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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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  • Obama celebrates 'flavor of other places'

     
    "The most beautiful things in this country have the flavor of other places.'' -- President Barack Obama, quoting Gloria Estefan. by Mark Silva The singer was among the president's guests at another musical evening at the White House last......
  • Thursday's TV Highlights: Officer down

     
    Click here to download TV listings for the week of Oct. 11 - 17 in PDF format This week's TV Movies POLICE SHOOTING: When one policeman kills another, Brass (Paul Guilfoyle, left), Nick (George Eads) and the team investigate in......
  • NBA launches comprehensive Hispanic marketing initiative

     
    Last week, the NFL refs announced penalties in Spanish for the benefit of the Hispanic Heritage Month celebration at the Miami Dolphins-New York Jets Monday Night Football game at Land Shark Stadium. The stadium took on a decidedly Latin flavor......
  • 'So You Think You Can Dance': lots of props, plenty of awesome dancing

     
    John-John Williams IV is in Chicago at a hotel that does not have Fox (to our disbelief). So I'm filling in and recapping a well-danced So You Think You Can Dance. There's new partnering tonight (again). Each pair will dance......
  • Four score and seven sandwiches ago

     
    No, Owl Meat didn't abandon us today. He's back with an even more Funtastic Thursday than usual.Here's Owlie...'Portrait of the Artist as a Funtastic Tyke. How adorable is Little Owl Meat? Look closely and you will see that I was......
  • Latin Grammys in Houston

    Thursday night's Latin Grammy Awards brings international attention to Houston, and all eyes were on the House of Blues Wednesday night for a kick off party with the stars. KIAH 39's Mia Gradney spoke with some of those stars on the red carpet. The...
  • Stars Spook Up Bette Midler's Annual Hulaween Bash

    NEW YORK - It was a 'who's that?' affair at Bette Midler's annual Hulaween Gala Friday at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Stars, some unrecognizable, spooked it up at the annual event that benefits the New York Restoration Project. The Divine Ms. M.,...
  • Cuban bassist Cachao dies; mambo pioneer

    Cuban bassist and composer Israel "Cachao" Lopez, who is credited with pioneering the mambo style of music, died Saturday. He was 89. Known simply as Cachao, the Grammy-winning musician had fallen ill in the past week and died surrounded by family...
  • El amor eterno de Shaila

    El amor eterno de Shaila
    Shaila Dúrcal lleva a cuestas a un ángel que la ha iluminado desde que decidió lanzarse al ruedo musical como solista. Ese ángel es su propia madre, Rocío Dúrcal, fallecida el 25 de marzo de 2006. Después de su pérdida, Shaila aprendió a caminar a...
  • Juanes sweeps Latin Grammys

    Juanes sweeps Latin Grammys
    Juanes has completed a sweep at the Latin Grammys in Houston by taking record of the year honors. By winning the top honor, the Colombian rocker brought his total for the night to five, including trophies for song of the year, album of the year, best...
  • Michael Phelps vs. Gloria Estefan

    He smashes records. He brings home more gold than any other Olympic athlete in history. He triggers global swoons every time he slips off his shirt. Michael Phelps not only hails from Baltimore, he also dolphin-kicked right back here after Beijing to...