Romantic balladeer Enrique Iglesias prayed as a child to become a popular singer, but his superstar father never knew about the young boy's ambition. When Iglesias was old enough to make an audition tape, he mailed the samples to prospective record companies under an assumed name, fearful of prejudice in light of his father's prominence in the recording industry. Talent and desire won out for Enrique Iglesias, and he signed a recording contract exclusively on his own merits, secure in the knowledge that he succeeded on talent and charisma and without the use of his well-connected surname. Iglesias's famous paternity became evident on the occasion of his first recorded release in 1995 under his true name of Iglesias. Regardless, the popular singer and songwriter settled into his career, confident in his ability to establish his own identity through his personal musical style and appeal.
Early Life and Career
Enrique Iglesias was born Enrique Miguel Iglesias Preysler in Madrid, Spain, on May 8, 1975. He was the youngest of six siblings, three boys and three girls. His parents, Isabel Preysler and Julio Iglesias, divorced in 1979. Iglesias continued to live in Madrid with his mother, a Philippine-born journalist, until the early 1980s, when Preysler received kidnap threats against her children. Reluctantly, she sent the youngsters to the United States to live in Miami, Florida, with their superstar father. In Florida, Iglesias became enamored with water sports, especially windsurfing; he also loved to water ski and scuba dive. By the time he was in his early teens, he made regular summer trips to Hawaii, where he lived a humble existence in a shack and spent his days windsurfing. Although the circumstances of his childhood kept him physically apart from his parents, the family nonetheless stayed in touch as much as was reasonably possible. His mother remained in Spain, while his father, an international singing idol, was seldom at home. In Miami, the children were raised almost exclusively by a nursemaid, Elvira Olivares, who took the family under her wing and loved the children as her own. Later, when Iglesias released his first record album, he dedicated the work lovingly to Olivares.
When Iglesias was grown, according to his parents' wishes, he enrolled at the University of Miami as a business administration student, but his career goal since childhood was to become a singer. Iglesias spent his free time practicing singing with friends, and he eventually made a demo tape and sent it to recording studios. Well aware of his father's notoriety in the music industry, he sent the audition tapes under the name of Enrique Martinez to ensure that he would be assessed on his own merit rather than on the basis of his famous father's reputation. When executives at Fonovisa Records heard Iglesias' audition tape in 1994, they signed him to a contract to record three albums. He subsequently abandoned his studies at the university, to his father's dismay, and it was only after the deal was finalized that Julio Iglesias learned of his son's impending career as a recording artist. The younger Iglesias was nonetheless gratified in the knowledge that he secured the contract on his own initiative.
He set a bustling pace during the ensuing years and released six albums in less than five years, each of which sold in phenomenal numbers. A songwriter as well as a crooner, Iglesias wrote many of the songs that he recorded. Fonovisa released Iglesias's debut album of romantic ballads in October of 1995. The Spanish-language album, entitled Enrique Iglesias, was a number-one best seller in the Latin music arena and sold nearly three million copies within a matter of weeks. By the end of 1997, worldwide sales figures for the album were reported at six million copies, including sales of nearly one-and-one-half million copies in the United States alone.
The debut album featured a hit single, "Si Tu Te Vas (If You Leave)," that zoomed into a top-ten position on the record charts. Although Iglesias preferred to distance himself from the legacy of his father, it was an unavoidable issue for critics to compare the two; and comparisons resounded more freely because a song by the elder Iglesias was on the record charts simultaneously with that of the younger. Julio Iglesias's song was far less popular, however, and held a slot at number 17 while "Si Tu Te Vas" held the number-six position. In the light of critical comparison, Iglesias asserted that but for the surname and familial relationship, his own singing bore no resemblance to that of his father. Nevertheless, an undeniable reality surfaced--that both singers possessed extraordinary romantic appeal for female audiences. Belinda Luscombe of Time commented further that the father-and-son pair shared a "certain musk-scented vocal quality," while the younger Iglesias struggled to assert himself as an individual. Peter Castro quoted him in People, "I'm very proud of my father, but when you read Billboard now, you see Enrique Iglesias."
Enrique Iglesias's second album, Vivir, was released in the fall of 1997 and sold four million copies by the end of that year, including 1.1 million in the United States. Also in 1997, Iglesias toured the Americas and Spain. His third album (and third Spanish-language release), Cosas Del Amor, appeared in music stores on September 22, 1998. Despite his hesitation to record in English, Iglesias's popularity suffered no handicap due to language barrier. He received extensive media coverage in the United States as well as in other non-Spanish-speaking countries. While the largest base of his popularity remained in Mexico and Argentina, he secured guest spots on both the Late Show with David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and released an Italian-language recording in 1996.
