Cuban-born Emilio Estefan formed a band called the Miami Latin Boys in the 1970s. When singer Gloria Fajardo joined, they changed the name to the Miami Sound Machine (Estefan later married Fajardo). The group was a major success in the 1980s, with several hits, including "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You." Estefan has won multiple Grammy Awards and worked with other Latino superstars such as Ricky Martin and Marc Anthony. The couple recently produced a Broadway musical, On Your Feet!, featuring the Miami Sound Machine's popular songs.
Early Musical Success
Music producer and songwriter Emilio Estefan was born on March 4, 1953, in Havana, Cuba. Estefan moved to the United States as a teenager. His first instrument was the accordion, and he started his musical career playing in restaurants and for weddings and other events. While working for Bacardi Imports, the rum company, he formed a band called the Miami Latin Boys that played Cuban dance music. During one event, he met singer Gloria Fajardo and later recruited to her to join the band, which was renamed the Miami Sound Machine. The two became romantically involved and married in 1978.
The Miami Sound Machine found great success in the 1980s. After scoring hit records in other parts of the world, the band hit it big in the United States with the album, Primitive Love, (1985) with two songs making it to the Top 10 in the pop charts. And more hit songs "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You" among them followed on the next album, Let It Loose (1987). American fans enjoyed the band's energetic dance music and its gentle ballads.
Award-Winning Media Mogul
Estefan has been nominated for 30 Grammy Awards and has won the honor 19 times. Instrumental in the success of the Miami Sound Machine and his wife's solo career, the Grammy Award-winning producer and songwriter has also produced recordings for other Latino superstars, such as Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, Shakira and Celia Cruz. Through Estefan Enterprises, he has built an entertainment empire that employs more than 4,000 people. The company is involved in music production, television and film projects, restaurants and hotels, among other outlets. Estefan is well regarded by his peers in the entertainment industry. In 1999, Hispanic Business magazine included him on its list of 100 Most Influential Hispanics in the United States.
In November 2015, the longtime producer and his wife were both honored with the distinguished Presidential Medal of Freedom for their key contributions in bringing Latin sounds to the American mainstream and pop music. That same month, the Estefan-produced musical On Your Feet!, featuring the Miami Sound Machine songbook, opened on Broadway. The hit show's tagline sums it up nicely: "Her voice. His vision. Their story."
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