Twenty years ago, Latin music king Enrique Iglesias released his chart-topping international platinum-selling fourth studio album, "Enrique," bringing us to the dance floor with hits like "Bailamos" and "Be With You" — the latter of which earned the singer, a native of Spain, a Grammy nomination for best dance recording. Since then, Enrique's gone on to win five Latin Grammys and release six more studio albums, including 2001's "Escape" and 2014's "Sex and Love." In honor of his fourth album's two-decade anniversary on Nov. 23, 2019, Wonderwall.com is taking a look at Enrique and all of the top Latin music stars. Keep reading for more…
Enrique Iglesias isn't the only member of his family with major music clout. Long before Enrique was a Grammy-winning singer, his father, Julio Iglesias, was making us swoon with his hit music. After debuting his first album, "Yo Canto," in 1969, Julio went on to release an astounding 61 studio albums in multiple languages, including 1981's "From a Child to a Woman," which was his first to make it onto the top U.S. charts. In 1988, Julio won his first and only Grammy Award for best Latin pop performance for his hit single "Un Hombre Solo." Throughout his 50-year career, he earned a total of seven grammy nods as well as the Latin Recording Academy's person of the year award in 2001. Even more impressive, in 2013, Julio earned an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records for becoming the bestselling Latin artist of all time. Although Julio hasn't released an album since 2015's "Mexico," the legend is still touring and performing live.
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There is no Latin recording artist more prolific than the queen of Tejano music, Selena Quintanilla-Perez. Known on stage simply as Selena, the young singer began her career in music at the tender age of 10, performing with her family's band, Selena y Los Dinos, across their home state of Texas before releasing the first of six albums, "Mis Primeras Grabaciones," in 1984. By 1989, Selena was ready to embark on a solo career, releasing her first eponymous album that same year. Four more studio albums and three live albums followed, including "Selena Live!" in 1993, which earned her her first and only Grammy Award the following year. Sadly, on March 31, 1995, Selena was shot and killed by her fan club manager, Yolanda Saldivar, during a confrontation in a Corpus Christi motel. Less than four months later, Selena's fifth and final studio album, "Dreaming of You," was released — marking what was supposed to be the singer's entrance into the mainstream American music world. The album was Selena's highest performing, going double platinum shortly after its release. On Nov. 3, 2017, Selena was given a posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to honor her legacy as one of Latin music's top stars.
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If any Latin recording artist makes us wanna shake our bon-bons, it's Grammy-winning Puerto Rican superstar Ricky Martin. Before claiming his musical throne, Ricky was a child actor who appeared in commercials, a talent that led him to a coveted spot in the Puerto Rican boy band Menudo, which traditionally replaced its singers when they reached 16. Ricky stayed with Menudo until he was 18, finally departing in 1989. He spent the next two years gearing up to release his debut solo album in 1991. Three years and one more album later, Ricky still hadn't found international fame, so he added TV soap opera star to his resume with a recurring role as Miguel Morez on the daytime drama "General Hospital." Ricky left the show a year later to promote his third studio album, "Me Amaras" — the first to break into the top music charts around the world, reaching No. 11 on the U.S. Latin albums chart. Seven more studio albums followed, including his 1999 masterpiece "Ricky Martin," which included songs like "Livin' La Vida Loca," "She's All I Ever Had" and "Shake Your Bon-Bon." Over Ricky's career, he's earned seven Grammy nominations and won one award and taken home three Latin Grammy Awards. In 2010, after years of speculation about Ricky's sexuality, he came out as a gay man in a heartfelt letter on his website. Today, Ricky's a happily married father of four.
Grammy and Latin Grammy-winning singer Shakira is one of the fiercest ladies in music around the world. The Colombian powerhouse, known for her unique vocal range and mesmerizing belly dance moves, has released 11 studio albums and five live albums throughout her nearly 30-year music career, and that's not including all of the many collaborations she's worked on with other artists. Some of Shakira's biggest hits include 2001's "Whenever, Wherever," 2005's "La Tortura," 2006's "Hips Don't Lie" and 2010's "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)." In 2019, Shakira — who's a mom of two with her longtime partner, pro soccer player Gerard Pique — released her latest album, "Shakira in Concert: El Dorado World Tour." In February 2020, she'll perform during the Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show.
