Marc Anthony: 1969—: Singer, Songwriter, Actor Biography
Called "one of the finest male vocalists recording today," by Time magazine, Marc Anthony has pulled himself from a youth of singing with his father, standing on the kitchen table, to playing sold out concerts at Madison Square Gardens. He started out with great success in the Latin music market, and has taken this success mainstream, introducing a romantic Latino sound mixed with pop music. He has become an artist who is not afraid of his emotions and the truth that they tell through music. According to Billboard magazine, Tommy Mottola, chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment, said of Anthony that he was "among the best singers I've ever worked with. He pours immeasurable passion into every song he performs."
Marc Anthony was born Marco Antonio Muniz on September 16, 1969, in New York City. He grew up in Spanish Harlem and was the youngest in a family of five boys and three girls. His parents were Felipe, a hospital lunchroom worker and a frustrated musician, and Guillermina, a homemaker. The pair later divorced. Anthony often sang with his dad when he had his musician friends over. One story explained that Felipe put Anthony on the kitchen table to perform an old Puerto Rican favorite for all his friends. He told Time magazine, he also sang in elementary school where "whenever I sang—maybe because I had to concentrate so hard—I'd lose my embarrassing stutter." By the age of seven he was singing at his father's social club, and when he was 12, he and one of his sisters started singing for commercials for a slew of companies, including Bumble Bee Tuna.
When he was in high school, Anthony had the Chinese symbol for singer tattooed on his arm. When he was 15 he got a job as waterboy to Rubén Blades, another Latin singer whom Anthony admired very much. By the time he was in high school he was already writing music. He even wrote a couple of songs for the dance star Sa-Fire after she discovered his talents. The songs he wrote for her included, "You Said You Love Me," and "I Better Be the Only One," as well as "Boy I've Been Told," which made it to the Top 40 countdown. He sang backup for her, as well as for The Latin Rascals and Menudo. At the same time he wrote music for Menudo in both English and Spanish.
Little Louie Vega, whom Anthony had met while working with The Latin Rascals, became producer for Atlantic Records in the early 1990s. He asked Anthony to sing for him and together they recorded a dance album, When the Night is Over. He performed at clubs and even opened for Tito Puente at Madison Square Garden, but it was not until he re-recorded a song he had heard on the radio by Juan Gabriel—"Hasta Que Te Concoci (Until I Met You)," a ballad that he remade into an upbeat salsa song—that he began his ascent into stardom. Ironically, he had always shied away from recording salsa music, but Vega begged him to try the genre, and salsa music became Anthony's road to stardom.
In 1993 Anthony released his first salsa album, Otra Nota. His manager sent him to perform at Radio y Musica, a Latin music convention in Los Angeles. He performed there in front of a group of disc jockeys backed only by instrumentals from a DAT player. He was so nervous that when he finished singing he ran off the stage. It was not until his manager stopped him that he noticed he had been given a standing ovation. He was seen on a Spanish-language television program, Carnaval Internacional, broadcasted world-wide to the Spanish community. Anthony also began to tour, performing in Puerto Rico, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, and even Tokyo.
Anthony's follow-up album, Todo a Su Tiempo (All in Due Time), was released in 1995. He spent 50 weeks touring to promote the album and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1996. About this time Anthony also tried his hand at acting. He appeared as a secret service agent in Hackers, in 1995, as a waiter in Big Night, and as a high school gang member in The Substitute, both in 1996.
Anthony's Contra La Corriente, was released in 1997. It was the first salsa record to hit the Billboard 200, also reaching the number one position on both the Hot Latin Tracks countdown and the Billboard Latin 50. Variety magazine said of the singer and this album, "Anthony is the real goods. As a singer, he has power, range, beauty of tone, sensitivity, and most of all a rock-solid yet playful sense of rhythm that makes his salsa outings a truly thrilling experience." At this time Anthony was also cast on Broadway in Paul Simon's The Capeman, playing a Puerto Rican teenager who killed two other teens in New York in 1959. He was warmly received. As an added bonus, he was able to work with Latin music star Rubén Blades again, because Blades played the adult version of Anthony's character. According to The Progressive, "Marc Anthony captured the emotional volatility of the young Sal, and the nimbleness to which Sal aspires as he walks the fraying tightrope of his neighborhood."
