Juan Gabriel named Person of Year

Mexican singer donates concert proceeds to foster homes

Legendary singer-songwriter Juan Gabriel has been named the Latin Recording Academy's 2009 Person of the Year. Gabriel, whose songs are part of the Latin music canon, will be honored at a black-tie gala Nov. 4 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, site of the 10th annual Latin Grammys the following evening.

Gabriel's career has spanned more than three decades and countless hits, spanning pop, mariachi, ballads, rancheras and everything in between.

Gabriel's songs have been covered by artists as diverse as Marc Anthony, Mana, Lucia Mendez and Ana Gabriel. In addition to being a prolific performer and songwriter, Juan Gabriel produced more than a hundred albums for artists including Paul Anka and Rocio Durcal.

As with other Persons of the Year, Gabriel is also being honored for his philanthropic work, particularly his support for orphaned children. Gabriel, who spent part of his childhood in an orphanage, donates proceeds from his concerts to foster homes. In 1987, he founded Semjase, an orphanage/music school that serves about 120 children in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Past Latin Recording Academy Persons of the Year have included Gloria Estefan, Juan Luis Guerra, Julio Iglesias, Gilberto Gil, Ricky Martin, and Carlos Santana.