Espinoza Paz wins top songwriting honor

Gloria Estefan inducted as BMI Icon

MIAMI -- Young singer/songwriter Espinoza Paz received his second consecutive Latin Songwriter of the Year award at the 16th annual BMI Latin Music Awards, celebrated March 12 at the Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla. Paz, who has also launched a successful solo career, had a total of six songs in BMI's most-performed list.

The Song of the Year honor went to "A Ti Si Puedo Decirte," published by Siempre Music and penned by writer Javier Sanroman. The song was recorded by El Chapo de Sinaloa. The Latin Publisher of the Year honor went to Editora Arpa Musical, which had eight songs among BMI's most-performed list, including those penned by its author Espinoza Paz.

The special honoree of the evening was Gloria Estefan, who was named BMI Icon, an honor bestowed on "creators who have had a unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers." Estefan, whose catalog boasts 22 BMI Latin and Pop Awards and 11 BMI Million-Air Awards, joins a list of past Latin honorees that includes Gustavo Santaolalla and Juan Luis Guerra.

Estefan was feted by an all-star musical tribute featuring Elvis Crespo, Jon Secada, Pitbull, Arthur Hanlon, Fanny Lu, Angeles Ochoa, Jorge Villamizar and Anthony Federov, who performed some of her greatest hits.

The BMI Latin Music Awards celebrate the writers and publishers of the past year's 50 most-performed songs on U.S. radio and television. The leading songwriter on the list was Paz, whose songs have left a mark on a new generation of regional Mexican performers, including Duelo (who recorded "Olvidame Tu").