Pop Songwriters Are Winners in Mexico City

Allen Bush
October 15, 2009
Berklee Canta en Español grand-prize winners Daniel Dayz, left, and Joel Waldman.
From left: Benny Ibarra, Tommy Torres, Motel's Rodrigo Davila, Alexander Acha, and Mane de la Parra holding their distinguished alumni awards after a press conference at the W Hotel in Mexico City.
Photo Tony Francois
Photo Tony Francois

Berklee Canta en Español, the Spanish-language songwriting contest sponsored by Berklee College of Music and SGAE, ended, unexpectedly, in a tie. Daniel Dayz, of Mexico City, and Joel Waldman, from Bogotá, Colombia, emerged as the grand prize winners from among six contestants who were either Berklee alumni or students. The group performed their songs in front of a panel of judges in a concert at the Lunario of the National Auditorium in Mexico City on October 7, 2009. 

The winners will each receive a fully produced music video for broadcast on Televisa, the largest media company in the Spanish-speaking world, and on MySpace Latino. Their performances will also appear in a television broadcast of the concert to 60 countries on Televisa's music channel, Telehit, on November 22 and 29, and again in December.

Dayz's award-winning song, "Aunque Falte el Aire," is an up-tempo pop/rock track with a chorus that sticks long after the song is over. One judge called it "a hit." Fans in the front row wore shirts adorned with Dayz's image and gave their hero unrestrained feedback throughout the performance.

Waldman also had a large cheering section down front as he performed "Nada es Accidental." The judges said that his easy-listening ballad "had great writing and arranging" and that it was "different from anything in the current pop music market."

Other alumni contestants who performed were Rique Colon, from San Juan, Puerto Rico; Cristal Marie, from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; the band Pop Filter, of Mexico City; and current Berklee student Juliana Ronderos, of Bogotá, Colombia.

Judging and critiquing the finalists were Alejandro Abaroa, Warner Music Mexico's director of A&R; Ana Villacorta, general director of Movistar International Record Label; and singer/songwriter Sole Gimenez

The concert also included performances by Berklee alumni who are among the most prominent of Latin America's rising pop stars: Benny Ibarra, Tommy Torres, Alexander Acha, Mane de la Parra, and rock band Motel. Berklee trustee Ann Kreis and Berklee Canta en Español executive producer Javier Samayoa presented them with distinguished alumni awards at an afternoon press conference held at Mexico City's Hotel W. 

Two of the performers were enjoying career highlights while in Mexico City. Torres learned that a song he cowrote and produced, the Alejandro Sanz and Alicia Keys duet "Looking for Paradise," was a chart-topper in Mexico, while Acha is a Latin Grammy Award nominee for best new artist.