Gloria Estefan (born Gloria María Milagrosa Fajardo García; born 1 September 1957) is a Cuban-American singer, songwriter, actress, and businesswoman. Estefan is a seven-time Grammy Award winner, a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, and has been named one of the Top 100 greatest artists of all time by both VH1 and Billboard. Estefan's record sales exceed 75 million worldwide, making her the second best selling female latin artist in history and one of the best-selling female singers of all-time.
A contralto, Estefan started her career as lead singer of Miami Latin Boys, which was later renamed Miami Sound Machine. She and Miami Sound Machine earned worldwide success with their 1985 single "Conga", which became Estefan's signature song and led to Miami Sound Machine winning the 15th annual Tokyo Music Festival's grand prix in 1986. In 1988, she and Miami Sound Machine achieved their first number-one hit with "Anything for You". Estefan is credited with breaking down barriers and opening doors for Latin musicians, including Selena, Jon Secada, Shakira and Ricky Martin.
In March 1990, Estefan sustained a life-threatening cervical vertebrae fracture when her tour bus was involved in a serious accident near Scranton, Pennsylvania. She underwent an emergency surgical stabilization of her cervical spine and post-surgical rehabilitation that lasted almost a year, but made a full recovery. A year later, in March 1991, Estefan launched her comeback with a worldwide tour and album, Into the Light.
Estefan's 1993 Spanish-language album Mi Tierra won the first of her three Grammy Awards for Best Tropical Latin Album. Mi Tierra immediately soared to the top of the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart upon its release. The album was also the first Diamond album in Spain.
Many of Estefan's songs, including "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You", "1-2-3", "Don't Wanna Lose You", "Get On Your Feet", "Here We Are", "Coming Out of the Dark", "Bad Boy", "Oye!", "Party Time" and a remake of "Turn the Beat Around," became international chart-topping hits.
In addition to winning three Grammy Awards and being a 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, Estefan has been awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Las Vegas Walk of Fame, and was a Kennedy Center Honors recipient in 2017 for her contributions to American cultural life. Estefan also won an MTV Video Music Award, was honored with the American Music Award for Lifetime Achievement, and has been named BMI Songwriter of the Year. She was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and has received multiple Billboard awards.
Billboard has listed Estefan as the third Most Successful Latina and 23rd Greatest Latin Artist of all time in US, based on both Latin albums and Latin songs chart. Hailed as the "Queen of Latin Pop" by the media, she has amassed 38 number one hits across Billboard charts, including 15 chart-topping songs on the Hot Latin Songs chart. Rolling Stone has ranked her 1985 hit "Conga" the 11th Greatest Latin Pop Songs of all time. Richard Blanco, the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Poet, told The Boston Globe in 2020 that Estefan is among the Latin singers who helped him gain ground "in the musical poetry of my culture and rejuvenate my spirits".