Miami Sound Machine
A Cuban-American of Lebanese descent, musician and producer Emilio Estéfan Jr. gained his first brush toward fame as part of the 1980s popular band Miami Sound Machine, along with wife Gloria and Cristina Saralegui’s future husband Marcos Avila. Thanks to such monster hits as “Get on Your Feet” and “Conga,” the group cemented their position as a major international band. The recipient of the 1999 ALMA Lifetime Achievement Award, Emilio, however, is currently better recognized as the producer of many prominent singers, including Shakira and Jennifer Lopez.
Outside the limelight, Emilio is widely known as the husband of famous singer Gloria Estefan. Married in 1978, the two share two children, Nayib and Emily. In 1998, Emilio and Gloria won the court case for the right to utilize the name Bongo Cuban Cafe for the cafe they own in Disney World. They were litigated by makers of Bongo blue jeans for trademark encroachment.
Father of 2
Childhood and Family:
Emilio Estefan Jr. was born on March 4, 1953 in Havana, Cuba. In 1975, he met Gloria Estefan, then Gloria Fajardo, and they became romantically involved a year later. On September 2, 1978, the two got married, a year after Gloria joined Emilio’s band, Miami Sound Machine. They have two children, Nayib (born September 2, 1980) and Emily Marie (born December 5, 1994). Currently, Emilio and his family reside in Star Island near Miami.
Born in Cuba, Emilio Estefan Jr. immigrated to the Unite States when he was 15. He lived in an apartment with 15 family members and supported himself by running odd jobs for neighbors, using an old car. He then started to work at local beauty contests, and at Bacardi, in which he was hired as a mailroom worker. He was soon promoted to the company’s Latin marketing department.
However, Emilio’s true love remained with music. He formed a band named “Miami Latin Boys” and it found success on private parties and events around Miami. It was while at an event in 1975 that he met the soon-to-be-wife Gloria Fajardo, who joined the band in 1977. Renamed Miami Sound Machine, the group, where Emilio played the accordion, reached an international success in the early 1980s with such hit songs as “Conga” and “Get on Your Feet” that became the chart-topping singles in many countries. Miami Sound Machine earned victory after Emilio had singed them to an exclusive deal with CBS Records.
When his wife Gloria pursued a solo career, Emilio focused on music production. Gloria’s success made him a well-known producer among Hispanic singer, and he started to organize albums for a wide range of singers, including Shakira. By the late 1980s, the Estefans already had a mansion in one of Miami’s exclusive neighborhoods’ and Emilio owned a studio. Since then, Emilio has made a name for himself as the producer of numerous renowned singers.
In 2002, Emilio began to produce the Latin Grammy Awards, an annually ceremony that is televised. On August 24, 2005, he and celebrated rap tycoon P. Diddy declared the mutual creation of a new record label, in order to help Hispanic rap singers. Three months later, Emilio announced that he will serve as executive producer for Jennifer Lopez’s first Spanish album called “Como Ama Una Mujer,” slated for February 2007 release.
On March 13, 2006, HarperCollins Publishers announced the upcoming publication of Emilio’s how-to and memoir, entitled Think Big!: If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.
- ALMA: Lifetime Achievement, 1999
- CableACE: Music Special, Gloria Estefan: Coming Home, 1993