For Enrique Iglesias, music is no numbers game. It's about passion, expression and art. But with nearly 40 million albums sold all over the world, the numbers do tell a tale: seven gold and multi-platinum albums (three in English, four in Spanish), ..1 hits everywhere from America and Japan to South Africa and India (where he is the best-selling international artist of all time). It all adds up to one unique superstar.
Currently, Enrique is finishing up his next CD, which he's been recording in studios around the world, from Sweden to Miami. This time, he's been collaborating with world-class producers like Max Martin, Kristian Lundin, Mark Taylor & Paul Barry, and Anders Bagge. But Enrique admits it never gets easier, no matter how many albums he's made. When an artist keeps his standards high, making good music is always a challenge.
Born in Madrid in 1975, Enrique grew up immersed in three cultures -- Latin, European and American. His parents divorced when he was three and, when he was eight, his mother sent him and his siblings to live with their father in Miami. Enrique led the life of a typical Miami teen. But what his family did not know was that Enrique was secretly writing songs and dreaming of stardom. After a year at the University of Miami, he decided to follow his heart. In 1995 he sang for his soon-to-be manager, who at Iglesias' insistence first shopped his demos under the name Enrique Martinez. It wasn't until he landed a record deal with Fonovisa that he told his parents of his aspirations.
His self-titled debut, recorded in Spanish, sold more than a million copies in its first three months (more than seven million to date). He followed up in 1997 with "Vivir," which broke into the U.S. Top 40 and enjoyed global sales topping five million. The album also launched his first world tour: 78 venues in 16 countries (including 19 arenas in the U.S.). His next tour in 1998 was in support of "Cosas Del Amor."
Within three years, Enrique became the biggest-selling Spanish-language artist in the world. In the U.S., his first three CD's hit ..1 on the Latin charts. "Si Tu Te Vas," "Por Amarte," "Experiencia Religiosa," "Trapecista," "No Llores Por Mi," "Enamorado Por Primera Vez," "Solo En Ti," "Miente" and "Nunca Te Olvidare" all hit ..1 Latin in the U.S. (..1 in 18 other countries). In all, Enrique has 16 ..1 Billboard Latin hits, more than any other artist in history.
Each album was Grammy nominated for Best Latin Pop Performance, with "Enrique Iglesias" taking the prize. He was named Billboard Artist of the Year 1996 and won Album of the Year (for "Vivir"), four American Music Awards, several World Music Awards, eight Premio Lo Nuestro Awards, two ACE Performer of the Year Awards and ASCAP songwriter awards in 1996 and 1997. In 1999, the European version of "Bailamos" ("We Dance") became the most-requested radio track in top U.S. markets like Los Angeles, New York, Miami and Dallas. That summer, "Bailamos" hit ..1 pop and ..1 Latin -- and Iglesias won another ASCAP award.
Then came "Enrique," his first Interscope CD and first in English (he has recorded in four languages: Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and English). In the U.S., the album soared to the Top 40 pop and ..1 Latin, and was certified double platinum. After being seen by millions during the 2000 Super Bowl halftime show, Enrique embarked on another world tour. That summer, "Be With You" ("Solo Me Importas Tu") hit ..1 pop for three weeks, ..2 Latin and ..1 Dance as well.
"Enrique" was a spectacular success in countries such as Canada (quadruple platinum), Germany (platinum) and Taiwan (gold). The album, which also included the Top 30 pop "Rhythm Divine" (aka the ..1 Latin "Ritmo Total") and a duet with Whitney Houston ("Could I Have This Kiss Forever") achieved gold or platinum status in 32 countries. A truly international artist, he was named Favorite Latino Artist at the 2000 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards and Male International Artist of the Year at the CCTV-MTV Music Honors in Beijing, China.
"Escape came next, an English-language CD that debuted at ..2. From the album, "Hero" hit ..2 pop and ..1 Adult Contemporary (its Spanish version "Heroe" was ..1 Latin). The album's "Escapar" peaked at ..2 Latin and an "Escape Remixes" maxi-single shot to ..1 Dance. In fact, "Escape" sealed Enrique's superstar status in Europe. Both the album and single "Hero" were simultaneously the ..1 album and single in the U.K.
"Quizas," Enrique's fourth Spanish-language album, followed, debuting at ..1 on the Latin charts and crossing over pop at ..12 (the highest position ever for a Spanish album in the U.S.) Its title track was yet another Latin ..1, as were "Para Que La Vida" and "Mentiroso." The album won him the 2003 Latin Grammy for Best Pop Album. Enrique is one of the few recording artists ever to score a U.S. multiplatinum English-language album ("Escape") followed by a U.S. multiplatinum Spanish-language album ("Quizas").
In November 2003, Enrique released his seventh album, appropriately titled "7." As always, Enrique wrote or co-wrote every song on the album. Like all of his previous albums, "7" proved an international hit. In April 2005, Enrique added another prestigious award to his collection, winning the Billboard Latin Music Award in the category of Latin Dance Club Play Track Of The Year for "Not In Love/No Es Amor (Club Remixes)," from "7."
Now Enrique Iglesias moves on to the next chapter. And though the secret to any artist's success is constant growth, Enrique says there is one thing that will never change: his striving for that next great song and next great album. "That's the challenge, that's the fun," he says. "That's what will always drive me. I keep having to prove myself."