Banner image for DIY Musiciam Blog Latin Grammy recap

CD Baby artists make a huge showing at the Latin Grammys.

Last year, CD Baby celebrated 20 years of helping independent musicians achieve their dreams. This November, another venerable institution hit the two-decade mark: the Latin Grammys held its 20th ceremony recognizing excellence in the fields of Spanish and Portuguese-language music. From the very start, CD Baby has celebrated and appreciated the huge number of Latin artists who choose to distribute with us, and we’ve been especially proud of their success in past Grammy ceremonies. The 2019 awards show saw CD Baby artists continue to represent the independent spirit we’ve championed for over 20 years. You’ll find helpful advice and inspiration from a few of the CD Baby artists who were nominated at the end of this recap, but first, the festivities!

The 20th annual Latin Grammys ceremony packed an impressive number of heavy-hitters to properly celebrate such a major anniversary. Hosts Ricky Martin, Roselyn Sánchez and Paz Vega led a night that brought together many generations of the Latin music scene, as well as living legends like Vicente Fernández. Fernández made history when he was joined at onstage by his son and grandson, the musical duo Alejandro e Alex Jr.

Alicia Keys, Miguel, Pedro Capó and Farruko joined forces to perform the newly awarded Song of the Year “Calma.” 

Of the 18 CD Baby artists nominated for awards this year, four took home a trophy. Although the sentiment all around was of a general victory for the independent artist community, here are the names of the official winners of the night:

Gustavo Casenave – Balance – Best instrumental Album

Gustavo is a Uruguayan pianist and composer based in New York City.

He is a Latin Grammy award-winner and five- time Latin Grammy Nominee.


Cover art for Gustavo Casenave – Balance


Gustavo Casenave
Casenave and his wife at the CD Baby happy hour party

Hermeto Pascoal – Hermeto Pascoal e Sua Visão Original do Forró – Best Portugese Language Roots Album

For the second year in a row, the Brazilian multiinstrumentalist and icon of the Brazilian music scene, took home a golden gramophone.

Cover art for Hermeto Pascoal – Hermeto Pascoal e Sua Visão Original do Forró

Samuel Torres y La Nueva Filamornía – Regreso – Best Classical Album

Torres was born September 4, 1976 in Colombia’s bustling capital city of Bogotá. In 2006, Torres released Skin Tones, his debut recording as a leader and an album that quickly solidified his reputation as one of the most creative percussionists in Latin jazz today.

Cover art for Samuel Torres y La Nueva Filamornía – Regreso

Samuel Torres receives his Grammy and gives his acceptance speech.

Juan Delgado – Todo Pasa – Best Spanish Christian Album

Juan was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. At 18 years old, he suffered from semi-hemorrhagic dengue fever during a vacation and this circumstance was fundamental in his personal and spiritual life.

Cover art for Juan Delgado – Todo Pasa

Juan Delgado receives his Grammy and gives his acceptance speech.

We spoke with two of our artists who were nominated for this year’s Latin Grammy. We wanted to know a little bit more about their journey and feelings about this achievement.


Sonia de los Santos, whose album ¡Alegría! was nominated for Best Children’s Album:

Sonia left Monterrey, Mexico 14 years ago to try her luck in New York city. With enough to survive for just a month.

“The road has been curvy and uphill sometimes, especially in the beginning, but I’ve had the luck of meeting wonderful people along the way that became family, mentors and friends that have looked out for me year after year.”

When the nominations were announced, Sonia didn’t have access to her phone. The big surprise came when she finally was able to check her messages.

” I looked at it and had many messages and calls from friends and colleagues congratulating me. My heart was immediately filled with joy, and I told my friend Juana who was with me that day. We hugged, laughed, cried a little bit, and walked to the NYC subway.

Like many other independent artists, at some point in her early years, Sonia felt this nomination was something impossible to achieve.

“I grew up wanting to be a singer and I’ve always known about these awards, but they felt like something that was so far away and I honestly had no idea how to even be considered for them. I guess I knew this could be possible one day, but as a young musician I never imagined that the life and musical choices I was making would lead me to get a Latin Grammy nomination.”

What was her inspiration to keep going when having a hard time? 

“I’ve never really wanted to give up, but I do still have days when I lose perspective. When that happens, all I have to do is look back and start counting my blessings. My biggest inspiration comes from seeing children react to our music live and I collect these moments as little treasures.”


Manuel Garcia Orozco was nominated for Best Recording Package in both US and Latin Grammys for his work on Anónimas & Resilientes (Voces del Bullerengue):

We asked Manuel about his feelings when he received the news about the nominations.

It is such an honor as the awards’ prestige has put some of these artists on the map. It is also a crucial political scenario as we continuously struggle with resistance from the traditional media to give these musicians some spotlight. The nominations blur boundaries and allow these voices to get heard. Bullerengue is an Afro-descendant tradition led and preserved by elderly women who have resisted the oppressive social order through singing. So, international recognitions are essential to make these artists proud as their records gain worldwide visibility.”

We also asked Manuel what inspired him to not give up.

We are in the periphery-of the periphery-of the music industry. I deal with rejection all the time. Printing and publishing every album is still tricky. Countless times have I approached various (bigger) indie labels with my records only to find straight negative answers. Then, I keep pushing on my own with help from friends and family to put them out. Gladly, the payoff is the pride of incredible performers, the happiness of our audiences and the contribution to the recording history of Bullerengue, a genre with a scant discography.” 

A huge congratulations from everyone at CD Baby to all of this year’s winners and nominees. You’re the reason why we do this. Keep the independent spirit alive!

What inspires you not to give up? Tell us about it in the comments below.