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Gloria Estefan

Gloria Estefan
Gloria Estefan is an internationally known singer and one of the leading exponents of the Miami Sound - a fusion of Latin rhythms and international pop.

Born Gloria Maria Fajardo on Sept. 1, 1957 in Havana, Cuba, she rose to fame as the lead singer for the Miami Sound Machine. She was 17 and just finished with a Catholic girls' school in 1975 when she sang her first ballad with a then-unknown band called the Miami Latin Boys. The group later became the Miami Sound Machine, with Estefan as its leader.

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Gloria Estefan is an internationally known singer and one of the leading exponents of the Miami Sound - a fusion of Latin rhythms and international pop.

Born Gloria Maria Fajardo on Sept. 1, 1957 in Havana, Cuba, she rose to fame as the lead singer for the Miami Sound Machine. She was 17 and just finished with a Catholic girls' school in 1975 when she sang her first ballad with a then-unknown band called the Miami Latin Boys. The group later became the Miami Sound Machine, with Estefan as its leader.

[Sample songs by Gloria Estefan with iTunes here.]

In the late 1980s Billboard magazine named it one of the most successful pop bands in the country. Her father, Jose Fajardo, was a champion volleyball player in Cuba and a member of the motorcycle escort that guarded the wife of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. After Fidel Castro's revolution overthrew Batista's government in 1959, the Fajardos left for the United States. Gloria was 1 year old. Her father participated in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion that tried to reclaim Cuba from Castro in 1961, but was captured and held in a Cuban jail for more than a year. After Jose Fajardo was released he joined the U.S. Army and moved his family to Texas. He served in Vietnam and came back to Miami in 1968. He suffered from a variety of ailments, including multiple sclerosis that could have been caused by exposure to Agent Orange.

Gloria's mother, also named Gloria, supported the family. Her daughter took refuge in music, singing for hours. After high school at Our Lady of Lourdes Academy in southwest Miami, she began college at the University of Miami. In 1975, after hearing Gloria at a church gathering, a Cuban emigre named Emilio Estefan Jr., invited her to sing with his band, the Miami Latin Boys. She agreed to learn the band's salsa tunes if she could also sing ballads.

The Estefans married after she graduated from college in 1979 with a psychology degree. Their son Nayib was born the next year. (A daughter, Emily, was born 13 years later.) The Miami Sound Machine recorded a few albums, mostly in Spanish, and toured Latin America before rising on the Billboard charts in 1985 with "Dr. Beat," the English-language version of a Spanish song. They followed it with "Conga," a Top Ten Hit that is still a popular number. Other hits included "Betcha Say That," "1-2-3 "and "Rhythm is Gonna Get You."

As the band's lead singer, Gloria Estefan achieved national acclaim and became one of the biggest Cuban-American names in the country. She earned a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. She suffered a setback in 1990, when she was involved in a bus accident on a snow-covered highway near the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. She shattered two vertebrae in her back, but she eventually recovered.

Gloria Estefan is also known for her community service. After Hurricane Andrew devastated South Florida in 1992, she spearheaded a Hurricane Relief concert which raised $2 million for victims. The Estefan's also campaigned successfully for safer boating regulations after a tourist on a personal watercraft attempted to jump the wake of their boat, but instead flipped under the boat's propeller and was killed. The accident happened in 1995.

Her recordings include two Grammy-winning Spanish albums, "Mi Tierra" and "Abriendo Puertas." She recently released "90 Millas," which updates classic Cuban songs from the genres of son and bolero.

Gloria and her husband Emilio own the company Estefan Enterprises. They currently live in Miami on Star Island.
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Top Gloria Estefan Articles

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  • Gloria Estefan musical, 'On Your Feet!,' coming to Broadway in 2015

    Gloria Estefan musical, 'On Your Feet!,' coming to Broadway in 2015
    The rhythm is gonna get Broadway next year when a new musical based on the life of pop singer Gloria Estefan and her husband opens at the Marquis Theatre in New York. "On Your Feet!" is scheduled to begin previews in New York on Oct. 5. 2015,...
  • The 'Austrian Scorsese' sets his sights on South Florida

    The 'Austrian Scorsese' sets his sights on South Florida
    When Austrian video director Rudi Dolezal decided to buy a second home and expand his business in the United States, South Florida was his top choice. "I came to a point in Europe, having worked for Queen and the Rolling Stones, where my job started...
  • For Jon Secada, a sort of homecoming

    For Jon Secada, a sort of homecoming
    Thanks to a healthy lifestyle and strength training, Jon Secada says he's in the best shape of his life. The Latin crooner shows off his toned, muscular body in the video for his new single, "Never Too Far Away." In the video, which was filmed at the...
  • Gloria and Emilio Estefan Broadway bound

    Gloria and Emilio Estefan Broadway bound
    SoFlo's first family of music - Gloria and Emilio Estefan - just announced today that they are taking their songs and their story to Broadway. Teaming up with the Nederlander Organization, the dynamic duo say the musical will detail their journey from...
  • Best Of South Florida 2010: Food and Restaurants

    Best Of South Florida 2010: Food and Restaurants
    Sloan's (photo by Beth Black) BEST ICE CREAM PARLOR Sloan’s 329 Plaza Real, Boca Raton, 561-338-9887,¬†Sloansonline.com This Mizner Park ice cream parlor boasts some pretty creative alternatives to the standard chocolate, vanilla or strawberry...
  • Danation: Strike Up the Bland

    The Super Bowl debuted in 1967, and the organizers of the halftime show put together a slate of acts sure to wow audiences: the University of Arizona and Grambling State University marching bands, and the Anaheim High School Drill Team. Seriously. That...
  • A conversation with Girl Talk

    A conversation with Girl Talk
    Photo by Andrew Strasser “Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” blasts through the speakers. Ludacris raps, “Move, bitch, get out the way.” Cali Swag District begs, “Teach me how to Dougie.” MIA shows up to boast,...
  • South Florida has a boat ride and celebrity gossip for every taste

    South Florida has a boat ride and celebrity gossip for every taste
    MIAMI — We've got boat rides. We've got paddlewheelers and pirate ships, air boats and catamarans. Speedboats, glass-bottom boats, schooners, yachts and purpose-built tour boats. We've got fast rides, slow rides and hop-on, hop-off boat tours...
  • 'Dancing with the Stars' recap: Week 5, Latin night performances

    'Dancing with the Stars' recap: Week 5, Latin night performances
    Apparently, the ballroom was "shellshocked" by last week's bottom two. The ballroom needs to toughen up. Tonight is Latin night. I hope that doesn't mean every other dance is a rumba — booooorrrrring. ¬†We start with Carlos Santana performing "Evil...
  • WPT Hard Rock event adds more glitz, fan events

    WPT Hard Rock event adds more glitz, fan events
    A scavenger hunt. A social bar. Fan interaction with players. This is poker? The World Poker Tour has amped up its sideshow this year, which is saying something when you consider that in 2011 it rolled out shapely models in tight dresses called “...
  • Chicago's top celebrity hangouts in 2011

    Chicago's top celebrity hangouts in 2011
    If any of us wondered if celebrities would still visit Chicago after “The Oprah Winfrey Show” ended in May, we now have our answer. Chicago is still a popular destination for film projects — which this year included “Man of...