Ana Bárbara is celebrating a history-making win…
The 52-year-old Mexican singer, actress, television personality and model became the first regional Mexican songwriter to ever receive a BMI Icon Award.
Ana Barbara received the award at the BMI Latin Awards, which took place on March 21 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles.
“As an iconic female Regional Mexican artist, whose body of work continues to be an indomitable inspiration for the creative community, we’re thrilled to name Ana Bárbara a BMI Icon,” Gonzalez said in a statement. “Dubbed as La Reina Grupera, she has forged a career that spans decades. Her artistic achievements have paved the way for the next generation of female songwriters in the genre and earned the respect of the industry at large as one of the most groundbreaking songwriters of all time. For that, we salute Ana as a true icon and look forward to celebrating all our top music creators behind some of today’s most-performed Latin songs.”
The “Bandido” singer joins an elite group of artists who have received BMI’s highest honor including Carlos Santana, Gloria Estefan, Juan Luis Guerra, Los Tigres Del Norte and Los Lobos, among others. Throughout her 30-year career — which she kicked off in the early ’90s with her self-titled debut album in 1994 — Ana Bárbara has a total of 16 entries on Billboard‘s Hot Latin Songs, four of those are top 10 hits including “La Trampa” and “Me Asusta Pero Me Gusta.” On the Regional Mexican Airplay tally, she’s entered 21 songs, five of which hit the top 10.
Edgar Barrera, the prolific songwriter who seamlessly navigates between genres, was given the first ever Impact award for his remarkable presence and influence across the charts of many genres.
The evening — hosted by BMI President/CEO Mike O’Neill and BMI Vice President, Creative, Latin Jesus Gonzalez — was also evening of encores. Tainy won the contemporary songwriter of the year award for the second year in a row, and Horacio Palencia also repeated his regional Mexican songwriter of the year award, this time tying with Barrera.
Sony Music Publishing, home to Tainy and Barrera, took home the contemporary Latin publisher of the year award, marking the seventh time in 10 years that it does so.
Universal Music Publishing Group won Regional Mexican publisher of the year, and the smash “Pepas” — performed by Farruko and written by Víctor Cardenas VIIC, IAMCHINO, Axel Quezada “Ghetto” and Keriel K4G Quiróz — was named contemporary Latin song of the year. “Jugaste y Sufrí” by Daniel Balderrama Espinoza won the Regional Mexican song of the year.
But the belle of the ball was undoubtedly Aba Bárbara. The Mexican singer, resplendent in a shimmering dress with a pink feathered skirt, delivered a set of her own compositions, backed by a her band and ending with “Lo Busqué,” during which she accompanied herself on guitar. The performance was a reminder of just how prolific Ana Bárbara has been in her 30-year career, placing 16 hits on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart and 14 on the Regional Mexican Airplay chart.
“Songwriting was something I didn’t always speak about,” Bárbara told Billboard earlier. “I was always shy about my songwriting, from the time I wrote [her first major hit] ‘Quise Olvidar,’ because composing wasn’t common among women. Now, I believe in all my songs, and I believe they’re all for me.”
Her inspirations, said Ana Bárbara, were the greats of Mexican music, including José Alfredo Jiménez; Joan Sebastian and Marco Antonio Solís, who both mentored her; and Ana Gabriel, also a singer and composer.
Now, Gabriel is also inspiring a new generation, as evidenced by the opening number of the night, a tribute to her music performed by young Mexican singers Adriana Ríos, Alisun Solís, Angélica Gallegos and Lupita Infante.