Gloria and Emilio Estefan Become First Latinxs to Receive Library of Congress Gershwin Prize
The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song celebrates the work of an artist whose career reflects lifetime achievement in promoting song as a vehicle of musical expression and cultural understanding. The 2019 Gershwin Prize was awarded last week to Gloria Estefan and Emilio Estefan Jr. The pair becomes the first couple and the first Latinxs to receive the award. During their more than 30-year career, the Estefans have built a musical and business empire. Gloria Estefan arrived with her family in Miami from Cuba in 1961 and joined the growing community of exiles escaping Castro’s revolution. While still in high school, she and Emilio Estefan -- also a Cuban who arrived in the U.S. in 1968 -- met. Emilio heard Gloria sing at a wedding and asked her to join his wedding band, the Miami Latin Boys, which then became the infamous Miami Sound Machine. Gloria Estefan has sold an estimated 100 million records worldwide, including 31.5 million in the U.S. alone. She has won seven Grammy Awards, was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obamafor her contributions to American music, and has received numerous other awards and accolades. “From the moment I started singing, I was drawn to the iconic songs of the immensely talented Gershwin brothers and have had the privilege to record several of them,” said Gloria Estefan. “I am deeply honored, along with Emilio Estefan, my beloved husband of 40 years, to be the 2019 recipients of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.” Emilio Estefan, who is also of Lebanese heritage, is a renowned music producer who has won 19 Grammy Awards. He helped shape the careers of several music superstars, including Jennifer López, Shakira, Ricky Martin, and Pitbull, among others. “My life and career in music has been a blessing and I’m humbled by this amazing honor and to be sharing it with my wife,” said Emilio. “Throughout my career my wish has always been to inspire minorities and to be an example that with hard work and dedication all your dreams can come true.” Rita Moreno and Andy García co-hosted the Gershwin tribute, which will air May 3rd on PBS. More here.