(Read all about Gloria Estefan after the video)
Gloria Estefan (born Gloria María Milagrosa Fajardo García; September 1, 1957) is a Cuban-American singer, songwriter, actress, and businesswoman. She started off her career as the lead singer in the group called "Miami Latin Boys" which was eventually known as Miami Sound Machine.
Estefan's breakthrough success with "Conga" in 1985 made her known worldwide. It won the grand prix in the 15th annual Tokyo Music Festival in Japan. This is her signature song. In the middle of 1988 she and the band got their first number-one hit for the song "Anything for You". She is a contralto.
In March 1990, Estefan had a severe accident in her tour bus. She made her comeback in March 1991 with a new world tour and album called Into The Light. Her 1993 Spanish-language album Mi Tierra won the first of her three Grammy Awards for Best Tropical Latin Album. It was the first number-one album on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart, established when it was released. It was also the first Diamond album in Spain. Many of her songs like "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You", "1-2-3", "Get On Your Feet", "Here We Are", "Coming Out of the Dark", "Bad Boy", "Oye!", "Party Time" and a remake of Vicki Sue Robinson's "Turn the Beat Around" became international hits, with chart-topping scores. Estefan has sold an estimated 100 million records worldwide, including 31.5 million in the United States alone.
She has won seven Grammy Awards. Estefan also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Las Vegas Walk of Fame. In 2015, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contributions to American music. Estefan also won an MTV Video Music Award, and two ACE Awards. She was honored with the American Music Award for Lifetime Achievement as well as being named BMI Songwriter of the Year. She was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and has received multiple Billboard Awards. She is also on the list of VH1 top 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, and in Billboard's Top 100 Greatest Artists Of All time.
Early life and education
Estefan was born Gloria María Milagrosa Fajardo García in Havana, Cuba, to José Fajardo and Gloria García, a middle-class couple. Her maternal grandparents were Spanish immigrants to Cuba; her maternal grandfather, Leonardo García, immigrated to Cuba from Pola de Siero, Asturias, Spain, where he married Gloria's maternal grandmother, originally from Logroño, Spain. Prior to the Cuban Revolution, her father was a Cuban soldier and a bodyguard for the wife of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista.
The Fajardo family fled to Miami, Florida as a result of the Cuban Revolution and settled down there. Shortly after they moved to the United States, Gloria's father joined the US military and fought in the Vietnam War and moved to Houston after his participation in the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion. Estefan was raised Catholic and attended St. Michael-Archangel School and Our Lady of Lourdes Academy in Miami.
Estefan's father became ill after returning from Vietnam and Gloria helped her mother, Gloria Fajardo, care for him. Her mother worked as a schoolteacher for the Dade County Public School system. Gloria Estefan graduated from college in 1979 with a BA in psychology, with a minor in French, from the University of Miami.
When she was studying at the university, Estefan worked as an English/Spanish/French translator at Miami International Airport Customs Department and, because of her language abilities, was once approached by the CIA as a possible employee.
Estefan became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1974, under the name Gloria Garcia Fajardo, reflecting the switch from Spanish naming customs (father's surname then mother's surname) to English (mother's maiden name as middle name and father's surname last).
Estefan became romantically involved with the Miami Sound Machine's band leader, Emilio Estefan, in 1976. As she later revealed, "he was my first and only boyfriend." She and Emilio married on September 2, 1978. They have a son, Nayib (born September 2, 1980) and a daughter Emily (born December 5, 1994). The family lives on Star Island.
On June 5, 2010, Nayib married Lara Diamante Coppola in the backyard of his parents' house. On June 21, 2012, the first Estefan grandchild was born: grandson Sasha Argento Coppola Estefan.
Career in singing
Mid-1970s through the 1980s
Starting in 1977, Miami Sound Machine began recording and releasing various albums and 45s on the Audiofon Records label in Miami. The first album from 1977 was entitled Live Again/Renacer and was released with two different covers. After several more releases on the Audiofon label as well as the RCA Victor label and Miami Sound Machine's own label MSM Records, the band was signed to Discos CBS International and released several albums, 45s, and 12"s beginning with the 1978 self-titled album Miami Sound Machine. Growing in popularity in both the U.S. and around the world, the group would continue recording and issuing various works for Discos CBS International through 1985.
