Known far and wide as the “Queen of Latin Pop,” Gloria Estefan has sold over 45 million records to become the single most successful crossover performer in Latin-music history.
In an industry increasingly dominated by disposable artists and short-term careers, Gloria Estefan continues to thrive and firmly command the ardent praise of fans worldwide. “Music should always be a means of bridging gaps and uniting people,” she says. “The beauty of music is that it can – and should – gather a wide variety of concepts in a way that’s universal.”
As a student at the University of Miami in 1975, Gloria joined a small-time local Cuban-American quartet called the Miami Latin Boys as an accompanist and occasional front singer where she blossomed into a polished and self-assured perfomer under the guidance of the group’s leader and keyboardist Emilio Estefan. A year and a half after she joined the band, the group was re-baptized Miami Sound Machine and began cutting albums. The band became a family affair when Gloria and Emilio married in 1978.
Between 1981 and 1983, Miami Sound Machine recorded four Spanish language albums of ballads, samba and pop songs. In 1985, the band broke through in a major way with the release of Primitive Love and it’s single “Conga.” The bouncy, percussion-heavy album was an instant success, becoming the first single to camp out on Billboard’s pop, dance, black, and Latin charts concurrently. Gloria released her first solo album, Cut Both Ways, in 1989. The fact that she has remained true to all facets of her bi-cultural heritage has brought her much glorification over the years, especially in Miami’s Cuban community where she is know fondly as “nuestra Glorita” (“our little Gloria”).
Gloria enjoyed her big-screen acting debut in the 1999 film Music of the Heart and collaborated with ‘N Sync to record the movie’s chart-busting theme song. With the recent release of “Greatest Hits, Volume 2,” she ascends to a rarified plateau that affirms her status as one of pop music’s true and enduring originals.
Over the past 20 years, Emilio Estefan, Jr. has made a name for himself as the entrepreneur who heads up Estefan Enterprises, Inc. Along with managing the career of his superstar wife Gloria, with whom he developed their singular Latin/pop sound, Emilio has successfully delved into all segments of the music industry, ranging from production to publishing.
Known as the “godfather or the Miami sound,” Emilio was the first to envision the fusion of Latin music and rhythm with English lyrics that has become the hottest trend in music since the invention of jazz. In 1975, he formed a group called the Miami Latin Boys that performed traditional Cuban music with a contemporary flavor. The group’s popularity grew and they changed their name to Miami Sound Machine and added a female singer named Gloria Fajardo. By 1985 their song Conga had become an international smash hit and transformed the group’s lead singer - now Gloria Estefan, having married Emilio in 1978 – into the first Latin Female crossover superstar.
The group enjoyed further success with hits such as Rhythm is Gonna Get You and Anything for You. Gloria launched her solo career in 1989 and went on to sell more than 70 million albums worldwide while Emilio began exploring songwriting and producing, forming his own label, Crescent Moon Productions. He has worked with some of the top recording stars of our time including Jon Secada, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Albita, Ricky Martin, Will Smith, Shakira and Alejandro Fernandez.
Today, Emilio Estefan is a five-time Grammy winner, a two-time Latin Grammy winner, the first-ever Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences’ Person of the Year, a two-time Cable Ace Award winner and the head of a diverse enterprise that includes writing, composing, record production, films, restaurants and a magazine.
A jukebox musical, On Your Feet!, about the life of Gloria and Emilio Estefan premiered on Broadway November 5, 2015.
Gloria and Emilio Estefan live in Miami and have two grown children both active in the entertainment industry.