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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

Displaying items 56-66
  • 'Sesame Street,' 'Disney' Composer Arrested for Child Porn

    'Sesame Street,' 'Disney' Composer Arrested for Child Porn
    CHARLESTON, South Carolina -- Fernando Rivas, 59, an Emmy-award winning children's music composer, was arraigned on charges of production, distribution and possession of child pornography on Monday, court documents showed. Rivas, who graduated from the...
  • No 'signs of trauma,' but few other details on Whitney Houston's death

    No 'signs of trauma,' but few other details on Whitney Houston's death
    Questions swirled Sunday about what caused iconic singer Whitney Houston's sudden death, with authorities offering little information at a time when many were still struggling to come to groups with the news. While an autopsy was complete as of late...
  • Brooklyn Museum Reveals 'The Latino List'

    Brooklyn Museum Reveals 'The Latino List'
    PIX11's Lisa Mateo explored the Brooklyn Museum's "Latino List," in which visitors can be part of an interactive video display and learn more about an HBO documentary of the same name coming out later this month. This exhibition presents twenty-five...
  • 'The X-Factor' recap: Can the second episode outdo the premiere?

    'The X-Factor' recap: Can the second episode outdo the premiere?
    THE SKINNY: Have we been had? "The X-Factor" followed up a seriously stellar debut with a two-hour mess of talentless singers and worse. The supporters of the first episode should be worried. Was Thursday night the real "X-Factor" or just a momentary bump...
  • X Factor Auditions, Part Two: You're Embarrassing Your Family

    X Factor Auditions, Part Two: You're Embarrassing Your Family
    Resident X Factor expert Josh Ridgway will be blogging about the US version of The X Factor on FOX this season.  You can also follow Josh on Twitter: @JoshFactor. Night two of ‘The X Factor’ featured auditions from two of my favorite cities:...
  • Shakira es la Persona del Año de la Academia Latina

    Shakira es la Persona del Año de la Academia Latina
    Shakira será reconocida como la Persona Del Año 2011 de la Academia Latina de la Grabación, anunció el lunes la organización. Shakira, quien recibió tres nominaciones al Latin Grammy este año incluyendo álbum del año, fue elegida por sus destacados...
  • See what South Florida's Queen of Latin Pop, Gloria Estefan, has been up to through the years.

    See what South Florida's Queen of Latin Pop, Gloria Estefan, has been up to through the years.
  • 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,...
  • Pope Don't Want Nun

    Pope Don't Want Nun
    Pope Benedict (Ex-Vee-Eye) evicted a group of monks from a 500 year old monastery in Rome after they staged a concert featuring a lap dancer turned nun. When news reached the supreme pontiff, Benny blew his top. The Monastery of the Holy Cross in...
  • 'The Next' recap, Virginia's Jordan Baird wins Baltimore competition

    'The Next' recap, Virginia's Jordan Baird wins Baltimore competition
    Last month, the CW came to Baltimore to film an episode of its new reality singing competition, "The Next: Fame is at Your Doorstep." On it, Joe Jonas, Nelly, Gloria Estefan and John Rich took 72 hours to coach four unsigned  performers, who sang for a...
  • Allison Hagendorf Talks About Hosting New CW Talent Show 'The Next'

    Allison Hagendorf Talks About Hosting New CW Talent Show 'The Next'
    Allison Hagendorf, the host of "The Next" which airs on PIX11, stops by to talk about the show and we talks about her other talents. In each episode of THE NEXT, four music industry superstars -- Gloria Estefan, John Rich, Nelly, and Joe Jonas -- will...