Carolina Arenas, Director of the BMI Foundation’s peermusic Latin Scholarship, has announced that Jessica Garcia is the winner of the 13th annual competition. Garcia, a seventeen-year-old native of Carol Stream, Illinois and student at the College of DuPage, received the $5,000 award for her song, “Sobrevivir.” She is scheduled to perform the winning work next month in Miami, Florida, at a Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) showcase held in advance of the 4th Annual Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala.
This year’s competition featured multi-platinum bachata star Prince Royce as its spokesperson, and a judging panel that included Latin GRAMMY-winning producer Milton “Alcover” Restituyo; Billboard’s Executive Director of Latin Content and Programming, Leila Cobo; Latin GRAMMY-nominated musician, Linda Briceño; and peermusic’s VPs of East and West Coast Latin Divisions, Julio Bagué and Yvonne Drazan.
The peermusic Latin Scholarship was established in 2003 through the generosity and vision of peermusic CEO Ralph Peer II, for the purpose of encouraging the next generation of Latin composers. The contest is open to students between the ages of 17 and 24, who are enrolled in any college or university located in the United States and Puerto Rico. A $5,000 scholarship is presented annually for the best original song or instrumental composition in any Latin genre. For over a decade, the program has nurtured promising musicians who have gone on to distinguish themselves in the fields of television, film, recorded music, and concert performance.
“My feelings, that I converted into lyrics and chords for the simple necessity of taking emotional weight off me, evolved into such a prestigious award, and I am very humbled,” said Jessica. "Winning this scholarship has taught me to really trust my feelings, because they never lie; we have to use them as a paintbrush, paint our own doors, and keep knocking until someone opens. I am beyond grateful that the BMI Foundation opened the door; they have given me motivation and confidence in my own work, especially during this era where stripped down Latin music is rarely heard on the radio. Through my studies, hard work, and the funds they have granted me, I hope to one day be the change."
The daughter of Mexican-born parents, Jessica Garcia grew up in Chicago, Illinois. Self-taught in guitar from the age of eight, she developed a passion for singing shortly thereafter and began writing songs in English and Spanish at the age of twelve. She later went on to audition for several televised singing competitions, before sharing covers and original songs, mostly in Spanish, on YouTube as an independent artist. This fall, she enters her senior year at West Chicago Community High School, while also continuing her studies part-time at the College of DuPage. Jessica hopes to attend DePaul University in the near future.
Founded by Ralph Peer in 1928, peermusic is a global network of music publishing companies operating from 33 offices in 27 countries, with well over a quarter of a million titles in the company’s catalogue, and songs that vary from country, blues, jazz, and pop to Latin, concert, and rock & roll. For more information, visit www.peermusic.com.
About the BMI Foundation:
The BMI Foundation is a nonprofit organization, incorporated in the state of New York in February 1984, and dedicated to the creation, performance and study of music, in fields including but not limited to music education, the preservation of the indigenous American jazz form, and the creation and exposure to audiences of contemporary music, particularly in the areas of classical, jazz, and musical theatre. Tax-deductible donations to the Foundation may be made on our website. For exclusive news and content, follow @bmifoundation on Twitter and like “BMI Foundation” on Facebook.