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Gloria Estefan

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Miami, United States (1975 – present)

Gloria Estefan (born Gloria María Fajardo, September 1, 1957, in Havana, Cuba) is a seven-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, actress and social activist. Known as the “Queen of Latin Pop”, she in the top 100 best-selling music artists with over 100 million albums sold worldwide, 31.5 million of those in the United States. Estefan is the most successful crossover performer in Latin music to date.

Beginning her career in 1975 as lead vocalist for the then exclusively Spanish-language band, Miami Sound Machine, before crossing over to mainstream pop success with the international hit singles “Dr. Beat” (1984) and “Conga” (1986), Estefan emerged as one of the biggest new stars in the mid-’80s, predating the still nascent Latin pop explosion by a decade, and scoring a series of propulsive dance hits rooted in the rhythms of her native Cuba, before shifting her focus to softer, more ballad-oriented fare.

Born in Havana, Cuba, the young Gloria Fajardo was raised primarily in Miami, FL, after her father, a bodyguard of Cuban president Fulgencio Batista, was forced to flee the island following the 1959 coup helmed by Fidel Castro. In the fall of 1975, Fajardo and her cousin Merci Murciano auditioned for the Miami Latin Boys, a local wedding band headed by keyboardist Emilio Estefan.

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