Who Is Luis Fonsi?
Born in Puerto Rico, when Luis Fonsi was 10 years old he moved with his family to Orlando, Florida, where he continued to develop his love of music, singing and playing the guitar and piano. In 1995, Fonsi won a full scholarship to Florida State University School of Music where he majored in vocal performance. Universal Music Latin signed him to a record deal and released his first album in 1998. Comenzaré (I Will Begin) was a critical and commercial hit that set him firmly on his career path. Fonsi has since released another seven studio albums and toured all over the world, but it was the 2017 single “Despacito” that has made him a worldwide star.
Fonsi was born in Puerto Rico to Alfonso Rodriguez and Delia "Tata" Lopez-Cepero and has three younger siblings: Jean Rodríguez, Tatiana Rodríguez and Ramon do Salotti. From a very young age, Fonsi loved music and had dreamed about becoming a member of Menudo (likely Latin America's most famous boy band in history).
Upon moving to Florida, Fonsi had to settle for participating in many local boy bands, including Big Guys, where he met and became lifelong friends with future 'N Sync member Joey Fatone. In 1995, Fonsi enrolled at Florida State University to study music. He also joined the school's choir and sang with the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. He traveled around the world as part of the school’s choir team and recorded several demos, which eventually led to a recording contract with Universal Music Latin.
'Despacito' Makes History
Released in January 2017, Fonsi’s song, “Despacito,” featuring Daddy Yankee, became the inescapable pop juggernaut of the year, topping the charts in nearly 50 countries, including an unprecedented run on the U.S. Top 40 for a Spanish-language song. By August, the hit song became the most watched video — ever — on YouTube, with four-and-a-half billion views and counting — and it reached that milestone faster than any music video in history. It is also the most streamed song in history. In April, when pop superstar Justin Bieber contacted Fonsi about doing a remix, he jumped at the offer. “All he did was add his texture, he added a verse in the beginning in English,” Fonsi told Billboard.com. “I think it’s amazing that such a big worldwide act wanted to sort of appeal to the Latin audience, so I tip my hat off to him. And I think it added a different layer to a song that was already big, and so I’m really grateful that he believed in the song.”
At the Latin Grammys on November 16, 2017, the tune won both Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Its remix won the award for Best Urban Fusion/Performance. It has been nominated for Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for the 2018 Grammy Awards, while the original version earned a nomination for Song of the Year.
If “Despacito” were to win the Grammy for song of the year, it would make history as the first Spanish-language song to do so. Except for Bieber’s intro, the song is almost entirely in Spanish. Despacito means “slowly,” but the song’s meteoric rise and crossover appeal has been just the opposite.
Puerto Rico Hurricane Recovery Effort
The now famous “Despacito” video was shot in La Perla, a historic Puerto Rican slum that Fonsi had been planning to help with improvements before Hurricane Maria slammed into the island as a Category 4 storm in September. The relief fund he started is now focused on rebuilding. “It’s a beautiful, colorful and vibrant barrio,” Fonsi said in an interview with etonline. “La Perla has always needed funding and help. I wanted to donate a music room, but now La Perla is pretty much gone. It’s devastating.”
In October, the singer enlisted some of his celebrity friends, including Chayanne, Ricky Martin and Nicky Jam, to travel with him to the shattered island where they helped deliver generators, water, clothing, food and baby items.
Personal Life and Wife
On June 3, 2006, Fonsi married actress Adamari Lopez in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. The couple announced their split in a joint statement in November 2009; they were officially divorced in 2010. Fonsi married Spanish model Agueda López in Napa Valley on September 10, 2014. They have a daughter, Mikaela, who was born on December 20, 2011; their son, Rocco, was born exactly five years later on December 20, 2016.
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