Estefan, Emilio, Jr.
- Mario Rey
(b Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, March 4, 1953). Cuban-American musician, songwriter, bandleader, and producer. Estefan immigrated to the United States in 1968. A central figure in Latin pop, Estefan is the recipient of 19 Grammy Awards. Largely a self-taught accordionist and keyboardist, he formed his own group in Cuba, then continued his career in the United States, performing in various local clubs. In 1975 he founded the all-Spanish Miami Latin Boys, later renamed Miami Sound Machine with the introduction of lead vocalist Gloria Estefan, to whom he has been married since 1978. The group launched its recording career in 1976 with the Spanish-language album Renacer, but subsequently achieved a remarkably successful English-language crossover with the hit “Conga” (1986).
Estefan’s musical creativity engendered a hybrid style known as “the Miami Sound,” a danceable variety of Latin pop that synthesized American electronic music and pop with rock-influenced arrangements of Cuban rhythms. He thus defined the Cuban-American pop sound that would invade the musical mainstream in the 1980s and 1990s, and propel the “Latin Boom” into the international music scene....