(born Gloria María Fajardo
; September 1, 1957) is a Grammy Award
-winning Cuban-American singer
. She is in the top 100
best selling music
with over 90 million albums sold worldwide, 26.5
million of those in the United States alone. She has won seven
, placing her among the
most successful crossover
performers in Latin music to date.
Early life and family
María Milagrosa Fajardo was born September
1, 1957 in Havana, Cuba, to Jose and
Gloria Fajardo. Her mother's father Leonardo Garcia emigrated
to Cuba from Pola de
Siero, Asturias, Spain where
he married a woman from Logroño,
Spain. The family fled to Lafayette,
Indiana, during the Cuban
A few years after they moved, Jose joined
the US military during the Vietnam War. Her father had been a Cuban
soldier and bodyguard of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista
Career in singing
1984-1988: The Miami Sound Machine
In the mid-1980s, Gloria Estefan was part of the group Miami Sound
Machine. In 1984, Miami Sound Machine released their first
Epic/Columbia album, Eyes Of
, which contained the dance hit "Dr. Beat
" as well as the ballad "I Need Your
". Their more successful follow-up album Primitive Love
was released in 1985
launching three Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100
" (U.S. #10), "Words Get In The Way
” (U.S. #5), and
#8) became follow up hits in the U.S. and around the world.
"Words Get In The Way
#1 on the US Hot Adult
chart, establishing that the group could
perform pop ballads as successfully as dance tunes. The song "Hot
Summer Nights" was also release that year and was part of the
blockbuster movie Top
Their next album, 1987’s Let It Loose
went multi-platinum, with six million copies sold in the US. It
featured the following hits: "Anything For You
Hot 100), "1, 2, 3
Hot 100), "Betcha Say That
" (#36 Hot
100), "Rhythm Is Gonna Get
" (#5 Hot 100), and "Can't Stay Away From You
" (#6 Hot
100). "Can’t Stay Away From You," "Anything For You" and "1-2-3"
were all #1 Adult Contemporary hits as well.
In 1988, Estefan took top billing and the band’s name changed to
Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine. Beginning in 1989, the
group's name was dropped altogether. Estefan was credited as a solo
artist, though the ever-changing line-up of Miami Sound Machine
continues as her backing band to this day.
In 1989, after the worldwide chart success of single "Anything For You
her Let it Loose
repackaged as Anything For You
. It became the band's first
UK #1 album, selling over a million copies. It was the biggest
selling album of the year in The Netherlands, staying at #1 for 22
weeks. The album also took top honors in Australia and Canada,
launching Estefan to superstar status.
1990: Cuts Both Ways and tour bus accident
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
" (a Billboard Hot 100 #1 hit), "Oye mi Canto
", "Here We Are
", "Cuts Both Ways
" (#1 on the U.S.
Hot Adult Contemporary
chart) and "Get on Your
touring in support of Cuts Both
Ways on March 20, 1990, near Scranton,
Pennsylvania, Estefan was critically injured, suffering a
fractured spine when a speeding semi-truck crashed into her tour
bus. 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 NYU Hospital for Joint
Diseases permanently implanted two titanium rods to stabilize her
rehabilitation required almost a year of intensive physical therapy
by Michael Klepper, but
she achieved a complete recovery. She returned to an international
tour ten months after the accident.
1991-1992: Into The Light and The Greatest
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 stage. "I was worried so
much about crying before I finished that I completely didn't
prepare for crying before I started.", Estefan said backstage after
the performance. "Coming Out of the Dark" reached #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 number five at the Billboard
album chart, becoming on Gloria's highest debut and number two at
the British albums chart. Eventually the album went platinum at UK
and two-times platinum at the States. The Into the Light World Tour
covered 100 cities in five countries and was seen by more than 10
million people worldwide.
She followed up Into the Light
with her first greatest-hits album, the Gloria Estefan Greatest
. It was released in 1992, and included the U.S. hit
ballads "Always Tomorrow
"I See Your Smile
" and the
international hit dance track "Go Away
Also in 1992, Estefan sang backup on fellow Cuban-American
singer-songwriter Jon Secada
breakthrough single "Just Another Day
Estefan spent much of 1992 in Miami, helping with relief from the
devastation of Hurricane
1993: Mi Tierra and Christmas Through Your
In 1993 Estefan released the album Mi
, her first Spanish-language album. It peaked at
number twenty-seven on the Billboard
album chart and number
eleven 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 number-one on the "Hot Latin Tracks"
chart in the United States. The album sold over eight million
copies worldwide, went multiplatinum in Spain (15X) and platinum in
the United States, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom, Gold in
Switzerland and Australia, and won a Grammy
for "Best Tropical Latin Album".
