Enrique rose from the shadows of his father’s musical legend to being the highest selling Latin recording artist ever. He has sold millions of records, cementing his legacy as one of the best musicians of all time. Celebrated for his golden voice and admired for his great looks, Enrique Iglesias has become a household name in a career that has spawned over a decade.
Enrique Miguel Iglesias Preysler was the youngest child born to famous Latin singer Julio Iglesias and his wife Isabel Preysler. Enrique grew up in the public eye; his mother was a socialite and a renowned magazine journalist and her aunt is the famous actress Neile Adams – who was the first wife of Steve Macqueen and the grandmother to Steven R Macqueen. Enrique had two siblings; Julio and Chabeli. His parents divorced when he was just 4 years old in 1979.
Enrique and his siblings stayed with their mother after the divorce until 1986, when they then moved to Miami to live with their famous father. This was after their grandfather was kidnapped and his mother feared for the safety of her children. In Miami, Enrique was brought up by a nanny whom he would later dedicate his first album to. His father spent a lot of time on the road and as a result Enrique and his siblings grew closer to their nanny Elvira Olivares. He went to private school and attended the famous Gulliver Preparatory School and later he went to study business at the University of Miami.
Enrique hid his musical talent from his father as he was afraid that his famous surname would deter him from making it in the music industry. When he was sure he wanted to do music, Enrique borrowed money from his nanny and recorded a demo tape which had one Spanish song and an English song. He convinced his father’s former publicist Fernan Martinez to promote the songs under the stage name Enrique Martinez. He invented a story to hide his name and told that he was an unknown musician from the island of Guatemala. He dropped out of college and signed on to Fonovisa Records and later travelled to Toronto to record his first album.
In July 1995, Enrique released his first album titled Enrique Iglesias. The album was a success and sold half a million copies in the first week. Over the next three months, the album sold over one million copies and was highly rated by critics. It was received well in Latin America and Portugal particularly. One of his songs was even made a telenovela theme song in Mexico. Five singles from the album topped Billboard Latin charts and the album capped off a successful debut by winning a Grammy Award for best Latin Pop Performance.
In 1997, Enrique released his second album Vivir. This album made him a star and was among the bestselling albums that year. Three of the songs from the album topped Latin charts and Spanish-speaking countries. Enrique and his father were nominated for an American Music Award for Favorite Latin Artist, a category that was introduced that year. There were rumors that his father had threatened to walk out if the award went to his son. The older Iglesias won and Enrique performed at the event. Enrique went on his first tour which he played in stadiums which were sold out. He started in the United States where he sold out 19 arenas and went to Mexico, Argentina and other Latin countries.
The following years, Enrique released his third studio album Cosasdel Amor. The album was noted in its different approach from the previous two albums. Two singles; Esperanza and Nunca Te Olvidarefrom the album topped the Latin charts once again and Enrique had permanently cemented himself in the Latin music scene. Enrique was sponsored by McDonalds to go on a tour to promote the album. It was the first tour ever sponsored by McDonalds.
That year he won the AMA award that his father had won the previous year and his song Nunca te Olvidare was used as a theme song for a Mexican soap which had the same name. He also appeared in the last episode of the soap to sing the song in person.
Enrique wanted to transition his career from Latin music market to English music market. Ricky Martin and Gloria Estefan had successfully crossed over and Enrique begun making the trip across. The mainstream industry had begun appreciating Latino music so it was the right time for Enrique to start his cross over. Will Smith asked Enrique to contribute to the soundtrack of Wild Wild West and the resulting song ‘Bailamos’ became a number one hit.
Several mainstream labels wanted to sign Enrique after ‘Bailamos’. Enrique signed a multi-album deal with Interscope. He recorded his first English CD. The album title Enrique had a duet with Whitney Houston as well as the hit single ‘Rhythm Divine’. In 2000, he performed at the Super Bowl XXXIV with Christina Aguilera, Toni Braxton and Phil Collins. The following year Enrique released his second English album titled Escape. The album’s single ‘Hero’ became a number one hit in a lot of countries and Enrique was among the very first artist’s to out sell his Latin album which was difficult for Latin artists who crossed over to mainstream. Enrique also co-wrote the album.
