Legend Rubén Blades lived up to his iconic status when he took the stage after receiving the Latin Recording Academy 2021 Person of the Year Award.
His performance was preceded by a touching video highlighting his career accomplishments. Blades then launched into his performance dressed all in black. A fiery trumpet solo kicked off his song “Paula C,” which he sang to the backdrop of a cityscape background and orchestra. He accepted the Person of the Year Award, which was presented to him by Puerto Rican singer Residente, who delivered a heartfelt speech about Blades’ impact on the Latin music industry and how he considers him a father.
It was a big night for Blades. Along with the Person of the Year honor, he won two awards this year: Album of the Year for Salswing! and Best Salsa Album for Salsa Plus! Blades is no stranger to the awards show. He’s won nine Latin Grammys in his career, including Best Tropical Song in 2020 for “Canción Para Rubén” with Carlos Vives and Album of the Year and Best Salsa Album in 2017 for Salsa Big Band.
In April 2021, Blades released the 11-track Salswing!, which mixed salsa classics with Latin jazz standards. Blades and collaborator Roberto Delgado will start their eight-city tour with the album, kicking it off in Oakland on November 20th.