Ten years ago, Colombian music executive Diana Montes created the Premios Heat (Heat Latin Music Awards) brand with the mission to not only support and develop up-and-coming Latin artists but also offer a platform where their hard work is recognized.
The awards show officially launched in 2015 via the HTV and TBS networks and counted on the support of artists such as Juanes, Juan Luis Guerra, Nicky Jam and a then-rising J Balvin. “It was beautiful because truthfully, Premios Heat was born big already,” Montes, who has a 25-year career in music, tells Billboard.
Now, its eighth edition airing from Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic on Thursday, June 8, via HTV and TNT, the 2023 Heat Latin Music Awards is led by six-time nominees Karol G, Feid and Bad Bunny, followed by five-time nominee El Alfa and, with four nominations each, Romeo Santos and Bizarrap. Confirmed performers include El Alfa, Mau y Ricky, Greeicy, Mario Bautista, Grupo Niche and many more.
But beyond an awards show — which focuses on talent charting in Latin America as opposed to the United States — the Premios Heat brand has a festival franchise and “La Nueva Cepa,” a new partnership with Warner Music Latin and hitmaker Master Chris, to help promote newcomers making a name for themselves in their countries, as they’ve done in the past with Ryan Castro, Anitta, Yahaira Plasencia and Dekko.
“We are more than an award,” says Montes. “We are a television platform, and we see ourselves developing artists as a label in the future.”
In the below Q&A, Montes takes us more in-depth into the Heat Latin Music Awards:
Can you briefly explain what Premios Heat is and why are they held on the beach?
It’s an experience. The musical platform where you can make a real connection—the beach gives us that feeling of closeness. What was clear to me when we did the treatment of the awards is that I did not want to do them in the United States for various reasons beginning with we did not have the resources to compete with the larger awards show. Initially, we spoke with Cartagena de Indias but for some reason, we arrived in Cap Cana, and we’ve been hosting the awards here for nine years now. That’s the difference from a traditional award, here you see everyone working and networking but in a bathing suit and with a beer in hand.
How do you determine the nominees for each awards season?
They were initially chosen by the artists that rotated on HTV. Right now it is a mix of HTV, LosHeat.TV—our new platform that in its second year debuted as the best platform in Latin America, following TikTok—and what we see in the Latin American regions. We visit many countries. We have very young people monetizing the local charts and social media in countries like Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic.
The Heat Latin Music Awards has stood out for discovering, supporting and promoting emerging talents such as J Balvin, Karol G, Bad Bunny and many more: Which artist of the new generation do you see possibly reaching that superstar status?
We have Dekko here, who won the 2022 musical promise award. I feel that he is already doing a crossover. I see a very strong Dayanara Peralta from Ecuador, with impressive numbers. I see Mar Rendon and an ADSO doing very interesting things. I see a Young Miko, who carries a very strong movement. We have seen the musical movement in Latin America very closely and the important thing for us is not to look at what’s sounding or trending in the U.S. but rather what’s happening in Peru? What’s happening in Colombia? I feel that these artists need a platform and we have the vision to see that great talent.
Can you elaborate a bit more on the “La Nueva Cepa” initiative and its importance?
It’s an idea we’ve been around for a long time and basically celebrates Master Chris’ 25 years as a music producer. Instead of making a record with artists he has produced like Alexis y Fido, Greeicy, and J Balvin, he wanted to follow the Heat Awards philosophy and discover the talent that exists in Latin America. We are not a record label but on our platform, we have developed many talents. With this initiative, what we are going to do is record them, make videos for them, and put them on HTV.