Escape is still Enrique’s most commercially successful album. Its singles ‘Escape and Don’t Turn Off The Lights’ were highly successful. The album was reproduced into a second edition in which he had a duet with Lionel Richie called ‘To Love a Woman’. Iglesias went on the One Night Stand Tour which had almost fifty shows lined up in 16 different countries. The shows were all sold out. Enrique performed in Britain, Spain and Romania where his song ‘Love to See You Cry’ was the first shown on MTV Romania. He went out on a second tour which was completed in 2002 with two sold out shows in New York and Mexico’s National Auditorium.
In 2002, Enrique released his fourth Spanish album titled Quizas. The album was more polished musically compared to his previous works and was well received by critics and fans alike. In the album, Enrique included a song about the up and down relationship he had with his father. The album debuted at number 12 on the Billboard and sold more than one million copies in one week. This was the fastest selling Latin album in five years. Three singles from the album topped the Latin Chart. Overall, Enrique has 16 number ones on the Billboard Latin chart which is a record. Enrique won the Latin Grammy Award for the Best Pop Vocal Album.
In 2003, Enrique resumed his mainstream career by releasing the album 7. The album was co-written by him and inspired by some of the older materials he had written in the ’80s. He wrote about different topics the most significant being the song ‘Be Yourself’ which talked about how his parents never gave him a chance as a musician because they had no faith in his singing ability. To promote the album, Enrique went on to his biggest album tour which started off with 16 shows in the United States. The tour ended in South Africa after performing in Egypt, Australia and India among other countries.
Enrique took a break of two years from music. He returned in 2007 and released Insomniac which was more contemporary pop style than any of his albums. The lead single ‘Do You Know’ was his highest charting song since ‘Escape’ on the Billboard. The Spanish version of the song was number one in Latin charts too. The song somebody’s me became a fan favorite and charted number one in different countries. It was marketed as a single in the United States. Enrique went on a world tour which started in Johannesburg South Africa where he had ended his last tour.
Enrique released his Spanish greatest hits album titled 95/08 Exitos in 2008. The album was certified double platinum in US and some Spanish speaking countries. The same year he released English greatest hits titled ‘Can You Hear Me’. The first single was entitled ‘Away’ and ‘Taking Back My Love’ which featured Ciara was the second single. The album sold over 80,000 copies in its second week. That year he won two world Music Awards and World Best Selling Latin performers.
In 2010 he released the album Euphoria which had seven English singles and six Spanish singles. The album leading single ‘Tonight I’m Loving You’ was highly successful and debuted a number 4 in the US billboard. He went on a tour to support the album. The album featured several mainstream artists such as Ludacris and Akon. Two years later in 2012 he released sex and love album which performed moderately well but did not reach the levels of his previous albums. His latest single ‘Bailando’ which has both a Spanish and English version became a worldwide hit in 2015.
The soft spoken Enrique Iglesias has strived to maintain his public image as clean as possible. In 2000, radio presenter Shock Jock Howard Stern played a tape of Enrique in which he was off key. Howard claimed that Enrique couldn’t perform live. Enrique showed up at the station with a guitar and sang. Howard took his words back and Enrique admitted that the event was the best publicity he had ever received.
Enrique has experimented on plays when he co-produced a Broadway musical called Four Guys. The play is about four Americans of Latin descent determined to make it in the music industry. The musical had a lot of allusions to classic and contemporary Latin songs. He starred alongside Johnny Depp, Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek in the action thriller Once Upon a Time in Mexico. He appeared in Chuck Lorre’s famous sitcom Two and a Half Men as a handyman. He also starred in How I Met Your Mother as the love interest of Robin.
He has starred in various commercials for brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Viceroy watches and Doritos. The most famous part was in 2004 Pepsi commercial in which he played an evil Roman empire.
Enrique underwent a mole removal on the right side of his face because he was concerned that over time it could become cancerous. In 2001, he started dating tennis player Anna Kournikova after they met on a photo shoot set. They split in 2013 but have reconciled again. He has a beach house in Miami which is reportedly worth $26 million.
In 2010, Enrique joined the Linkin Park project called Download. He co-produced Download to Donate for Haiti, a charity album in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake. He promoted the album on various platforms including on Larry King Live.
In 2013, he urged his fans to donate money to the victims of a deadly Typhon Haiyan in the Philippines through the American Red Cross. The typhoon occurred three months after an earthquake had destroyed the livelihood of almost half a million in Philippines. Enrique is known for his support for charity organizations such as City of Hope, Help for Heroes, Habitat For Humanity, Live Earth, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Special Olympics, Music for Relief, The Salvation Army, and Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.
Written by: Emily Smith