Marc Anthony was honored Wednesday at the Latin Grammys — and celebrated by bringing the crowd to its feet.
The Latin Grammys named the 48-year-old salsa singer its Person of the Year. It was in recognition of his lifetime achievement. It also threw a gala for him on the eve of the main award ceremony in Las Vegas.
All for Anthony
Anthony’s voice cracked with emotion as his eyes watered. No fewer than 22 artistes took to the stage to cerebrate with him.
“From the bottom of my heart, I tell you, my colleagues and friends, that we have lived through so many things over the past 30 years,” he said.
“To be up here with so many people that I admire is an honor and a pleasure and I feel more alive than ever,” he said.
“They told me I didn’t have to speak,” he said. “I want to sing — that’s my thing.”
Time to sing
And that is what he did, grabbing the microphone and leading a crowd of 1,400 — including some of the greatest names in Latin music — in dancing, starting with his song “Vivir Mi Vida,” a cover of a track by Algerian singer Khaled.
Anthony was born in New York to Puerto Rican parents. He joined a list of top Latin stars to be honored as Person of the Year. Previous winners include Roberto Carlos, Juan Manuel Serrat and Shakira.
Ricky Martin presented the award to Anthony. He recalled how his fellow Puerto Rican came to Florida to produce Menudo, the boy band that launched Martin’s career.
“Ever since then there has been a chemistry,” Martin said. “I still take with me to the studio everything that you taught me — your passion, your honesty and your delivery.”
Stars who took to the stage included Laura Pausini and Carlos Vives who together sang “El Cantante” by Hector Lavoe, the late salsa singer whom Anthony played on the big screen.
Anthony’s father named him after the Mexican singing great Marco Antonio Muniz, leading the younger star to change his name to avoid confusion.
At age seven, he asked to go to a music school in East Harlem. Then, in 1992, after recording his first album, he scored a break as he opened for Tito Puente at Madison Square Garden.
“I never thought I was going to be singing in Spanish,” he said.
Anthony, who has won seven mainstream Grammys, is also known to the general public as the ex-husband of Jennifer Lopez.