Long before mainstream America knew Marc Anthony as the singing ex-husband of Jennifer Lopez or the star of films like "Man on Fire" and "El cantante," he was an international Latin music star. After making his musical debut in 1991, Marc went on to release 13 studio albums; his eponymous fifth album was also his first English-language album as well as his first to go platinum. Known for hit songs like "Y Hubo Alguien," "Dímelo," "You Sang to Me," "Ahora Quien" and his 1999 duet with J.Lo, "No Me Ames," Marc has racked up eight Grammy nominations and two wins as well as won six Latin Grammy Awards throughout his career. In 2019, Marc released his latest album, "Opus," and toured North America to support it. Marc amicably split from Jennifer, his third wife with whom he shares twins, in 2011. He's since gone on to marry and divorce wife No. 4, model Shannon de Lima.
Speaking of Jennifer Lopez, we'd be remiss not to include this gorgeous and talented triple threat on our list. After beginning her career as a dancer and actress, Jennifer was inspired to release her own music after her breakthrough portrayal of slain Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez in the 1996 biopic "Selena." In 1999, Jennifer released debut album "On the Six," which included hits like "Waiting for Tonight" and "Let's Get Loud" — both of which were nominated for Grammy Awards. The album went triple platinum and reached No. 8 on the Billboard 200, setting the bar high for her future music. Jenny from the block's gone on to release seven more albums, including 2001's"J.Lo," which broke through the top 5 in nine international markets and reached No. 1 in five countries. In addition to touring for her music and landing a Las Vegas residency in 2016, J.Lo's also served as a judge on "American Idol," launched successful fashion and beauty brands and maintained an active Hollywood film and television career. In 2019, she became engaged to former professional baseball player Alex Rodriguez.
Four-time Latin Grammy-winning reggaeton and rap star Daddy Yankee blazed onto the scene in 1995 with debut album "No Mercy," but it wasn't until 2004's "Barrio Fino" that the Puerto Rican performer began receiving attention around the world. Featuring songs like "No Me Dejes Solo" and "Gasolina," the album sold over 1 million copies and reached No. 1 on the U.S. Latin chart, launching him into a new realm of stardom. Since then, he's released five more albums — including his Grammy-nominated fourth studio album, "El Cartel: The Big Boss" — and collaborated on other artists' songs, including Luis Fonsi and Justin Bieber's 2017 hit "Despacito," which earned Daddy Yankee three more Grammy nods.
By now, most fans know Cardi B isn't just a chart-topping female rap star — she's also a proud Latina who infuses Spanish lyrics into many of her hit songs. After appearing on the music scene in 2016 with her mixtape "Gangsta B—h Music, Vol. 1," Cardi quickly gained a strong fan base and in 2018 released her debut studio album "Invasion of Privacy." The album, which featured tracks like "Bartier Cardi," "Bodak Yellow" and "I Like It," went triple platinum, peaking at No. 1 in the U.S. and Canada. It also earned her seven Grammy nominations and one win, for best rap album in 2019. Cardi's second studio album is slated for release in 2020.
Described as Latin trap, Colombian singer Maluma's popular music blends reggaeton, rap, pop and both Spanish and English to create a sound that is uniquely his. Making his debut in 2012 with his freshman album "Magia," Maluma — who was born Juan Luis Londoño Arias — gained international acclaim in 2015 with his sophomore work, "Pretty Boy, Dirty Boy." The album featured songs like "El Tiki" and "Borro Cassette," which helped it climb to No. 2 in Mexico and Spain and No. 1 on the U.S. Latin charts. Since then, Maluma's released two more albums, 2018's "F.A.M.E.," which won him a Latin Grammy, and 2019's "11:11" (both peaked at No. 1 on the U.S. Latin charts).
With the help of her band, the Miami Sound Machine, Cuban American singer Gloria Estefan ushered in a new era of Latin-inspired crossover music to mainstream America. Following their eponymous 1980 album, the band soon earned worldwide acclaim in 1985 with their Spanish-English studio album "Primitive Love," which featured hit songs "Conga" and "Words Get in the Way." The next album, "Let it Loose," came two years later, bringing the band their first Grammy nomination for best pop performance for the Spanish-English version of their song "Anything For You." By 1989, Gloria was ready to embark on a solo career, releasing her triple-platinum debut album "Cuts Both Ways" the same year. Her most popular work would arrive four years later with 1993's 16-times platinum third studio album, "Mi Tierra," which reached No. 1 in the States and in Spain and earned Gloria her first Grammy Award for best tropical Latin album. Since then, Gloria's released 10 additional studio albums, four EPs and more compilations than we can count. She's also won two more Grammys and three Latin Grammys over the course of her career.
