Q&A: Gloria Estefan reflects on bilingual career

Fri Sep 26, 2008 6:45pm EDT
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By Leila Cobo

MIAMI (Billboard) - For the first time in its young, nine-year history, the Latin Recording Academy and its board of trustees is honoring a woman as its Person of the Year, Gloria Estefan.

With a career that spans more than three decades and 70 million-plus albums sold, Estefan is the original Latin crossover international star. First as lead singer of Miami Sound Machine and later as a soloist, Estefan has achieved success in two languages.

During a break from her European tour, Estefan spoke with Billboard about what it means to be Latin today.

Q: You are touring arenas, in front of tens of thousands of people. Of course, you've done this most of your life. Is there a routine you follow right before taking the stage?

Gloria Estefan: I try to open all my chakras and I think of all my points of communication. I do a prayer that everything comes out the best it can, and we exchange energy. I imagine a point in the top of my head, in my hands, in my solar plexus.

Q: Do you have any superstitions or talismans?

Estefan: No, no, no. I can't stand it. It would be very constrictive. If one day you can't do it (or don't have them with you), then you're freaking out. And pretty much, before a show, I try to do things as normally as possible and not make a big deal of what's going to happen. If I start to think that there will be a thousand people staring at me, it's pretty daunting.

Q: Almost from the onset, you had a bilingual recording career, which is still rare. How did this work?   Continued...

<p>Singer Gloria Estefan sings the U.S. national anthem before the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys play their NFL football game at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois September 23, 2007. REUTERS/Frank Polich</p>