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Iglesias... why do I know that name?
Maybe your mom still listens to his dad’s old albums? (Although Enrique’s been a hitmaker for so long that your mom might be a fan of his, too.) Julio Iglesias was the biggest name in Latin Pop from the '70s through the '90s, with a big, burnished voice and swoony, romantic ballads. His son Enrique has inherited the fame and the adoring fans, but his vocal stylings are less make-the-windows-shatter and more get-the-party-started, though like any good Latin singer he knows his way around a creamy ballad.
So his dad taught him everything he knows?
Not really; Enrique was born in 1975 in Madrid (the one in Spain, not Iowa), Julio’s hometown, but he grew up in Miami, raised by a nanny as dad was constantly touring and mom (who divorced dad in 1978) was working as a journalist in Europe. When Enrique decided that he wanted to pursue a music career, he borrowed money from his old nanny to record demos in secret and sent them out to record companies under a fake name so they wouldn’t know he was Julio’s son. We don’t know any nannies with that kind of money, but we don’t know any nannies who work for Julio Iglesias, either.
When did he start taking over the family business?
Those demos must have sounded pretty good; in 1995, he dropped out of the University of Miami to record his first album. It was pretty much an immediate hit in the Spanish-speaking world, but it wasn’t until 1999, when “Bailamos" went to No. 1 in the U.S., that he became a household name in English-language pop circles, too.
Wait, he has two different pop careers? How does he keep them straight?
Modern pop is global pop, but it takes a special kind of pop star to be able to switch between languages and cultures without alienating one or confusing the other. Luckily, Enrique’s just as comfortable with English as he is with Spanish, and he’s versatile enough to respond to the tastes of a lot of different markets. He currently holds the record for the most No. 1 singles on the Latin chart, and not just because he’s got nice eyes.
But he hasn’t had a lot of English hits, has he?
That depends on how you define hits. And how you define “a lot.” Most of his English-language songs have charted worldwide, especially in Europe and Australia, but the songs he’s best known for in the U.S. (the part of the U.S. that only speaks English, anyway) are “Bailamos” and “Be With You” (both of which mine a similar flamenco-disco vein) from the turn of the century and the clubby, electro-heavy “I Like It” (with Pitbull) and “Tonight (I'm Lovin' You)” (with Ludacris), both from 2010, which helped define the uptempo, synth-blast sound of the summer.
So what else I should know?
That probably depends on how much you like romantic ballads. “Hero” (2001), “Escape,” and “Addicted” (2003) are all effective lighters-in-the-air adult-contemporary songs. but “Not In Love,” with Kelis (2004), and “Do You Know,” with a ping-pong ball (2007), are great Europop songs, with shimmery backings and strong, danceable beats.
So he’s concentrating on America now, right?
Not really; sure, he hit big with “I Like It,” but at the same time he was hitting even bigger with “Cuando me enamoro,” a duet with bachata king José Luis Guerra. For most of his career, he’s alternated between Spanish-language albums and English-language albums, but his most recent, Euphoria, is both, and is a career peak in a career that’s been almost depressingly free of valleys.
Okay, he’s good at the music. What can’t he do?
Not much, apparently. He’s also a pretty decent actor—not only in his music videos, which are typically big-budget affairs with name directors and involving storylines, but in movies like Once Upon a Time in Mexico and TV shows like How I Met Your Mother and Two and a Half Men.
Gosh, he’s pretty.
Isn’t he, though?
Do I have a shot with him?
He’s been romantically linked with tennis star Anna Kournikova for a decade, but maybe. Do you have a 200-71 win record in doubles?
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