…is celebrating his 40th year in the music business.
…is recognized throughout the world as the creator of the Miami Sound, a unique fusion of Cuban music, rock, jazz, Brazilian and Caribbean rhythms.
…won a GRAMMY® Award in 2006 for Best Salsa/Merengue Album for Son del Alma.
…was nominated in 2007 for a Latin GRAMMY® for Best Salsa Album for 35 Aniversario - En Vivo.
...has released more than 30 albums and is the composer of over one hundred songs which have been recorded by over sixty artists including Celia Cruz, Raphael, Gipsy Kings, Lissette, Dyango, David Bisbal and Oscar D’Leon.
…has earned Platinum records for Oxígeno (1991) and Acuarelas del Caribe (1990), and Gold Records for Zarabanda (1985), South Beach (1993), Asere (1995), and Afro-disiac (2000).
…has produced albums for Rocío Jurado, Raphael, Oscar D’Leon, Celia Cruz, Magneto and dozens of other international artists.
…was born in Consolación del Sur, a small town in western Cuba, in the province of Pinar del Río.
…began his love for art as a portrait artist, winning various awards in fine arts as a child.
…as a child, listened to the music of Glenn Miller, Louis Armstrong, Little Richard, Elvis Presley and The Beatles, of which he considers himself to be a connoisseur
…left Cuba at 14 years of age through Operation Pedro Pan, an initiative started by the Catholic Church through which thousands of children immigrated to the United States.
…has never accepted his departure as definite and, to this day, feels his return is imminent. “I believe that my calling is to be an artist and not a politician, I don’t mix the two and feel uncomfortable in doing so”.
…launched his own music label, Latinum Music Inc., in 1997, after being signed by CBS and later Sony Music.
…has written several songs that have become emblematic for the Cuban people, but none more so than Nuestro Día (Ya Viene Llegando) which has become a second national anthem for his compatriots outside and inside the captive island.
…was awarded the United States Legion of Honor in 1976 for his humanitarian work. He was also recognized by UNICEF for his work with the Willy Chirino Foundation in 1996 as well as the Billboard Humanitarian Award, and received the Hispanic Heritage Award from the United States Department of State.
…received a star on the Calle Ocho Walk of Fame and was named the King of the annual Calle Ocho Carnival in 1993.
…holds the honor of having two streets named after him, one in Miami-Dade and the other in Hialeah, Florida. He also has received honorary keys to various international cities where he has performed. In 2003, he received an Honorary Doctorate Honoris Causa degree from St. Thomas University.
…launched a worldwide tour in 2009 to promote his album Pa’lante which included the mega-hits Los Campeones de la Salsa, and the title song. The tour took him to Europe, Central and South America, and most major cities in the United States, culminating in a sold-out concert at the American Airlines Arena in his hometown, Miami.
…was among the handful of international stars to record the Hispanic rendition of We Are the World to raise funds for the earthquake victims in Haiti in 2010.
…has been married to international recording artist Lissette for over thirty years and has five children: Angie, Olga María, Jessica, Nicolle, Alana and Gianfranco.
…recognizes that “If there is something an artist should not do is stop dreaming.”