In 1984, Miami Sound Machine released their first Epic/Columbia album, Eyes of Innocence, which contained the dance hit "Dr. Beat" as well as the ballad "I Need Your Love". Their more successful follow-up album Primitive Love was released in 1985 launching three Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100: "Conga" (U.S. No. 10), "Words Get in the Way" (U.S. No. 5), and "Bad Boy" (U.S. No. 8), as well as "Falling in Love (Uh-Oh)" (U.S. No. 25) which became follow up hits in the U.S. and around the world. "Words Get in the Way" reached No. 1 on the US Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart, establishing that the group could perform pop ballads as successfully as dance tunes. The song "Hot Summer Nights" was also released that year and was part of the film Top Gun.
Their next album, 1987's Let It Loose, went multi-platinum, with three million copies sold in the US alone. It featured the following hits: "Anything for You" (No. 1 Hot 100), "1-2-3" (No. 3 Hot 100), "Betcha Say That" (No. 36 Hot 100), "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You" (No. 5 Hot 100), and "Can't Stay Away from You" (No. 6 Hot 100). "Can't Stay Away From You", "Anything for You", and "1-2-3" were all No. 1 Adult Contemporary hits as well. In that same year, Estefan took top billing and the band's name changed to Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine.
In 1989, the group's name was dropped, and Estefan has been credited as a solo artist ever since. In 1988, after the worldwide chart success of single "Anything for You", her Let it Loose album was repackaged as Anything for You.
1990: Cuts Both Ways and tour bus collision
In late 1989, she released her best-selling album to date, Cuts Both Ways. The album included the hit singles "Don't Wanna Lose You" (Hot 100 No. 1 hit), "Oye mi Canto", "Here We Are", "Cuts Both Ways" (No. 1 on the U.S. Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart), and "Get on Your Feet".
While touring in support of Cuts Both Ways on March 20, 1990, near Scranton, Pennsylvania, Estefan was critically injured, suffering a fractured spine when a semi-truck crashed into the tour bus she was in during a snowstorm. Estefan was returning from meeting with President George Bush to discuss participation in an anti-drugs campaign. She was taken to Community Medical Center's Intensive Care Unit and the next day was flown by helicopter to New York City, where surgeons at the Hospital for Joint Diseases at NYU Langone Medical Center permanently implanted two titanium rods to stabilize her vertebral column. Her rehabilitation required almost a year of intensive physical therapy and one of her comments was that "there were times when the pain was so bad I prayed I'd pass out"---but she achieved a complete recovery and returned to an international tour ten months after the collision.
1991–1992: Into The Light and The Greatest Hits
Estefan returned to the charts with a concept album, Into the Light, in 1991. She performed "Coming Out of the Dark" for the first time on the American Music Awards in January 1991, receiving a standing ovation as she took the stage. "Coming Out of the Dark" reached No. 1 in the U.S. as a single a few months later. Other popular singles were "Seal Our Fate" and "Live for Loving You". The album peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard album chart, becoming her highest debut; it also peaked at No. 2 on the British albums chart. Eventually the album went platinum in the UK and double platinum in the US.
She followed up Into the Light with her first greatest-hits album, Gloria Estefan Greatest Hits. It was released in 1992, and included the U.S. hit ballads "Always Tomorrow" and "I See Your Smile" along with the international hit dance track "Go Away". Also in 1992, Estefan sang backup on fellow Cuban-American singer-songwriter Jon Secada's breakthrough single "Just Another Day".
1993: Mi Tierra and Christmas Through Your Eyes
In 1993, Estefan released the album Mi Tierra, her first Spanish-language album. It peaked at No. 27 on the Billboard album chart and No. 11 on the British album chart. The singles "Mi Tierra" and the romantic-tropical ballad "Con Los Años Que Me Quedan" and "Mi Buen Amor", climbed to No. 1 on the "Hot Latin Tracks" chart in the US. The album sold over eight million copies worldwide, went multiplatinum in Spain (10×) and in the US (16 times; Platinum – Latin field), platinum in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, and gold in Switzerland, and won a Grammy Award for "Best Tropical Latin Album". That same year, Estefan released her first Christmas album, Christmas Through Your Eyes, the first album from Estefan to not be produced by her husband Emilio Estefan Jr. The collection included the singles "This Christmas" and "Silent Night". The album went Platinum in the US.