That same year Estefan released her first Christmas album,
Christmas Through Your
, this classic collection was the first album from
Estefan to not be produced by her husband Emilio Estefan Jr. Phil
Ramone was the producer.The collection included the singles "This
Christmas" and "Silent Night".The album went Platinum in the United
Estefan also collaborated with Frank
in 1993 on his album Duets
with the song
"Come Rain or Come
1994-1995: Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me and
Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss
, 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
’s 1976 disco classic, became another international
hit, certified gold in the US. It also was used in the Sharon Stone
movie The Specialist
1995’s Spanish-language album Abriendo Puertas
earned Estefan her
second Grammy Award for "Best Tropical Latin Album". It spun off
two #1 dance hits, "Abriendo
" and "Tres Deseos
", and two
#1 Latin singles, "Abriendo Puertas" and "Más Allá
". The Miami Herald
"a danceable pan-Latin American fusion, brilliantly
built on improbable instrumental combinations and layers of styles
In January 1995, the Miami Sound Machine performed at the Super Bowl XXIX
halftime show, with Tony Bennett
, and trumpeter Arturo
, in a program entitled "Indiana Jones and the Temple
of the Forbidden Eye", to promote the upcoming Disney theme park
1996-1997: Summer Olympics and Destiny
The platinum-selling album Destiny
, released in
1996, featured "Reach
", the official
theme of the 1996 Atlanta Summer
. Estefan performed in the Summer Olympics closing
, in front of an audience of two billion people
worldwide, 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 United States, Canada,
Europe, Latin America, Australia, South Africa and Asia.
1998: Back to dance: gloria!
Estefan successfully rode the wave of the Disco revival in the U.S.
during the late 1990s. On June 2, 1998, she released her eighth
solo album, (twenty-first overall), gloria!.
The album is highly influenced by
, blended with Salsa music
percussion and Latin flavour.
gloria!, she performed at the famed New York City discoteque Studio 54.
The album peaked at #23 on the The
. It was her first album during the 1990s not to
hit Platinum status, but it did reach Gold certification. The
" peaked at #1 on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play
Hot Latin Tracks
charts. The other
major hit single releases were "Don't Let This Moment End
peaked at #76 on the Billboard Hot
and "Heaven's What I
", which peaked at #27 on the Billboard Hot 100
. The latter song also
became a Latin chart hit.
1999: "Music of My Heart"
In 1999 Estefan performed a duet with *NSYNC
on the single "Music Of My Heart
which was featured in a movie in which she also appeared,
Music of the Heart
song reached #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," released
the benefit album “A Rosie Christmas,".
She also made a couple of sporting event appearances. The first
event was a performance with Stevie
at Super Bowl XXXIII
Miami. She also sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" at game three of
the 2003 World Series
between the Florida Marlins
New York Yankees
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
nominated for a Grammy Award
category for Best Dance
; another song off the album, "You Can't Walk Away from
", was featured in the movie Original Sin
In 2003, Estefan released Unwrapped,
English-language CD in five years. To promote the CD, she toured
Europe, Mexico, Puerto Rico
United States. The video for the single "Hoy", had been filmed in
Machu Picchu, Peru.
"Hoy" and "Tu Fotografía
reached #1 on Billboard’s Latin chart, and "I
" reached the AC top 20.
28, 2004, at the Trump Tower building, in a press conference hosted by Donald Trump, Estefan announced that her
then-upcoming tour would be her final one.
The Live & Re-Wrapped Tour
first tour in eight years, was produced by Clear Channel Entertainment
Texas on July 30, 2004, and played in 26 cities; it
featured Estefan’s greatest hits, along with new material from
The final concert of the tour took place
in Estefan's hometown of Miami on the weekend of October 9 and 10,
in front of a sold-out crowd, despite having been delayed for two
weeks by a hurricane.
2005: Mash-up hit with Mylo and the tributes
On April 7, 2005, Estefan participated in “Selena ¡VIVE!
