Spanish singer/songwriter Joan Manuel Serrat has been named the 2014 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year and will be celebrated during a gala on Nov. 19 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The Barcelona-born Serrat started playing music as a teen as he learned the craft both as a songwriter and performer. In 1965, he landed a record deal after singing on the Spanish radio show Radioscope.
Serrat then released two EPs and a full-length debut album and went on to perform live on stage at the Palau de la Música Catalana. That showcase propelled him to being one of the pioneers of the Nova Cançó movement in Spain’s Catalonian region.
Known as a politically outspoken performer, Serrat once refused to follow dictator Francisco Franco’s orders to perform a song in Spanish instead of Catalan during the Eurovision song contest in the late ’60s. He was banned from performing in Spanish media for five years. In the ’70s, he went into a self-imposed exile in Mexico after speaking out against the Franco dictatorship. He did not return to Spain until after Franco’s death in 1975.
“As a profound and brilliant songwriter, a true poet in Spanish and Catalan and a sensational performer, Joan Manuel Serrat’s lyrical style and magnificent talent make him a treasured and timeless musical figure,” said Gabriel Abaroa Jr., president/CEO of the Latin Recording Academy. “Through his talent, artistry, passion, and dedication to his craft, his work has spoken to music fans all over. It is a privilege to recognize a man with such an illustrious and socially conscious career, and we look forward to celebrating his creativity and legacy.”
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