Gloria Estefan may have fallen out of commercial favor with English-speaking audiences over the past several years, but her musical output has hardly reflected a change. It's particularly true of her Spanish-language recordings, on which she has continually evolved and explored new, diverse sounds. Amor y Suerte–Exitos Romanticos chronicles that impressive path, culling some of Estefan's best work from the past decade. Notable are a trio of duets that find the Cuban diva holding her own against the formidable voices of Alejandro Fernandez ("En el Jardin"), Jon Secada ("Por Amor") and Jose Feliciano ("Tengo Que Decirte Algo")…
Mi Tierra (English: My Homeland) is the third studio album by Cuban-American recording artist Gloria Estefan, released on June 14, 1993 by Epic Records. Produced by husband Emilio Estefan, it is her first Spanish-language album and pays homage to her Cuban roots. The album features Cuban musical genres, including boleros, danzan and son music. Recorded at Crescent Moon Studios in Miami, Florida, Mi Tierra features notable Latin musicians such as Arturo Sandoval, Cachao López, Chamin Correa and Paquito D'Rivera.
The 2006 release of The Essential Gloria Estefan satisfied a long unmet need for a career-spanning English-language retrospective, one that includes the singer's popular hits with Miami Sound Machine in the mid-'80s as well as her subsequent solo recordings. For years, Estefan fans had few best-of choices to choose from – the Spanish-language Exitos de Gloria Estefan (1990), the two-volume Greatest Hits series (1992, 2001), and the latter-day Amor y Suerte: Exitos Romanticos collection (2004) – with no alternatives, not even budget-line knockoffs. The long-overdue release of The Essential Gloria Estefan thankfully resolved this gripe, for it includes the highlights from all aspects of Estefan's varied output, spread generously across two jam-packed discs.
As one of the biggest new stars to emerge during the mid-'80s, singer Gloria Estefan predated the coming Latin pop explosion by a decade, scoring a series of propulsive dance hits rooted in the rhythms of her native Cuba before shifting her focus to softer, more ballad-oriented fare. Born Gloria Fajardo in Havana on September 1, 1957, she was raised primarily in Miami, Florida, after her father, a bodyguard in the employ of Cuban president Fulgencio Batista, was forced to flee the island following the 1959 coup helmed by Fidel Castro.
In early 1990, when she was one of the biggest pop stars in the world, Gloria Estefan suffered a broken vertebrae when her tour bus was struck in an accident, and her miraculous recovery from that near tragedy greatly informed her successive album, Into the Light. Though often noted as a "comeback" album, that descriptor is misleading. Yes, Into the Light is a comeback – a comeback from her accident, that is. It's not a comeback in the sense that her previous album, Cuts Both Ways, had been a failure or even a disappointment. No, Estefan hadn't fallen off, so to speak, with that album. Quite the opposite. It was a monster hit, breaking into the Top Ten and scoring a couple of high-charting ballads: "Don't Wanna Lose You" and "Here We Are." It also marked a drastic shift away from the unabashed dance-pop of her Miami Sound Machine output toward a more respectable adult contemporary appeal. This shift affected not only her image but also her audience as a result, and that shift is even more apparent on Into the Light. In fact, the shift seems complete, as this is full-fledged adult contemporary album with serious themes and toned-down production.
After several albums as the featured singer in the Miami Sound Machine, Gloria Estefan finally stepped up to top billing on Let It Loose, and her coming-out party became a major success. The album features no fewer than four Top 10 singles, including the hot Latino club grooves of "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You" and "1-2-3," and the sweet, affecting ballads "Anything for You" and "Can't Stay Away from You." By the time of the album's release in 1987, Estefan had not yet grown into the assured and charismatic singer she would become. And some of the songs here bear the cheesy production techniques of their time. Overall, however, Let It Loose shows an artist beginning to assert herself with considerable charm and élan.