To speak of Latin music legends is to say the name Carlos Santana. Since the 1960s — when the iconic Mexican American guitarist formed the band Santana — Carlos has electrified listeners around the world with his Latin-inspired rock 'n' roll sound. With his band, Carlos released 25 studio albums, including 1999's massive hit "Supernatural," which featured hit songs "Maria Maria" and "Smooth" and shot to No. 1 around the world, going platinum in multiple international markets before being certified diamond in the States. On his own, Carlos has also done impressive work, releasing seven studio albums, three live albums and collaborating with artists from around the globe. His accolades, which include 10 Grammys, three Latin Grammys and the band's 1998 induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, are proof the man — and his band — are worthy of their iconic status.
After rising to fame as part of the girl group Fifth Harmony from 2012 to 2016, Mexican and Cuban American singer Camila Cabello launched a solo career in 2018 with her debut studio album, "Camila." The album — which included hit singles like "Havana" and "Consequences" — landed in the top five on music charts across eight countries, peaking at No. 1 in the U.S., Canada and Sweden. Since then, Camila's earned two Grammy nods, one Latin Grammy win and the heart of another famous singer, Shawn Mendes. Camila's sophomore album, "Romance," comes out on Dec. 6, 2019.
Fans of Latin trap and reggaeton know Bad Bunny is one of the best. The Puerto Rican performer had an explosive debut in 2018 with freshman album "X 100pre," which featured songs like "Estamos Bien" and "Mia." The album shot to No. 1 on the U.S. Latin charts. Bunny followed his success with "Oasis" in 2019, a collaborative work with artist J Balvin. The album featured tracks like "La Cancion" and "Yo Le Yego," helping him once again reach No. 1 on the top Latin charts. In less than two years, Bad Bunny went from being a relatively unknown performer to a Grammy-nominated artist transforming the landscape of Latin music.
One of the newest artists on our list is Mexican American singer and former YouTube star Becky G. After launching her career by singing covers of popular songs, Becky made her official debut in 2013 with the release of the EP "Play it Again," which featured the song "Can't Get Enough" with rapper Pitbull. Becky's also an accomplished actress who's appeared on TV shows like "Empire" and in films like "Power Rangers" and "Gnome Alone." In 2019, Becky debuted her first studio album, "Mala Santa." The album included songs like "Dollar," "Cuando Te Bese" and one with Bad Bunny, "Mayores." Not only is Becky G busy with her own music, but she's been a featured artist on several other performers' songs, including Pitbull's "Mala" and Zayn's "Un Mundo Ideal" from the "Aladdin" soundtrack.
Although some may only know Puertorriqueño hottie Luis Fonsi from his wildly popular collaboration "Despacito" with Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber, he's actually been a major figure in Latin music for decades. In 1998, Luis debuted his first album, "Comenzaré," which featured passionate songs like "Por Ella" and "Tu Calor." Eight more albums followed over the next two decades, including 2008's "Palabras del Silencio," which shot to No. 1 in the U.S., Spain and Mexico. Over more than two decades, Luis has won three Latin Grammys — including two for "Despacito" — and earned four Grammy nominations, and he's not done yet. In 2019, Luis released the album "Vida," which includes collaborations with popular artists like Ozuna and Demi Lovato and earned another Grammy nod.
We've mentioned his name several times already but four-time Latin Grammy-winning rapper J Balvin also deserves his own spot on our list. The Colombian reggaeton singer, known for songs like "X" and "Mi Gente," debuted his first studio album, "Real," in 2009 but didn't receive critical acclaim until his third album, "La Familia," in 2013. Since then, J's released three more albums — all of which have landed at No. 1 on the U.S. Latin charts — including 2019's "Oasis" with Bad Bunny. He also collaborated with another singer on our list, Cardi B, for her 2018 hit "I Like It" — which earned him his first Grammy nomination.
Four years after the death of Selena, a young Mexican American singer by the name of Jenni Rivera made her entrance into the world of banda, mariachi, ranchera and norteña music with her 1999 debut album, "If You Want to See Me Cry." Although it wasn't her most successful effort, it launched a 14-year career that would bring us 11 additional albums, two re-released albums, eight live albums and numerous compilations. Jenni earned the nickname La Diva de la Banda and acclaim as one of the most talented regional singers of the decade throughout Mexico and the States. Sadly, in 2012, while flying home from a concert in Monterey, Mexico, Jenni — just 43 at the time — died in a plane crash along with six other passengers.
