GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY winner Gloria Estefan recently visited The Recording Academy's headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif., to participate in an exclusive GRAMMY.com interview. Estefan discussed her recent release, The Standards, the Great American Songbook and recording hit songs such as "1-2-3," "Here We Are" and "Get On Your Feet," among other topics.
"All those songs that I sang were songs that I would have loved to have written," said Estefan on pulling from the Great American Songbook for The Standards. "I admire them, and to me, in my life, songs have been the stars. .. Some of these melodies just take my heart and squeeze it into a ball, and it's crucial for me to do them justice."
Born in Havana and raised in Miami, Estefan first emerged as part of the group Miami Sound Machine, fronted by her future husband, Emilio Estefan. The group's English-language debut, 1985's Primitive Love, reached No. 23 on the Billboard 200 on the strength of hits such as "Words Get In The Way" and "Falling In Love (Uh-Oh)." Miami Sound Machine followed with 1987's Let It Loose, which reached No. 6 and featured hits such as "1-2-3," "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You" and "Anything For You," which garnered Estefan her first GRAMMY nomination for Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal.
Estefan's debut album under her own name, 1989's Cuts Both Ways, peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard 200 and garnered Estefan a second GRAMMY nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female for "Don't Wanna Lose You." Estefan's subsequent releases included Into The Light (1991, No. 5), Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me (1994, No. 9) and Mi Tierra (1993, No. 27). The latter, Estefan's first U.S. Spanish-language album, won Best Tropical Latin Album honors at the 36th Annual GRAMMY Awards [link to page] in 1994. To date, Estefan has earned two additional GRAMMY Awards, the most recent coming in 2000 for Best Traditional Tropical Latin Album for Alma Caribeña. In addition, she's garnered three Latin GRAMMY Awards, including most recently in 2008 for Best Traditional Tropical Album for 90 Milas.
Released on Sept. 10, The Standards features Estefan's interpretations of 12 Great American Songbook standards, including George and Ira Gershwin's "How Long Has This Been Going On," featuring GRAMMY-nominated saxophone player Dave Koz, and Charlie Chaplin, Geoffrey Parsons and Josh Turner's "Smile" (which appears on the album as "Sonríe"), featuring Laura Pausini. The album also features "The Day You Say You Love Me," which was co-written by Estefan and features Joshua Bell. Produced by Emilio Estefan, the album peaked at No. 20 on the Billboard 200.
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