Also in 1993, Estefan collaborated with Frank Sinatra on his album Duets with the song "Come Rain or Come Shine".
1994–1995: Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me and Abriendo Puertas
Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, a cover album of some of Estefan's favorite songs from the 1960s and 1970s, was released in 1994. "Turn the Beat Around", the first single and a remake of Vicki Sue Robinson's 1976 disco classic, became another international hit, certified gold in the US. It also was used in the Sharon Stone film The Specialist.
1995's Spanish-language album Abriendo Puertas earned Estefan her second Grammy Award for "Best Tropical Latin Album". It spun off two No. 1 dance hits, "Abriendo Puertas" and "Tres Deseos", and two No. 1 Latin singles, "Abriendo Puertas" and "Más Allá".
In January 1995, the Miami Sound Machine performed at the Super Bowl XXIX halftime show, with Tony Bennett, Patti LaBelle, and trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, in a program entitled "Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye", to promote the upcoming Disney theme park attraction.
The platinum-selling album Destiny, released in 1996, featured "Reach", the official theme of the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics. Estefan performed in the Summer Olympics closing ceremony, during which she performed the songs "Reach" and "You'll Be Mine".
On July 18, 1996, Estefan embarked on her Evolution World Tour (her first tour in five years), which covered the U.S., Canada, Europe, Latin America, Australia and Asia.
On June 2, 1998, she released her eighth solo album, (twenty-first overall), gloria!. The album blended disco with Salsa music percussion and Latin flavor. The album peaked at No. 23 on the Billboard 200. The album reached Gold certification. The single "Oye!" peaked at No. 1 on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play and the Hot Latin Tracks charts, and was featured in the 1998 Eddie Murphy film Holy Man. The other major hit single releases were "Don't Let This Moment End", which peaked at No. 76 on the Billboard Hot 100 and "Heaven's What I Feel", which peaked at No. 27 on the Hot 100.
In 1999, Estefan performed with 'N Sync on the single "Music of My Heart", which was featured in a film in which she also appeared, Music of the Heart. The song reached No. 2 on the Billboard chart and was nominated for an Academy Award. She also released a Latin hit with the Brazilian group So Pra Contrariar called "Santo Santo", sang with Luciano Pavarotti in Pavarotti and Friends for Guatemala and Kosovo.
The next album Alma Caribeña (Caribbean Soul) was released in 2000. It was her third Spanish language album with a focus on caribbean rhythms. The album featured several Latin Hits as "No me dejes de querer", "Como me duele perderte", "Por un beso". The album features duets with José Feliciano and Celia Cruz. The album earned Estefan another Grammy Music Award in the category Best Traditional Tropical Latin Album in 2001. Greatest Hits Vol. II was released in 2001. It contained hits from 1993 to 2000, as well as three new songs and a remix of her first hit "Conga", retitled "Y-Tu-Conga". The song "Out of Nowhere" was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category for Best Dance Recording; another song from the album, "You Can't Walk Away from Love", was featured in the film Original Sin.
2003–06: Unwrapped and compilations
She also appeared in a performance with Stevie Wonder at Super Bowl XXXIII in Miami and sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" at game three of the 2003 World Series in Miami between the Florida Marlins and New York Yankees.
In 2003, Estefan released Unwrapped, her first English-language CD in five years. To promote the CD, she toured Europe, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the U.S. "Hoy" and "Tu Fotografía" both reached No. 1 on Billboard's Latin chart, and "I Wish You" reached the Adult Contemporary Charts top 20. The Live & Re-Wrapped Tour, was produced by Clear Channel Entertainment. It began in Hidalgo, Texas on July 30, 2004, and played in 26 cities. It featured Estefan's greatest hits. The final concert of the tour took place in Estefan's hometown of Miami on the weekend of October 9 and 10
On April 7, 2005, Estefan participated in "Selena ¡VIVE!", the tribute concert for Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, the "Queen of Tejano", who was murdered in March 1995 on the brink of her attempt to cross over as an English-language performer. Estefan performed "I Could Fall in Love", one of Selena's posthumously released crossover hits. Also that year, Estefan appeared on the soundtrack for the television series Desperate Housewives, singing a song titled "Young Hearts Run Free".