", the tribute concert for
, the "Queen of
Tejano", who was murdered in March 1995 on the brink of her attempt
to cross over as an English-language performer. Gloria 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
In late 2005, the club mash-up
" was released, which
’s Number 19 hit "Drop The
Pressure" with the Miami Sound Machine’s "Dr. Beat". It reached #3
on the UK singles chart and #1 on the Australian dance chart,
providing Estefan with her first top 40 hit and commercial radio
airplay since 1996
2006: Compilations and the UK promo tour
Along with dozens of other prominent singers in early 2006, Estefan
performed in Los Angeles at a tribute to singer Dionne Warwick
. Estefan sang "Walk On By",
one of Warwick’s signature songs.
In October 2006, Sony released a 2-CD compilation The Essential Gloria
, featuring most of her biggest hits from 1984 to
2003, and In the ensuing couple of months, Estefan made several
radio and television appearances to promote The Essential
including a December 9, 2006 appearance on
’s The X
Estefan also released two additional similar compilation albums
that year for other markets. The Very Best of Gloria
was released in Europe and Mexico, and was similar
to The Essential Gloria Estefan
, but also included as a
bonus track "Dr. Pressure
compilation was certified GOLD in Ireland. Oye Mi Canto!: Los Grandes
, a collection of her Spanish-language hits was
released in Spain. It included a bonus DVD, which included various
music videos and television performances.
2008-Present: Idol Gives Back, 90 Millas World Tour and other
In 2008 Gloria appeared during the seventh season
of American Idol
, in the special charity
episode "Idol Gives Back
performing her song "Get on Your
" along with Sheila E.
performance was recorded and was released at the American iTunes
store; the video of the performance reached
the number twenty of the store Top 100 videos, and the song became
the most downloaded song by Estefan in just one day.
became the headliner of the new venue of the MGM
Grand at Foxwoods Resort Casino.
Her three-day shows were sold out.
headed to Canada to perform at the Casino Rama.
In August she started her "90 Millas World Tour
". Gloria played
concerts in London, Rotterdam, Belfast and Aruba.
Gloria performed several concerts
in Spain, specifically Madrid, Barcelona, Zaragoza and Tenerife.
these concerts, in Las
Ventas, Spain, and Rotterdam, The Netherlands, were free to the
Back in the states, Gloria performed a special concert at the
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino to raise funds for the
Education of South Florida. Gloria was also a headliner for
's "Annual Hulaween Gala"
along with other special guests such Kathy
and a costume contest judged by Michael Kors
. The event benefited the New York
During the Thanksgiving season, Gloria Estefan appeared on Rosie O' Donnell
's television special
singing a duet with
O'Donnell titled "Gonna Eat For Thanksgiving", an alternate version
of "Gonna Eat For Christmas" from on O'Donell's album A Rosie
In 2009, Estefan announced plans for her "farewell tour" of Latin
America and South America. Estefan has explained that this tour is
intended to be her last, so that she can spend more time with her
daughter Emily. Estefan has also recently completed a 3
night concert series with Carole King
entitled "She's Got a Friend" at the Foxwoods
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 concerts,
including headlining at the Summer
Pops Music Festival in Liverpool on the 27th July.
Estefan is currently working on two new albums to be released soon:
The first is a Christmas album which is not known yet if would be a
Spanish or English-language Christmas album, the second is a new
studio-album which is a collection of American-standards as she is
continuing to write songs for other artists.
Career outside of singing
Film and television appearances
In addition to her singing career, Estefan has appeared in two
movies, Music of the
(1999) and For Love or
Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story
(2000). Estefan made a
cameo appereance with her husband Emilio Estefan Jr.
on the smash-box
office hit Marley &
in 2008, her first movie role since 2000.
She is cast to star as Connie
, a U.S. pop singer of the 1950s and early 1960s, in
Who's Sorry Now?
, based on Francis’ life. Filming began in
late 2008, according to Parade Magazine (March 23, 2008). Estefan,
in an interview with www.allheadlinenews.com, stated the film will
be released in 2009.
Estefan has made occasional television appearances as well. She
appeared in the ABC
television special Elmopalooza
which aired February 20, 1998, in which she sang the song "Mambo,
I, I, I." In April 2004, Estefan appeared on the Fox Broadcasting Company
, but she
declined an offer to be an official judge, saying she does not like
to "judge" others.
