The Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc. is a unique, multinational membership-based association composed of music industry professionals, musicians, producers, engineers and other creative and technical recording professionals who are dedicated to improving the quality of life and the cultural condition for Latin music and its makers both inside and outside the United States. Established in 1997, The Latin Recording Academy is the first international venture launched by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc., representing a vibrant and passionate creative community.
Headquartered in Miami, The Latin Recording Academy's members include music professionals in Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking communities from around the world. The Latin Academy operates as a virtual meeting place for its membership and the organization is dedicated year-round to strengthening this cultural community via networking opportunities and educational outreach.
In mid-2002 The Latin Recording Academy elected its first independent Board of Trustees, a group of highly motivated and well-regarded professionals from the Latin music world who are shepherding the organization through its next stages of growth. The new Board has driven the organization’s efforts in staging the 4th and 5th Annual Latin GRAMMY events. The Latin GRAMMY Awards aim to recognize artistic and technical achievement, not sales figures or chart positions, with the winners determined by the votes of their peers — the qualified voting members of The Latin Recording Academy.
A main purpose of the Latin GRAMMY Awards is to recognize excellence and create a greater public awareness of the cultural diversity of Latin recording artists and creators, both domestically and internationally. The Latin GRAMMY nominees and winners are chosen via the same exacting process as the GRAMMY Awards, with two subtle but important differences: The membership is international, and the releases eligible for awards are issued both inside and outside the United States.
The Latin GRAMMY Awards, which is the first prime-time English-, Spanish- and Portuguese-language telecast on U.S. television, is arguably the most high-profile celebration of Latin culture ever on the domestic airwaves. The show also has an impact in more than 100 international markets, focusing millions of eyes and ears on Latin music.
In August 2004, another signature Latin Academy event made history when the internationally renowned recording artist Carlos Santana was honored as the 2004 Latin Recording Academy Person Of The Year. The honor recognized Santana's professional, cultural and social accomplishments. The star-studded tribute dinner and concert took place at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. Organized in partnership with the MusiCares Foundation, Carlos Santana became the fifth Latin Recording Academy Person Of The Year honoree. Previous honorees have been Emilio Estefan Jr., Vicente Fernández, Gilberto Gil, and Julio Iglesias.
Creating yet another signature event series, The Latin Recording Academy expanded its nation-wide Latin GRAMMY Street Parties into an extremely successful second year, bringing the music and brand to the top U.S. Hispanic markets during the month of August. Latin GRAMMY Street Parties came to Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, New York and Miami, taking the Latin GRAMMY experience to the streets prior to the telecast of the 5th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards on Sept. 1 in Los Angeles.
The Latin Recording Academy's educational outreach programs have grown to include the e-Latin GRAMMY Carreras Y Música events, which have reached more than 10,000 high school age participants in at least 11 countries. Using interactive satellite technology, this Latin Recording Academy program educates students about the Latin recording industry, allowing them to discuss with musicians and members of the music industry what it's like to work in the business and what it takes to be successful in the field. This is in addition to the well-established domestic and international Latin GRAMMY education-related events that took place in Buenos Aires, Los Angeles and Miami in 2004.
The active and selfless participation of the numerous Latin Recording Academy members in countries around the world ensures that our programs and activities are current and relevant to the industry, while it also guarantees the integrity of the awards process as a peer honor that celebrates the achievements of all styles and genres of Latin music. The Latin Recording Academy and its members have accomplished much during the organization's short life, but this is a work in progress. Through the efforts of its staff and volunteer leadership this organization will continue to grow by strengthening its position as the premiere international Latin music awards and by becoming the industry’s most important resource for those interested in showing their support for Latin music and its makers. This is already happening as journalists, corporate sponsors, government and private organizations all reach out to the organization for direction, support and leadership.