With the November 1999 release of Enrique, his fourth album but first on Interscope Records, Enrique Iglesias became one of pop music's biggest stars. The platinum-certified Enrique spun off his first two number-one pop smashes: Bailamos, which hit number one in late summer 1999, and "Be With You" (a.k.a. Sólo me importas tú), which topped the pop chart in summer 2000 for three weeks and was also number one on Billboard's Dance Club chart. As evidence of Iglesias' worldwide appeal, Enrique has also sold more than three million copies outside the US, with the album a spectacular success in countries as diverse as Canada (quadruple platinum), Germany (platinum) and Taiwan (gold). The album's next single will be "Sad Eyes," written by Bruce Springsteen.
In the meantime, "Could I Have This Kiss Forever," which first was heard on Enrique, has been recorded as a duet with superstar Whitney Houston for her 2000-released Greatest Hits album. Enrique and Whitney also filmed its popular music video together. Renowned for his live performances (seen by hundreds of millions during the most recent Super Bowl halftime extravaganza), and following an extensive world tour supporting Enrique, Iglesias will next be seen and heard on stage with a European jaunt that launches August 23 in Oslo, Norway, and concludes September 23 at the Algarve Festival in Portugal. He will then return for further U.S. dates.
Of his heralded concert performances, the Washington Post has written: "It's not just Enrique Iglesias' smouldering good looks that make millions of women swoon over the 'sexiest man in the world.' …He [has a] gift for delivering romantic Latin ballads convincingly and dramatically.… [Iglesias is] a particularly engaging, charismatic performer" (Jan. 28, 1999).
The Los Angeles Times concurred: "For the most compelling and consistently satisfying live show in Latin pop, look no further than Enrique Iglesias. He's the real thing…thanks to the most effective weapon available to the live performer: the human touch" (March 13, 1999). The path to this sort of Enrique-mania began in Madrid, Spain, where he was born on May 8, 1975. Living in Miami since he was seven, he began his career in 1995 with the release of his first album, songs for which he'd been writing and arranging secretly since he was 16--with not even his family aware of his aspirations. Enrique Iglesias sold more than a million copies in its first three months on store shelves (he earned his first gold record in Portugal in a scant seven days).
To date, Iglesias' eponymous debut has sold more than six million units worldwide. Its follow-up, 1997's Vivir, has enjoyed global sales of more than five million discs. He supported Vivir by embarking on his first world tour (backed by sidemen for Elton John, Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel). The international jaunt travelled to 78 venues in 16 countries, visiting stadiums with capacities of more than 50,000. In the U.S., Iglesias performed at 19 arenas. A total of 720,000 people attended the planet-spanning concerts and the critically acclaimed road trip was an immense commercial success. He set off on his second world tour, in support of Cosas del amor, in February 1999. The first tour ever sponsored by McDonald's, Iglesias offered more than 80 performances.
Iglesias was already a major star singing in Spanish before Enrique became his first English-language album. 1995's Grammy-winning Enrique Iglesias and 1997's Vivir are each RIAA-certified platinum in the U.S., with 1998's Cosas del amor gold and nearing platinum. The singer-songwriter sold more than 13 million albums of his first three releases- in a mere three years. In the Americas, Europe and Asia, songs such as Si tú te vas, Por amarte, Experiencia religiosa, Trapecista, No llores por mí, Enamorado por primera vez, Sólo en tí, Miente, Revolución, Esperanza and Nunca te olvidaré reached number one on various charts in the US and 18 other countries.
Iglesias racked up 132 platinum records, 251 gold albums and scores of awards. Among the latter are the 1996 Grammy for Best Latin Performer; 1996's Artist of the Year for Billboard, 1998's American Music Award for Best Latin Artist, 1997's Billboard Album of the Year for Vivir; a World Music Award for Best-Selling Artist; eight Premio Lo Nuestro Awards; two ACE Performer of the Year Awards; and ASCAP prizes for Best Composer of 1996 and 1997.
Then came Enrique and "Bailamos". Will Smith caught an Iglesias show in L.A. and made a special request of him to contribute to the soundtrack for Smith's film Wild Wild West (released jointly by Overbrook Records, Smith's label, and Interscope Records). Fusing full-throttle dance beats with Latin rhythms and Iglesias' characteristically rich, seductive vocals, "Bailamos" (pronounced "By-LA-Mos" and translated as "We Dance") was bootlegged by US radio stations playing European versions well before its official release, and it quickly became the most-requested track in several of the largest markets in the country, including Los Angeles, New York, Miami and Dallas.
Upon its official debut, "Bailamos" shot to the top and so has Iglesias. As a co-writer, he won yet another ASCAP award for the song. An international artist in every sense of the word, he was named both Favourite Latino Artist at the 2000 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards and Male International Artist of the Year at the CCTV-MTV Music Honours in Beijing, China.
With Enrique, he has now recorded in four languages-Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and English. An inveterate consumer of any and all music that comes his way, no matter its origins, he is deeply grateful for the musical education afforded by his immersion in three cultures-Latin, European and American.