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Colombia's Juanes Tops Latin Grammys Nominations

Colombian rock artist Juanes was nominatedTuesday for six Latin Grammy awards, including record of the year, album of the year, song of the year and best new artist, the Latin Recording Academy announced.

The 27-year-old artist “was stunned, those guys kept saying my name again and again.”

Juanes began his music career with a band in Colombia 15 years ago. Even though he never considered giving up, the most trying part of his journey to success was having patience, he told reporters after the announcements.

Another strong contender in the Sept. 11 awards in Miami will be Spanish artist Alejandro Sanz, who received five nominations – for record of the year, album of the year and song of the year. Sanz also was nominated for best male pop vocal.

The singer/songwriter, whose wife is expecting their first child any day, was on tour in Spain and could not be in Miami for the nominations.

“I wasn’t expecting anything because I didn’t want to have any illusions of being nominated,” he told Reuters by telephone, speaking through his publicist and translator.

Pop sensation Christina Aguilera got two nominations including best record of the year for “Pero Me Acuerdo De Ti” (“But I remember you”).

The nominees were read by a group of Latin artists including Alejandro Lerner from Argentina, who was nominated for best songwriter and later joked that the hardest part of the day was reading Portuguese.


Also announcing Grammy contenders were Jon Secada, Emilio Estefan and heart-throb Carlos Ponce at a ceremony launching an event that Miami has been eagerly looking forward to as a chance to hone its reputation as a glitzy gateway to Latin America and a leading center of Latin music.

Last year’s first Latin Grammy awards were held in Los Angeles. Miami, home to recording icons Ricky Martin, Julio Iglesias and Gloria Estefan and Latin American headquarters of Sony Music and MTV and scores of other music labels, missed out largely because of the city’s anti-Cuba policies and because of past protests by Cuban American exiles against Cuban artists who have occasionally performed in the city.

Officials of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences could not persuade local officials to sidestep a Miami-Dade County ordinance that prohibited them from doing business with any company that dealt with communist Cuba.

The ordinance was later dropped and influential politicians in the city had a change of heart this year about hosting the Latin Grammys, not least because of the economic benefits, and mounted a vigorous lobbying campaign.

The turnaround in the community was illustrated when National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences President Michael Greene said that Cuban American National Foundation Chairman Jorge Mas Santos would be a “calming force” of the politics of South Florida. Mas was a key figure in turning around the previous Cuban exile opposition to the Latin Grammys coming to Miami.

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