Released First Album in English
By the time Iglesias released an English-language recording, he had made 190 television appearances in 23 countries and had sold 13 million albums worldwide. Iglesias released "Bailamos (We Dance)," his first English-language release, in 1999 as part of the soundtrack to a movie starring Will Smith and Kevin Kline called Wild Wild West. When Smith solicited a recorded contribution from Iglesias for the Overbrook/Interscope movie soundtrack, Iglesias turned to an earlier recording that he had never released to any record label. Iglesias offered the recording to Universal Music Group/Interscope for the movie soundtrack, and the record company not only liked the song but also proceeded to sign Iglesias to a six-album recording contract, including three Spanish albums and three in English. That episode was a milestone in Iglesias's career, marking the point where he crossed over effectively from the Latino musical genre and into the generic popular styles. Additionally, the $44 million contract, for six albums moved Iglesias into the forefront among the highest-paid Latino artist of the times. "Bailamos," released as a single, rapidly sped its way to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in early September of 1999.
By the end of the decade, 11 of Iglesias's single releases held a spot at number one among a total of 19 countries. He secured 116 platinum records and 26 international awards, including a Grammy for Best Latin Pop Performance in 1997 and an American Music Award. He was a two-time recipient of Billboard's Latin Music Award as the Hot Latin Tracks Artist of the Year. He was not yet 30, but his image had appeared on 250 magazine covers.
In 1998 Iglesias secured the title of People en Espanol's "sexiest man," yet for all his charm he maintained that he wrote his best song material when he was mooning over a romantic breakup. Although he earned a reputation as a sloppy dresser--complete with five-o'clock shadow and oftentimes grungy attire--press relations notwithstanding there was nothing that hampered his image as a ladies' man. Iglesias's managers meanwhile bemoaned the fact that their client was somewhat given to risk-taking, especially when he required 40 stitches in his head following a water-skiing accident in 1998 when he slammed into a mangrove tree.
In the late 1990s and 2000s, Iglesias released music in both the English and Spanish languages. "Hero," the first single on his album Escape, which was released in 2001, became the number-one hit in the United Kingdom. The singles "Escape" and "Don't Turn Off the Lights" topped the charts in the United States. The album' success led Iglesias to embark on his One-Night Stand World Tour, in which he performed in 50 sold-out shows in 16 countries.
The year 2002 marked the release of Iglesias's Spanish-speaking album Quizas, for which Iglesias won a Latin Grammy Award for Best Make Pop Vocal. The album' title track is a song about the singer's troubled relationship with his father. Quizas sold a million copies in one week. The last single on the album "Para Que la Vida" was played on U.S. radio a million times, the only Spanish song ever to reach this milestone.
Iglesias named his seventh album simply 7. This album featured the 1980s-inspired hits "Roamer" and "Be Yourself." The success of 7 led to the largest tour to date for Iglesias, who launched the tour with 12 shows in the United States. The singer then performed in Australia, India, Egypt, Singapore, and South Africa. Iglesias named his next album Insomniac because it was recorded mostly at night. This album featured the hit "Do You Know? (The Ping Pong Song)" as well as the popular single " Push" and "Tired of Being Sorry," a collaboration with rapper Lil' Wayne.
In 2008 and 2009, Iglesias released compilations of both his Spanish and English hits. Spanish Greatest Hits featured 19 songs, 17 of which reached number one on the Hot Latin Tracks charts. The album ranked number one on Billboard's Latin Album Chart and was certified double platinum in the United States. Iglesias released Greatest Hits in 2009. This album included singles that topped the charts in the United States and other English-speaking countries. Euphoria, released in 2010, was the singer' first bilingual album. It included the singles "Cuando Me Enamoro" and "I Like It." Iglesias performed at the 2011 Music Awards with rapper Ludacris. At the awards, Iglesias received a nomination for Favorite Latin Artist, but the award went to Jennifer Lopez.
Iglesias released four singles ("Loco," "Heart Attack," "El Perdedor," and "I'm a Freak") in 2013 to promote his new album. He released the bilingual album Sex and Love in 2014. He then embarked on a tour that lasted through 2015 to promote the album.
Born Enrique Miguel Iglesias Preysler, May 8, 1975, in Madrid, Spain; son of Madrid Preysler (a journalist) and Julio Iglesias (a singer). Education: Attended University of Miami.
Best Latin Pop Performance, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, 1997; Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Performance, 1997; VH1/Vogue Fashion Award, 2000; Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, 2008; numerous other awards, including American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, Billboard Latin Music Awards, Latin Grammy Awards, and World Music Awards.
- Enrique Iglesias(includes "Si Tu Te Vas"),Fonovisa, 1995.
- Version En Italiano, Fonovisa, 1996.
- Vivir, Fonovisa, 1997.
- Cosas Del Amor, Fonovisa, 1998.
- Bailamos, Fonovisa, 1999.
- Enrique, Interscope Records, 1999.
- Escape, Interscope, 2001.
- Quizas, Universal Music Latino, 2002.
- 7 Interscope, 2003.
- Insomniac, Interscope, 2007.
- Spanish Greatest Hits, 2008.
- Greatest Hits, 2009.
- Euphoria, Universal Republic, 2011.
- Sex and Love, Republic, 2014.
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