(photo credit: Courtesy)
Enrique Iglesias could come out in front of an audience and sing the telephone
book, and there probably wouldn’t be many people in the crowd who would mind.
But thankfully, the Spanish-born Iglesias is not just eye candy but one of the
most successful pop crossover artists in history, almost single-handedly
responsible for making Latin music accessible to the mainstream. Does someone
remember Ricky Martin? “Latin music and Latin artists are here to stay, whether
they’re singing in English, Spanish or changing styles,” Iglesias told the US
music trade publication Billboard last week as he announced a major fall tour
together with younger American crossover radio favorites Pitbull and Prince
Royce, which will straddle the English and Spanish-language markets in the
“There are no rules to music anymore,” the 36-year-old Iglesias
added. “You can turn on top 40 radio and listen to Latin artists, and you can
turn on a Latin radio station and listen to American artists, too. It goes both
It’s a far cry from the mid-1990s, when Iglesias, the son of
legendary crooner Julio Iglesias and main squeeze of tennis star Anna
Kournikova, first started releasing albums. Despite his good looks, swiveling
hips and seductive music, he was labeled a Latin music artist and catered mainly
to the Latino population in the US. Between 1995 and 1997, Iglesias sold more
than 17 million Spanish-language albums, mostly in the US, and won the 1996
Grammy for Best Latin Performer.
However, in 1999 he released his first
English-language album, Enrique, and Iglesias became a worldwide phenomenon,
with the album going gold in 32 countries. Still, he had to fight the perception
in the music world that he – and Latin-tinged pop – were passing phases that
would quickly fade away.
“It always used to be mind-boggling to me
because it almost always sounded like we were a fad and that we were going to
disappear, and I never saw it that way,” he told Billboard. “Latin music and
Latin artists are here to stay, whether they’re singing in English, Spanish or
To back up those words, Iglesias released Euphoria last
year – his first album in which he sang in both English and Spanish, essentially
putting the language issues to rest and letting the music do the
Today, Iglesias’s stature is so towering that he was able to
turn down a joint tour earlier this year with Britney Spears. And two weeks ago,
he wowed Middle America anyway by appearing as a guest on American Idol,
performing his smash hit “I Like It” and his new single “Dirty Dancer,” both
Still, his heart has remained with his core Latino
audience, and last month he was the big winner at the Billboard Latin Music
Awards held in Miami, taking home nine prizes, including Latin Artist of the
“My career has had its ups and downs, but my Latino audience has
always stood by me,” he said at the ceremony.
Israeli audiences will
finally have the chance to stand by Iglesias when he arrives to perform on June 1 at the Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv. Don’t plan on sitting.
performs in Tel Aviv on June 1 at the Nokia Arena.