While he was working on The Capeman, Anthony did not have the time to tour for his new salsa album. Instead he held two concerts in New York City. He became the first Latin American to sell out the famous New York Madison Square Garden for two nights. Anthony told Billboard, "Six months ago, if someone had suggested doing two nights at Madison Square Garden, I would have been like, 'Who's that moron? I don't want them working for me.' It's a lifetime achievement for me. For the rest of my life, I will wear that as a badge of honor." In 1998 he won a Grammy for the best tropical Latin performance for his work on this album. Around this same time he also recorded the theme song to the movie The Mask of Zorro. Anthony was firmly planted in the Latin music market as a star with a lot of growth potential.
In 1999 Anthony came out with what some people called his "crossover" album, Marc Anthony—an album that strayed away from Anthony's Latin roots. But Anthony assured his fans that he had not lost all the Latin flavor of his earlier hits. He told Billboard, "There's a very strong Latin influence throughout this album. It's not like I've gone and made a heavy metal record." And he has been quoted in Entertainment Weekly as having said of the crossover question, "I started out singing in English, so what am I crossing over to? That makes it sound like I'm trying my hand at somebody else's music. But I'm just as American as I am Puerto Rican. This is my music as much as anybody else's."
In recent years Anthony has kept himself busy. He was in Martin Scorsese's film Bringing Out The Dead, playing the homeless man Noel. Although the film starred Nicolas Cage, it is really around Anthony's character that the whole story pivots. Anthony also married Dayanara Torres, a former Miss Universe, on May 9, 2000. The couple also has a son, Cristian Anthony Muniz. Anthony released two more albums—the salsa album Libre and his newest pop album, Mended. He has also been involved in some philanthropical enterprises. He built one hundred homes for displaced Puerto Rican families in the aftermath of Hurricane Georges. In 2003 Anthony signed with for RADD (Recording Artists, Actors, and Athletes Against Drunk Driving), along with baseball MVP Barry Bonds, to do commercials. What will be next for Marc Anthony has not been decided, but there is sure to be some dancing music, some romance, and some more of the passionate personality that people have come to admire.
Big Night, 1996.
The Substitute, 1996.
The Capeman, (Broadway play) 1998.
Bringing Out The Dead, 1999.
When The Night Is Over, (with Little Louie Vega) 1991.
Otra Nota, (includes single "Hasta Que Te Concoci") 1993.
Todo a Su Tiempo, 1995.
Contra la Corriente, 1997.
Marc Anthony, 1999.
"Boy I've Been Told," (for Sa-Fire) 1988.
"I Better Be The Only One," (for Sa-Fire) 1988.
"You Said You Love Me," (for Sa-Fire) 1988.
Contemporary Musicians, Volume 33, Gale Group, 2002.
Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television, Volume 30, Gale Group, 2000.
Newsmakers 2000, Issue 3, Gale Group, 2000.
Billboard, December 20, 1997, p. 1; September 18, 1999, p. 124; February 12, 2000, p. 64.
Brandweek, January 13, 2003, p. 8.
Entertainment Weekly, February 13, 1998, p. 60; October 8, 1999, p. 32.
Global Cosmetic Industry, August 2002, p. 13.
Interview, February 1999, p. 84.
People Weekly, December 13, 1999, p. 185; December 23, 2002, p. 63.
Progressive, June 1998, p. 36.
Time, May 24, 1999, p. 74; September 20, 1999, p. 80; September 15, 2001, p. 9; May 27, 2002, p.
Variety, February 2, 1998, p. 39; March 13, 2000, p. 34.
"Marc Anthony," All Music Guide, http//www.allmusic.com (March 26, 2003).
"Marc Anthony," Internet Movie Database, http://www.imdb.com (March 26, 2003).
Marc Anthony Official Website, http://www.marcanthonyonline.com (March 26, 2003).
—Catherine Victoria Donaldson