Earlier this week, 19-time Grammy Award-winning music producer Emilio Estefan launched a curated selection of Latin music, movies and books at Target.
An icon in both the music industry and the Hispanic comunity, he has shaped the careers of superstars like Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Ricky Martin, Pitbull, and of course, his wife, Gloria Estefan.
Clearly Emilio Estefan knows a thing or two about the best of the biz. His passion for music is only matched by his passion for his family. Below, we talk to the dad of two about music, his family and his exciting new collection at Target.
You’ve accomplished so much in your career. Of all your accomplishments, what do you consider the biggest one?
EE: I’ve been so lucky, and I’ve always said my biggest production has been my wife and family.
What were the early days of your career like?
EE: Being Latino was very difficult. We didn’t have many outlets to support us like dedicated radio or TV stations like there are now. And we didn’t have people like Target—people that would support and help you with anything—so it was really hard.
What do you hope to give guests through your curated collection at Target?
Emilio Estefan: Whether it’s the music I produce, the movies I watch or the books I read, this new partnership allows me to reach fans by sharing what inspires me. At the same time, I also have the opportunity to highlight new artists by giving them a platform to introduce and sell their music to Target guests. I look forward to showcasing a lot of Latin music that will definitely surprise people. And personally, I’m excited to discover a lot of new talents.
Who were some of your influences growing up?
EE: A lot of people have influenced me, but I would say Celia Cruz. She was all about her integrity, fans and a pure love of music. Another person who influenced me was Quincy Jones, my wife’s godfather. Through the years I saw how hard he worked to spread music, especially African American music, all over the world.
You helped shape your wife, Gloria Estefan’s, music career. What has it been like working together as a couple?
EE: Working with Gloria has been great, because we have the same goals. The support we have for each other is what makes it work and makes us happy. That has always been the main thing
You have two lovely kids. Do they follow you in your musical footsteps?
EE: Both of my kids love music. I’m so proud that they’ve selected to be musicians because, through everything that we’ve done as a family, music has brought the best things into our life.
Wasn’t your daughter Emily part of Gloria’s new album, Little Miss Havana?
EE: Yes, Emily recorded with Gloria, and with me in “We Are the World” in Spanish when I partnered with the Black Eyed Peas and Daddy Yankee. We’re lucky parents.
Why do you think diversity—of culture, style and presence—is so important in the entertainment industry?
EE: You don’t want to wear the same dress or suit every single day. Music is just like that. Sometimes you wake up in the morning and you want to hear samba and sometimes you want to hear classical music. When you merge all different types of music, like we’ve done in the past, that’s when you surprise a lot of people.
Is there any advice you would give emerging Hispanic artists who are looking to break into the music business?
EE: Well if you’re Hispanic and want to create something, please do something original, unique and always give 100 percent quality. Nowadays, to sell music you have to be more creative than ever.
We have to ask—what’s the most played song on your iPod?
EE: Oh my god, I have so many songs so I don’t really know. But “My Humps” by the Black Eyed Peas is my ringtone. It’s true—you can call me now! When my daughter Emily was a little girl, she programmed my phone for me. She said, “Dad, I want to give you something cool.” I keep it as a little something special for my daughter, plus I love the Black Eyed Peas.
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