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Enrique Iglesias: 1975—: Singer, Songwriter

Secretly Dreamed Of Singing

From the time he was a child, Enrique Iglesias dreamed of being a singer but kept his ambitions a secret from his parents. "I never told them because writing was like my own little diary—it was so private, so personal, " he saidina Rolling Stone interview in 2000 with Jancee Dunn.

As a teenager in Miami, Enrique spent his time jet-skiing, windsurfing, and listening to American rock and pop music. He and his friends found inspiration in the likes of Foreigner, Journey, Dire Straits, John Mellen-camp, Billy Joel, and Bruce Springsteen. While his father attracted hordes of female fans, the teenaged Enrique had trouble getting dates. "In high school I probably got rejected 70 percent of the time, " he told Rolling Stone. " I was too skinny and small. I ended up going to the prom by myself."

At a Glance . . .

Born Enrique Iglesias Preysler on May 8, 1975, in Madrid, Spain; son of Julio Iglesias (a singer) and Isabel Preysler (a Philippine-born journalist). EducationUniversity of Miami, attended.

Career: Singer and songwriter. Albums: Enrique Iglesias 1995; Vivir, 1997; Cosas Del Amor, 1998; Bailamos (We Dance) 1999; Best Hits 1999; Enrique, 1999; Escape, 2001; feature film debut, OnceUpon a Time in Mexico, 2002.

Awards: World Music Award, Hispanic Artist of the Year, 1996; Billboard Award, Artist of the Year, 1996-97; Grammy Award, Best Latin Pop Performance for Enrique Iglesias),1997; Billboard Award, Best Latin Pop Artist, 1998; People Weekly, Spanish-language edition, "Sexiest Man Alive.&rdquo, 1998; VH1 Vogue Fashion Award, Most Fashionable Artist, Male, 2000; CCTV-MTV Music Honors, Male International Artist of the Year, Beijing, China, 2000; American Music Award,, Favorite Latin Artist, 1999, 2001, 2002; numerous others.

Iglesias began writing songs and playing music in a friend's garage but enrolled in the University of Miami to study business administration. In 1994, his sophomore year, he dropped out of college to pursue his musical aspirations, keeping the news a secret from his parents. When Julio reportedly learned of his son's ambitions from an industry insider at a cocktail party, he was displeased. "I told him I was sorry," Iglesias recalled in People Weekly. "I said, 'Look, this is exactly what I've always wanted to do. Just let me do it my way, please.'"

Iglesias contacted Fernan Martinez, a music industry acquaintance, who, upon hearing the young singer perform, urged him to make a demo tape. Iglesias used the pseudonym of Enrique Martinez to keep his identity as Julio's son a secret. For the next few months, Fernan Martinez sent the tape to various labels but was unable to drum up any interest. "I felt bad, you know," Iglesias later recalled in an interview with CD Now, " but at the same time I said, 'Good, if I make it, it will be because of my music and not because of my last name.'"

Finally Fonovisa Records, a small Los Angeles independent known primarily as a regional Mexican imprint, expressed an interest. "The voice was very masculine and different," recalled Guillermo Santiso, Fonovisa's president/CEO in Billboard. Santiso also reportedly liked the enclosed photograph of the handsome singer. Upon being informed of Iglesias's true identity, Santiso signed him to a three-album deal worth $1 million and won financial support from Fonovisa's parent company, Mexican media giant Televisa, for a massive promotional campaign. The first batch of radio spots identified the young singer only as Enrique to keep his identity as Julio's son under wraps. A promotional blitz followed, with Iglesias granting hundreds of interviews in both English and Spanish.

The singer took great pains to distinguish himself from his famous father. "Please do not introduce me as the son of Julio Iglesias," he said in People Weekly. "I'm very proud of my father, but when you read Billboard now, you see Enrique Iglesias." The two appealed to different generations, he later explained in an interview with MTV.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: James Heneghan (1930-) Biography - Personal to Rick Jacobson Biography - PersonalEnrique Iglesias: 1975—: Singer, Songwriter Biography - Secretly Dreamed Of Singing, Sold Millions, Earned Recognition Through "latin Explosion", Dubbed Sexiest Man Alive