Since the 1980s, the city of Miami has been synonymous with fashion, art deco and, of course, Latin music.
On Thursday, Variety and CN Bank hosted the inaugural Miami Entertainment Town breakfast — an event celebrating The Magic City’s irrefutable influence over the entertainment and music industry. The Legends and Groundbreakers award was given to Miami’s most notable musical pioneers — Gloria and Emilio Estefan — who helped put Miami on the map with the revolutionary stylings of their Miami Sound Machine.
In her acceptance speech, Gloria Estefan mused tales of the city, “Even as a little kid, I knew that one day someone would realize the gem that is Miami Beach,” she said.
Emilio Estefan added, “One of the things that I’m proud [of] is to see you guys — The next generation to be proud of where [they] come from, creating the new moves of what is happening in the music business. For us it was difficult…before somebody used to tell you, you have to take the congas out, take the tumbao out, take your last name out — and we didn’t do that.”
Variety’s executive editor of music, Shirley Halperin, hosted the morning’s first panel discussion with a few of Miami’s brightest — most of whom were featured in Variety‘s Miami Entertainment Impact Report.
On the panel were Bruno del Granado, head of the global Latin music touring group for CAA; Adrian Harley, head of music label partnerships LATAM & U.S. Latin for Meta; Romina Andrea Magorno, principal for Imagine It Media Public Relations; and Tainy, producer, artist and songwriter.
Del Granado, who reps major clients such as Residente, Luis Fonsi, Ricky Martin and Emilio Estefan, discussed the changing landscape of the Latin music industry. Where it was once common to have Latin artists record their songs in both English and Spanish in order to reach both markets individually, Del Granado said, “The most important thing now is you don’t have to sing in English anymore. In order for Ricky to have a shot in the U.S., he had to sing in English,” Del Granado recalled.
Tainy chimed in saying, “To be living in a moment in time where you can do as much and can be as great, just by doing something that’s true to you, to your language, to your ethnicity — I think that’s something incredible.”
He continued, “We no longer have that gap where we are required to do something or be something that we are not just to be able to get to that next level.”
Magorno, principal for Imagine It Media Public Relations, pointed to the growing purchasing power and global reach of the Latin market. “The mass consumption is still the U.S. Latin consumer. They’re consuming in both languages, but they’re listening to music in Spanish,” Magorno said.
During the pandemic, Latin artists were some of the first to announce they were going back on the road — most notably, Bad Bunny, whose “El Último Tour Del Mundo” has become the highest-grossing tour by a Latin artist in Billboard’s box office history, with $116.8 million gross income and 575,000 tickets sold.
“Ricky and Enrique had the highest-grossing Latin tour of last year as we speak right now, Maluma is selling out arenas all over Europe and Los Bukis broke stadium records last year. Gabriel Iglesias is the first comedian ever to sell out two nights at Dodgers stadium,” Del Granado said. “There’s 62 million of us here. 450 [million] down in Latin America. So touring is just gonna keep growing eventually for the next few years in the Latin space.”
Shortly after the panel ended, Rodrigo Nieto, vice president and team leader of entertainment banking for CN Bank in Miami, started his conversation with Nelson Albareda, CEO of Loud and Live.
Nelson pointed out the lack of Latin access to capital and financial education. On the touring front, he said, “There is a lack of venues. We ourselves are looking right now at two different projects for venue development. We need those small incubators and those small venues, which lead to tomorrow’s artists.”
To conclude the event, the Mayor of Miami Beach, Dan Gilbert, presented Variety‘s Legends and Groundbreakers award to Emilio and Gloria Estefan. “I’m really the luckiest mayor in the world because the Estefans live in my city,” said Gilbert before handing off the award.
The couple took to the podium to thank their guests and the city of Miami.
“I know that at the beginning, people thought, you know, that’ll never work. You’re too Latin for the Americans. You’re too American for the Latins. Well, that’s who we are. We are that mix,” Gloria Estefan said through a smile.
The Estefans said their closing statements and before walking off the stage Gloria Estefan graciously boasted, “And by the way — I still remember the first time we were ever in Variety. I go, ‘We’re in. Yay! We’ve made it!’”
*City National Bank, which does business in Miami and the state of Florida as CN Bank