BILLBOARD HONORS RICARDO MONTANER WITH "SPIRIT OF HOPE" AWARD AT THE BILLBOARD LATIN MUSIC AWARDS ON TELEMUNDO
Miami, Florida, April 18, 2007 - The 2007 Billboard Latin Music Awards will honor singer and songwriter Ricardo Montaner with the Spirit of Hope award for his dedication and extraordinary humanitarian contributions through his two foundations, Hijos Del Sol and Ventana de los Cielos.
Montaner will be recognized during the much awaited awards ceremony, which takes place on Thursday, April 26th at Bank United Center in Coral Gables, Florida, and will be broadcast live by Telemundo at 7PM ET/PT.
Montaner donates a portion of his earnings to the two organizations he founded, Hijos del Sol and Ventana de los Cielos, which he created in order to help handicapped and disadvantaged children. The first, based in his beloved Venezuela, has, for the last 17 years, been dedicated to supporting projects that benefit children in Latin America. The second, Ventana de los Cielos, helps children with Down syndrome, autism, and cerebral palsy, from its Miami, FL headquarters. Montaner founded both organizations with his wife, Cuban/Venezuelan film producer Marlene Rodriguez Miranda, with whom he has five children, Alejandro, Hector, Ricardo Andres, Mauricio Sebastian and Eva Luna.
Through Hijos del Sol, the singer and composer supports various projects, such as vaccination campaigns, food distribution and aid for orphans in Venezuela as well as other nations in Latin America. This institution is financed with earnings from his performances, which are also utilized to create scholarships for low-income students, and to help organizations that assist the indigenous communities of Venezuela. Through Hijos del Sol, Montaner is part of ALAS (Association for Solidarity in Latin America), and he is currently working at the border between Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil, launching a worldwide immunization campaign with Argentine Vice President, Honorable Daniel Scioli, as well as UNICEF executives and other organizations from the entire continent.
Ventana de los Cielos was founded in 2005 with the objective of bringing a message of faith, hope and love to the children of South Florida, in the context of evangelistic teachings. This foundation works in the treatment of people with mental and physical handicaps, utilizing methods such as equestrian therapy, which uses the horse as a therapeutic instrument in a large range of health issues, such as different types of paralysis, Down syndrome, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Alzheimer,autism, and cerebral palsy, among others.
While finalists and eventual winners of the 2007 Billboard Latin Music
Awards are determined by performance on the Billboard charts, the winner of the Spirit of Hope award is decided by an editorial committee based solely on the merits in regards to artists\' humanitarian contributions. Previous recipients of the Spirit of Hope award include Shakira, Juan Luis Guerra, Maná, Ricky Martin, Olga Tañón, El General and Soraya.
Born to Argentine parents, Hector Eduardo Reglero Montaner - his full name - was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. At the age of seven his family relocated to Venezuela. There, Montaner formed rock and pop bands, where he was a drummer and singer. At the age of 17, a producer discovered him and shortly thereafter, Montaner was launched as a solo artist with the song "Mares" (1978). However, it wasn\'t until 10 years later, after several failed attempts, that he won the heart of many during a beauty contest in Venezuela. Since then he has recorded dozens of successful hit songs and has sold over 22 million records.
The awards show caps off the Billboard Latin Music Conference, the world\'s largest and longest-running Latin music gathering. Now in its
18th year, this seminal four-day event is being held from April 23-26 at the InterContinental Miami, and features educational sessions, captivating panel discussions with key industry players, artist panels with top recording acts, a superstar Q&A with Juanes, live artist showcases, networking events, and the Billboard Bash.