Gerardo Ortiz, who calls his style "progressive" norteño, was the big winner at the first edition of the Mexican Music Billboard Awards, garnering honors in six categories.

Actress Kate del Castillo and mariachi singer Pedro Fernández together hosted Thursday night's gala at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles, which will be broadcast Oct. 27 on Telemundo.

Ortiz, who sings "narco-corridos," ballads about the lives and often violent deaths of drug traffickers, prevailed in the categories of Artist of the Year, New Artist of the Year, Male Artist of the Year, Albums Artist of the Year and Norteño Artist of the Year.

He also won Vocal Event Song of the Year for "Culiacan vs. Mazatlan," a Calibre 50 track where he was a featured artist.

Ortiz, 22, told Efe he felt "happy" about his big night and said it came after "two years of work and a lot of effort."

Larry Hernández, another narco-corrido star, won top honors in the categories of Songs Artist of the Year and Norteño Song of the Year.

A pair of prizes went to Julion Alvarez and his Norteño Banda, while ranchero diva Jenni Rivera was honored as Female Artist of the Year.

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