
"Proud of his Puerto Rican heritage, Draco Rosa became a driving force in Latin rock and pop," continued Williams. "From his early career as a pop star to his massive success as a songwriter-producer and his reincarnation as an ambitious rock artist, he creates compelling music no matter the style, and no matter the odds. He is a pivotal figure in Latin music, and we are thrilled to present him with the ASCAP Vanguard Award."
The ASCAP Latin Heritage Award is presented to music creators in recognition of their unique and enduring contributions to Latin music. Past recipients include: Alejandro Sanz, Franco de Vita, Armando Manzanero, Ricardo Arjona, Ednita Nazario, Olga Tañón, Gilberto Santa Rosa, The Fania All-Stars and Celia Cruz, among others.
The ASCAP Vanguard Award recognizes the impact of musical genres that help shape the future of American music. Other ASCAP Vanguard Award honorees include: Eduardo Cabra aka Visitante, Vico C, Kendrick Lamar, Beastie Boys, Taio Cruz, Diplo, Janelle Monáe, Santigold, Dua Lipa, St. Vincent, The Arcade Fire, The Strokes, Beck and Björk.
At the invitation-only dinner ASCAP will also recognize the 50 most performed Latin songs and the music of the most watched Latin TV programs of 2018. In addition, awards will be presented for Song of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Songwriter-Artist of the Year, Publisher of the Year and Independent Publisher of the Year.
Milly Quezada's musical inclinations developed in the streets of New York City's Washington Heights neighborhood where she formed the group Milly Jocelyn & Los Vecinos with her brother and sister. Their music would attract the growing Dominican community in Washington Heights and their distinctly feminist style of Merengue captured the hearts and imagination of their fans. In the '70s, '80s and '90s, songs including "Volvió Juanita," "La Guacherna," "Tengo," "Entre Tu Cuerpo y El Mio" and "Para Darte Mi Vida" would go on to become national and international hits. Led by her brother and musical arranger, Rafael Quezada, the "Queen of Merengue" traveled worldwide, leading the first group to bring live Dominican merengue to Japan and regularly touring countries such as Madrid, Spain, Central and South America and all over the Dominican diaspora.
Quezada later decided to embark on a solo career in Puerto Rico. The "Queen of Merengue" went on to receive four Latin Grammy Awards, Billboard Awards, Univision's Premio Lo Nuestro in 1998 as well as the Premio Soberano Award at the Premios Cassandra Awards in the Dominican Republic in 1997. Her well-known carnival song "La Guacherna," written by Esther Forero, is part of the Colombian Carnival of Barranquilla which is recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. Quezada has been recognized by both the Senate of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic as well as the Mayor's Office of New York City for her cultural contribution to the music of the Americas. Since the 1990s, Quezada has been either on tour or recording new music.
The life of Draco Rosa —from teen pop star to purveyor of poetic darkness, genius Latin-crossover pop songwriter to philanthropist and entrepreneur—has had many twists. While it's tempting to describe Rosa as enigmatic, it might be more accurate to describe him as legendary, having composed massive hits like "María," "La Copa de la Vida" and "Livin' la Vida Loca" for his one-time Menudo-mate Ricky Martin, and recording eclectic album masterpieces like Mad Love, Amor Vinit Omnia and Vagabundo, the latter an all-time rock-en-español cult classic. He's a multiple Grammy and Latin Grammy winner, inductee of the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame, a bilingual, bicultural poet, visual artist and explosive live performer.
His latest production, Monte Sagrado, was conceived while Draco was at something of a crossroads in his life. Having spent years in and out of doctors' care due to the onset of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, he decided to spend time healing, surrounded by his 100-acre tropical rainforest where his love for coffee and agriculture represented an escape from the chaos that was surrounding him at that moment, while his wife and sons were back in California. Although he was ecstatic about the way the rough tracks turned out, the process of putting together the album was interrupted by the devastating destruction of Hurricane María, which paralyzed Puerto Rico for months. Having lost 75 percent of his crops, including a thriving coffee cultivation business, Draco turned his mountain estate into a makeshift medical center staffed with 40 doctors and nurses. Through Vox Forte Alliance, his foundation to raise awareness and help patients through their stem cell compatibility and replacement process, he continues to do relief work in towns around the island.
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers of every kind of music. ASCAP's mission is to license and promote the music of its members and foreign affiliates, obtain fair compensation for the public performance of their works and to distribute the royalties that it collects based upon those performances. ASCAP members write the world's best-loved music and ASCAP has pioneered the efficient licensing of that music to hundreds of thousands of enterprises who use it to add value to their business - from bars, restaurants and retail, to radio, TV and cable, to Internet, mobile services and more. The ASCAP license offers an efficient solution for businesses to legally perform ASCAP music while respecting the right of songwriters and composers to be paid fairly. With more than 690,000 members representing more than 11.5 million copyrighted works, ASCAP is the worldwide leader in performance royalties, service and advocacy for songwriters and composers, and the only American performing rights organization (PRO) owned and governed by its writer and publisher members. Learn more and stay in touch at www.ascap.com, on Twitter and Instagram @ASCAP and on Facebook.