In late 2005, the club mash-up "Dr. Pressure" was released, which combined Mylo's No. 19 hit "Drop The Pressure" with the Miami Sound Machine's "Dr. Beat". It reached No. 3 on the UK singles chart and No. 1 on the Australian dance chart.
In October 2006, Sony released a 2-CD compilation The Essential Gloria Estefan, featuring her hits from 1984 to 2003, Estefan made several radio and television appearances to promote The Essential Gloria Estefan. She released two additional similar compilation albums that year for other markets. The Very Best of Gloria Estefan was released in Europe and Mexico, and was similar to The Essential Gloria Estefan, but also included as a bonus track "Dr. Pressure". This compilation was certified GOLD in Ireland. Oye Mi Canto!: Los Grandes Exitos, a collection of her Spanish-language hits was released in Spain.
In 2008, Estefan appeared during the seventh season of American Idol, in the special charity episode "Idol Gives Back", performing her song "Get on Your Feet" along with Sheila E.. The performance was recorded and was released at the American iTunes Store; the video of the performance reached No. 20 of the store's Top 100 videos. Estefan became the headliner of the new venue of the MGM Grand at Foxwoods Resort Casino. She then headed to Canada to perform at the Casino Rama. In August, she started her "90 Millas World Tour". Estefan played concerts in London, Rotterdam, Belfast and Aruba. Estefan performed several concerts in Spain, specifically Madrid, Barcelona, Zaragoza and Tenerife. Two of these concerts, in Las Ventas, Spain, and Rotterdam, The Netherlands, were free to the public.
Back in the states, Estefan performed a special concert at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino to raise funds for the Education of South Florida. Estefan was a headliner for Bette Midler's "Annual Hulaween Gala" along with other special guests such as Kathy Griffin and a costume contest judged by Michael Kors. The event benefited the New York Restoration Project.
During the Thanksgiving season, Estefan appeared on Rosie O'Donnell's television special Rosie Live singing a duet with O'Donnell titled "Gonna Eat For Thanksgiving", an alternate version of "Gonna Eat For Christmas" from on O'Donnell's album A Rosie Christmas. In 2009, Estefan announced plans for her "farewell tour" of Latin America and South America. The tour continued with a concert at Guadalajara in Mexico, as part of a program designed to improve tourism in Mexico, and a series of appearances at music festivals throughout Europe, including headlining at the Summer Pops Music Festival in Liverpool on July 27, 2009.
The same year, Estefan opened the "In Performance at the White House: Fiesta Latina 2009" with "No Llores". Also, at the end, Estefan together with Jennifer Lopez, Thalía, Marc Anthony, José Feliciano, performed a rendition of her Spanish-language classic, "Mi Tierra".
In 2009, three albums of Gloria Estefan with Miami Sound Machine were re-released in Japan. The originals were all recorded in the early 1980s. These comprised Eyes of Innocence, Primitive Love and Let It Loose on a limited edition mini Lp CD.
2010–11: Miss Little Havana
Estefan began 2010 with a charity single: she and her husband, producer Emilio Estefan, Jr., invited artists to record "Somos El Mundo", a Spanish-language version of Michael Jackson's song "We Are The World". The song, written by Estefan and approved by Quincy Jones, was recorded, and premiered during El Show de Cristina on March 1, 2010. All of the money from sales of the song went to Haitian relief.
On March 24, 2010, Estefan led a march down Miami's Calle Ocho in support of Cuba's Las Damas de Blanco (Ladies in White). Las Damas de Blanco is an opposition movement in Cuba that consists of wives and other female relatives of jailed dissidents. Since 2003, the women have protested the imprisonments by attending Mass each Sunday wearing white dresses and then silently walking through the streets in white clothing. Later that year, Estefan took part in Broadway's "24 Hour Plays" in which actors, writers, and directors collaborate to produce and perform six one-act plays within 24 hours to benefit the Urban Arts Partnership. She performed alongside actors Elijah Wood, Diane Neal, and Alicia Witt in the play I Think You'll Love This One, written by the 20-year-old winner of the Montblanc writers' project, Elizabeth Cruz Cortes.
In Spring 2011, Sony Music Europe released part 2 of the Original Album Classics comprising 5 classic albums; Hold me, thrill me, Kiss me, Abriendo Puertas, Destiny, Gloria! and Alma Caribena on mini LP CDS.