They call Ozuna the new king of reggaeton and we can't help but agree. This talented Puerto Rican artist made his music debut in 2017 with the release of the album "Odisea," which featured songs like "El Farsante," "Se Preparo" and a collaboration with J Balvin, "Quiero Repetir." The following year, Ozuna dropped his sophomore album, "Aura," which rose to No. 1 on the U.S. Latin charts and No. 7 on the Billboard 200, thanks to songs like "Vaina Loca" and his collaboration with Cardi B, "La Modela." In 2019, it was revealed that Ozuna's next album will be called "Nibiru."
Known as the forefather of Chicano music, Mexican American rock 'n' roll star Ritchie Valens is also a legend, despite only having an eight-month-long music career. Discovered while still in high school, Ritchie — whose real name was Richard Valenzuela — was signed to Del-Fi records in 1958 and went on to record several hit singles, including "Donna," "Come On, Let's Go" and, perhaps his most famous, "La Bamba." Sadly, before his debut record was released, Ritchie died at 17 in a February 1959 plane crash along with musicians J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson and Buddy Holly, earning the date the nickname "The Day the Music Died." In 1987, the movie "La Bamba," which was based on Ritchie's life, debuted in theaters, preserving his legacy as one of the first Latin recording artists to break into rock music.
Singer and songwriter Thalía was a child actress long before she became the queen of Latin pop music. Appearing on TV shows like "Quinceanera" and "Maria Mercedes," Thalía rose to international acclaim following the release of her fourth studio album, "En éxtasis" — her first album with EMI and also the first to be released outside of her native Mexico. Featuring songs like "Piel Morena" and "Gracias a Dios," Thalía found a new fan base in America. Eleven more studio albums and two live albums followed, including her most successful to date, 2000's "Arrasando," which was released the same year she married Tommy Mottola, the former head of Sony Music Entertainment.
You might be surprised to learn that Mexican actor, filmmaker and Mariachi star Vicente Fernández was one of the musical inspirations for the movie character Ernesto de la Cruz in Disney-Pixar's hit 2017 film "Coco." Vicente, who's now retired, rose to superstardom beginning in 1965 with the release of his debut album, "A Pesar de Todo." A jaw-dropping 61 more albums followed, including "Lastima Que Seas Ajena," "Lobo Herido" and "Más Con El Número Uno," all of which earned Grammy nominations for best Mexican American album. Along with being known for his magnificent sombreros and deep, resonant voice, Vicente was also a Mexican film star, appearing in movies from 1969 to 1991. Throughout the course of his career, Vicente has earned three Grammys, eight Latin Grammys and the adoration of several generations of music lovers who know him simply as El Rey de la Música Ranchera (the king of ranchera music).
We go from the king of rancheras to the queen of salsa… Cuban singer and actress Celia Cruz remains one of the most idolized Latin recording artists ever, and for good reason. After making her debut in the 1957 film "Affair in Havana," Celia quickly landed a recording contract that led to her first studio album, "Cuba's Foremost Rhythm Singer," the following year. Celia went on to release 67 albums during her life, including the Grammy-nominated "Eternos," "Tremendo Trio," "The Winners," "Azucar Negra" and "Mi Vida es Cantar." The formidable singer — who was known for her grand smile, colorful hairstyles and wild fashion — would ultimately win three Grammys and four Latin Grammys before her 2003 death from cancer.
Another Cuban American superstar to make our list is Latin Grammy-winning rapper Pitbull, who made his musical debut in 2004 with first album "M.I.A.M.I.," which climbed to No. 2 on the U.S. rap chart. Ten studio works and one soundtrack album followed, including 2011's "Planet Pit," his second-biggest-selling album. Known for songs like "I Know You Want Me" and "International Love," Pitbull reached a new level of fame in 2015 after winning a Grammy for his ninth studio album, "Dale" — named after a phrase he made popular in many of his songs. In 2019, Pitbull released his latest album, "Libertad 548," which was named for the number of Cuban refugees Pitbull's father led to freedom in the States during the famed Mariel boatlift of 1980.
Last but not least on our list is the recently departed José Rómulo Sosa Ortiz, better known by his stage name, José José, and his nickname, the Prince of Song. A Mexican actor and singer, José José made his musical debut in 1969 with his eponymous first album (also known as "Cuidado"). A remarkable 34 albums followed, including his most famous, the 1983 hit "Secretos," which — with the help of songs like "Lo Dudo" and "Entre Ella y Tu" — went on to earn him his first of six Grammy nominations. After 50 years in the industry, José José passed away on Sept. 28, 2019, from pancreatic cancer.