The flavor of Latin music has taken over the Las Vegas strip this week with the 16th annual Latin Grammys.
Kicking off the celebrations Wednesday night, the Person of the Year Gala will honor the internationally acclaimed and beloved Brazilian singer-songwriter Roberto Carlos.
“This week is shorter, but with a lot of emotions,” the 74-year-old tweeted earlier this week.
The Latin Recording Academy said they chose to recognize Carlos for his “important artistic and social contributions to Latin music.”
“To speak of Brazil is to speak of Roberto Carlos,” said Gabriel Abaroa Jr., President and CEO of the Latin Recording Academy. "His immense talent, passion and dedication to his art has made him one of the greatest voices and songwriters in Latin music. It is with great pride that we honor such a musical treasure and we look forward to celebrating his career and his indelible musical legacy."
Carlos lost his right leg when he was hit by a steam locomotive at age 6, but that did not stop him from pursuing a career that has spanned more than 55 years.
As a child, he learned to play guitar and piano from his mother and then at the Itapemirim Music Conservatory in Espirito Santo, Brazil.
At the age of 9 he performed for the first time at a children’s show by Radio Cachoeiro, taking home the first prize.
“I was very nervous, yet very happy to be able to sing on the radio. I got a lot of candies, which was the prize for the kids who'd sing there. It was a beautiful day," he recalled in his book “Roberto Carlos Up Close” by Paulo Cesar de Araujo.
In the 1950 and 1960s, Carlos rose to stardom using the influence of Elvis Presley and the rock revolution – which garnered him the nickname “O Rei” (The King). However, in the 70s and 80s Carlos established himself as one of the most prolific romantic singer-songwriters in Latin America, with chart-topping hits like “Detalles,” “Emociones”, “Amigo” and “Lady Laura.”
He has gone on to amass 500 accredited songs and is the only Brazilian singer to sell more records than The Beatles or Presley in Latin America.
Over the decades Carlos has recorded in Spanish, Italian, English and French, which resulted in huge international crossover success.
The 2015 Person of the Year Gala honoring Carlos will be at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center is Las Vegas with performances by Julieta Venegas, Romeo Santos, Carlos Vives, Alejandro Sanz, Jesse & Joy and Dionne Warwick.
The 16th Annual Latin Grammys will take place on Thursday night and will air live on Univision from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas at 8 p.m. EST.
It will feature Ricky Martin, Fifth Harmony, Mana, Nicky Jam, Natalia Lafourcade, Juan Luis Guerra, J Balvin, Bomba Estereo with Will Smith, among others. Roberto Carlos is also slated to perform.