On April 7, 2011, Estefan made an unannounced appearance at auditions for The X Factor in Miami, and gave encouragement to the 7,500 participants gathered outside the Bank United Center for auditions.
In 2011, Estefan was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame along with Grammy and Emmy award winner Harry Connick Jr. Both singers performed at a special concert on June 17, 2011, with Thomas Wilkins as musical conductor. Proceeds from this event went to benefit the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute's education programs.
Estefan's new dance-oriented studio album, Miss Little Havana, was released in the U.S. on September 27, 2011, with the physical CD available exclusively at Target. Early on, Estefan had described the album as a project in the vein of her 1998 hit album gloria!; Collaborating with her on it were producers Pharrell Williams, Motiff, Emilio Estefan, and Drop Dead Beats.
One song from the album, "Wepa", premiered on May 31, 2011 at AmericanAirlines Arena in a special music video of the song for the Miami Heat. The Heat video was released on YouTube on June 1. The song went on sale for digital downloading at the iTunes Store on July 24. Both "Wepa" and "Hotel Nacional" achieved No. 1 on Billboard Latin Songs and on Dance/Club Chart. In the fall of 2011, during an interview to promote Miss Little Havana, Estefan expressed her views on gay rights and gay marriage and revealed that she was a strong supporter of both. When asked if she was a supporter of gay marriage, she replied "Of course I am. I think everyone should be able to marry who they love, and it should just be." Estefan has also recorded a video for the It Gets Better campaign, an organization which aims to prevent homophobic bullying.
In November 2011, Estefan began hosting Gloria Estefan's Latin Beat, a seven-part series for BBC Radio 2 in the United Kingdom that explores the history of Latin music.
2012–15: The Next: Fame Is At Your Doorstep and The Standards
Estefan started a reality show called The Next: Fame Is at Your Doorstep opposite Joe Jonas, Nelly and John Rich on the CW Network, where she, and the other three mentors are searched for the next big star, to record an album with Atlantic Records. Unlike other music reality shows, in this program, the mentors selected the "candidates" for the show, and trained them for a live performance, where they'd be voted for the best act of the day. The first season ended in October 2012, with musician Michael Ray, as the big finalist.
This same year, Estefan appeared as a musical guest in Tony Bennett's compilation of duets with Latin-American musicians, Viva Duets with a rendition of the song, "Who Can I Turn To". Weeks later, she helped the American version of Teleton, releasing the charity single "Por Un Mundo Mejor" along with Mexican singer Lucero, Dominican rapper El Cata and Mexican pop band, Reik. A video for the song was shot, with them recording the song, which was marked as the official hymn for the foundation.
In May 2013, she appears doing another duet with the song "Think I'm in Love Again" as part of the albums Duets released by Paul Anka. That same month, in parts of Europe, Sony Music released a 2 CDs collection call The Dutch Collections, this compilation includes all of Gloria Estefan 32 hits including "Hot Summer Nights", never been released before on any of Estefan albums.
In September 2013, Estefan released The Standards. The album features some collaborations with artists like Laura Pausini, Dave Koz and Joshua Bell, and a selection of songs from the Great American songbook. The album reached No. 20 on the US Billboard 200 chart marking her first top 20 album on the chart since 1994's Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me. The first single from the album was "How Long Has This Been Going On?". To promote the album, she appeared on CBS This Morning Saturday the week of its release and performed the song "Good Morning Heartache" in front of original author of the song Ervin Drake.
In April 2014, Gloria and her husband Emilio, were honored at the 2014 "Power of Love Event for Keep Memory Alive" in Las Vegas, where big names of the musical industry such as Queen Latifah, Ricky Martin, Rita Moreno and Gloria's friend, Carole King, offered the couple a tribute to their music.
Gloria joined Carlos Santana on his new album Corazon in a song called "Besos de lejos." Gloria Estefan teamed up with Dave Koz song for their Christmas cover, "Do You Hear What I Hear?" Also, she teamed up with Sheila E, 2GD and Wes Quave for a song called "I Take It Back." Gloria also teamed up with Joshua Bell and Tiempo Librea in their cover of "Christmas Auld Lang Syne" and collaborated with Johnny Mathis song for "Mary's Boy Child".
Estefan released Soy Mujer, on Sony Latin on June 23, 2015. The album consists of Estefan's greatest Spanish-language hits.