Estefan has written two children's books: The Magically
Mysterious Adventures of Noelle the Bulldog
Noelle's Treasure Tale
(2006). The latter book spent a
week at #3 on the New York Times Bestseller list for children's
She also collaborated on a cookbook with her husband entitled
, which was published in 2008. It contains
60 traditional Cuban recipes.
Other business ventures
Gloria and Emilio Estefan also own a number of business
establishments, including seven Cuban-themed restaurants ( Bongos Cuban
). The restaurants are located in Miami;
Beach, Downtown Miami, part of the American Airlines
World’s Downtown Disney in Orlando; Mexico City; and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. They also own two hotels: the Costa d'Este
Beach which opened in 2008, and The Cardozo in Miami Beach.
Gloria Estefan was appointed to the board of directors for
Univision Communications Inc. in 2007, according to Hispanic Market
Weekly. The Estefans' estimated net worth as of 2007 was
approximately $500 million, according to an article in People En
Espanol magazine (February 2007).
In June 2009, Gloria Estefan and her husband, producer Emilio
Estefan, bought a "very small" ownership stake in the Miami Dolphins
Gloria became romantically involved with the Miami Sound Machine's
band leader , Emilio Estefan
1976. She and Emilio married on September 1, 1978. They have a son,
Nayib (born September 2, 1980) and a daughter, Emily Marie (born
December 5, 1994). The family lives in the exclusive Star
Island section of Miami Beach, Florida.
In addition to her seven Grammys, Estefan has received a number of
other awards. In May 1993, she received the Ellis Island Congressional Medal of Honor, which is the highest
award that can be given to a naturalized U.S. citizen.
has won the Hispanic Heritage Award, an MTV Video Music Award
, two cable
television ACE Awards
and the 1993
National Music Foundation’s Humanitarian of the Year award. The
singer is the recipient of the American Music Award for Lifetime
Achievement. She also has a star on the Hollywood
Walk of Fame.
Her husband, Emilio, a world-renowned music
impresario, received a star adjacent to his wife’s on the Hollywood
Walk of Fame in 2005.
holds an honorary doctoral degree in
music from the University of Miami, awarded in 1993.
In 2002, Barry University
in Miami bestowed upon her
an honorary law degree. Along with her husband, Emilio, Estefan
received an honorary doctoral degree in music from the Berklee
College of Music in Boston in 2007. She also delivered the
commencement address to the 2007 graduating class.
In 2002, she received the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute
Medallion of Excellence for Community Service. The singer was
Person of the Year in 1994.
Gloria also founded the Gloria Estefan Foundation whose goal is to
help those with spinal cord injuries.
She has been honored twice by the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In
1992, she served as a public member of the United States Delegation
to the 47th General Assembly to the United Nations
She was awarded "Person of the Year" at the Latin Grammy Awards
in a ceremony aired in
November 2008, in recognition of her twenty-five year singing
career. She is the first female singer to receive this award. She
also received a Latin Grammy for "Best Traditional Tropical Album"
for 90 Millas
, and a Latin Grammy
for "Best Tropical Song" for her single, "Píntame De Colores
". This marked the
first occasion for Estefan to ever win a Grammy award for a song
(either Latin or non-Latin).
On March 12, 2009 she was honored by the BMI Foundation
with the "BMI Icon
" award. The award was
previously given to other singers such as Carlos Santana
, Willie Nelson
, Brian Wilson
- Homecoming Concert (1989 CMV)
- Evolution (1990 CMV)
- Coming Out Of The Dark (1991 SMV)
- Into The Light World Tour (1992 SMV)
- Everlasting Gloria! (1995 EMV)
- The Evolution Tour Live In Miami (1996 EMV)
- Don't Stop (1998 EMV)
- Que siga la tradición (2001 EMV)
- Live In Atlantis (2002 EMV)
- Famous (2003) (Video journal about making-of
Unwrapped LP; included in CD package)
- Live & Unwrapped (2004 EMV)
- The Magically Mysterious Adventures of Noelle the
Bulldog (2005) ISBN 0-06-082623-1.
- Noelle's Treasure Tale: A New Magically Mysterious
- Estefan's Kitchen (2008)