J Balvin has everything to gain at this year’s Latin Grammy Awards.
The Colombian reggaeton star leads all nominees ahead of Thursday’s ceremony with eight nods, including two for record of the year, one for album of the year and another for his hit version of “Mi gente” with Willy William and featuring Beyonce.
Balvin has two nominations for record of the year, for “Mi Gente” with William and “X” with Nicky Jam, and an album of the year nod for “Vibras,” a production he decided to do entirely in Spanish after having previously worked with American stars including Cardi B and Liam Payne. His nomination with Beyonce is for best urban fusion/performance. He will also compete for best urban music album for “Vibras.”
Spanish sensation Rosalia follows with five nominations. Her flamenco and trap hit “Malamente” is up for record and song of the year, as well as best urban fusion/performance, best alternative song and best short form music video.
Both will be among the many performers of the night, which also include Marc Anthony, Bad Bunny, Jorge Drexler, Karol G, Mon Laferte, Natalia Lafourcade, Will Smith, Anitta, Nicky Jam, Steve Aoki and Mexican rock band Mana, honored Wednesday as the Latin Recording Academy’s Person of the Year.
For album of the year, Balvin will compete with an eclectic group of established and rising artists that includes Pablo Alboran (”Prometo”), Chico Buarque (”Caravanas”), Jorge Drexler (”Salvavidas de hielo”), El David Aguilar (”Siguiente”), Kany Garcia (”Soy yo”), Natalia Lafourcade (”Musas, un homenaje al folclore latinoamericano en nanos de Los Macorinos, Vol. 2”), Luis Miguel (”¡Mexico por siempre!”), Monsieur Perine (”Encanto tropical”) and Rozalen (”Cuando el rio suena…”).
“It’s so flattering, and it’s so surprising,” Drexler told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “It’s a very experimental record. All the percussions of the record were made using only one instrument — the guitar — and we focused in extracting all the different kinds of sounds from one instrument only… It was a hard task and I was surprised that it had such a warm welcoming by the academy.”
Those with four nominations include singer-songwriters Kany Garcia and Natalia Lafourcade, while Pablo Alboran and Nicky Jam, among others, got three each.
Ten newcomers are competing for the coveted Latin Grammy for best new artist. They are Angela Aguilar, Anaadi, El David Aguilar, Alex Ferreira, Karol G, Los Petitfellas, Nana Mendoza, Christian Nodal, Claudia Prieto and Benjamin Walker.
The 19th Latin Grammys will be aired live starting at 8 p.m. EST on Univision from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.