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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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  • Simon Cowell may leave British 'X Factor' to focus on Fox version

     
    Is Simon Cowell quitting "The X-Factor" in the UK?...
  • Friday's Talk Shows

     
    Click here to download TV listings for the week of April 10 - 16 in PDF format TV listings for the week of April 10 - 16 in PDF format (from latimes.com/entertainment/news/tv) Weekly TV Listings and more can be found......
  • Helen Mirren to host opening night at the Hollywood Bowl

     
    Hollywood Bowl opening night to feature Helen Mirren...
  • Music review: Opening night at the Hollywood Bowl

     
    Gloria Estefan and Harry Connick Jr. were honored at the Hollywood Bowl Friday on the opening night of the venue's season....
  • Star sightings: Dee Snider, Gloria Estefan at Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights

     
    Famous faces are showing up at Universal's Halloween Horror Nights. Rocker Dee Snider of Twisted Sister fame mingles with blood-thirsty banshees in the Nightingales: Blood Prey haunted house. Singer Gloria Estefan gets into the spirit of things at the...
  • Billy Bob Thornton's daughter gets 20 years in godchild's death

     
    Billy Bob Thornton's estranged daughter Amanda Brumfield was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the 2008 death of her 1-year-old goddaughter. Billy Bob Thornton reportedly hadn't talked to Amanda Brumfield for "a substantial number of years," his rep...
  • VIPs expected to attend launch

     
    Among people expected to check out today's launch of space shuttle Atlantis up close and personal are the Florida governor, singer Gloria Estefan and several members of the Kennedy family. Also on the VIP list: Elected officials Florida Lieutenant...
  • Tuesday's TV Talk Shows

     
    The Early Show (N) 7 a.m. KCBS Today “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” (N) 7 a.m. KNBC KTLA Morning News (N) 7 a.m. KTLA Good Morning America (N) 7 a.m. KABC Good Day L.A. (N) 7 a.m. KTTV Rachael......
  • Tuesday's Talk Shows

     
    Click here to download TV listings for the week of Sept. 25 - Oct. 1 in PDF format TV listings for the week of Sept. 25 - Oct. 1 in PDF format (from latimes.com/entertainment/news/tv) Weekly TV Listings and more can......
  • Thursday's TV Highlights: 'Community' on NBC

     
    TV Highlights Community NBC...
  • Thursday's TV Talk Shows

     
    Click here to download TV listings for the week of Oct. 9 - 15 in PDF format TV listings for the week of Oct. 9 - 15 in PDF format (from latimes.com/entertainment/news/tv) Weekly TV Listings and more can be found......
  • Us Open Kicks Off Under The Stars

    Mayor Bloomberg kicked off the 2010 US Open with a special ceremony, honoring those who dream, succeed, and inspire. Among the honorees is local tennis star, James Blake and Dutch wheelchair tennis star Esther Vergeer. James Blake was recognized for...