Gloria Estefan

“You’ve got to believe. Never be afraid to dream.”

Gloria Estefan, Cuban-American singer and songwriter, 1957-present

Who better to represent Bal Harbour Village than the “Queen of Latin pop,” Gloria Estefan? With 38 number one hits on the Billboard charts, including 1985s “Conga,” her signature song, and 75 million records sold world-wide, she is one of the best-selling female artists of all time. 

Born in Cuba, Estefan’s family fled to Miami during the Cuban Revolution when she was just 2 years old. She originally studied psychology and French at the University of Miami, and was so proficient with languages that she worked at the airport as a French-English-Spanish translator. Estefan and her cousin Mercedes were guests at a wedding in 1975 and jumped up to sing a couple of Latin standards. The house band took notice, and invited  them to join, eventually forming The Miami Sound Machine, releasing their first album in 1977. In 1989, Estefan went solo with the hit “Anything for You.” In 1991 a tour bus accident left her with metal in her back and a full year of physical therapy, but she made a full recovery and went on to perform at the Superbowl in 1992. She and her husband, her “first boyfriend” Emilio Estefan, whom she met at a church ensemble rehearsal and was a fellow member of the Miami Sound machine with, have been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama for their contributions to American Music and each have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

But perhaps Estefan’s greatest contribution is that she opened the door to a whole generation of Hispanic singers who became superstars, such as Shakira, J. Lo and Ricky Martin. The unstoppable Estefan is still living the American Dream, branching out into books, restaurants and hotels, and continues to call Star Island, Florida, home.


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