Puerto Rican star José Feliciano will add to his list of honors the first Billboard Legend Award that will be awarded to him at the 2022 Billboard Latin Music Awards.
The gala will be broadcast live on Telemundo from the Watsco Center in Miami on Thursday, September 29 at 7 p.m. (2300 GMT). The ceremony will also be simulcast on the Universo channel, the Peacock streaming service, the Telemundo app, and in Latin America and the Caribbean on Telemundo Internacional.
Feliciano, who throughout his career has stood out for fusing Latin genres such as salsa, bolero, bachata and ballads with soul, jazz and rock, will be the first artist to receive the Billboard Legend Award for artists with long and extraordinary careers in the who have made valuable contributions to music, the gala organizers said on Wednesday.
Jose Feliciano, whose full name is José Monserrate Feliciano García, has more than 60 years of experience and has previously been awarded seven Grammys, one Latin Grammy and the Award for Musical Excellence from the Latin Recording Academy. With an inimitable style, he is one of the first Latin artists to successfully enter the Anglo market, opening the doors to new generations of musicians.
He is considered a virtuoso of the Spanish guitar and with his powerful and unmistakable voice he created one of the most enduring songs of the year-end season “Merry Christmas”, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year and is one of the most listened to in the world during the season.
Feliciano is a prolific composer, having recorded more than 60 albums and selling some 50 million copies. Other of his successes are his version of “Light My Fire”, “What will it be”, “I spend my life thinking” and “To say goodbye”.
He was born in Lares, Puerto Rico, in 1945 and settled with his family in New York five years later. He started out playing concertina and accordion, then briefly studied guitar with Harold Morris. At the age of 17 he was already playing in clubs in Greenwich Village, where young people like Bob Dylan and Joan Báez also performed. He recorded his first album in 1964 when he was 19 years old and at 22 he was already a sensation. Throughout his career he has obtained 45 gold and platinum records.
Feliciano, who was born blind, has shared the stage with figures such as Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Barry Manilow, Paul Simon and Michael Jackson. He has also appeared before Presidents Ronald Reagan and François Mitterrand and Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis. He is due to release an album at the end of the year.
As part of the celebrations for Feliciano, Peacock will premiere the documentary “José Feliciano – Behind This Guitar” on September 29, the same day as the Billboard Latin Music Awards. The documentary is produced and directed by Helen Murphy, Frank Licari and co-director Khoa Le, under the executive production of Emilio and Gloria Estefan, Carlos Santana and Rudy Pérez. It relates the more than 60 years of artistic career of the interpreter.
The Billboard Latin Music Awards coincide with Billboard Latin Music Week, which returns to Miami from September 26 to October 1 celebrating Latin music, culture and entertainment throughout the week with exclusive performances, unique conversations , workshops, events and experiences for fans.