He also holds the record for most number-one hits and the longest running number-one hit on that chart. Iglesias also has 13 number-ones on Billboard’s Dance charts, more than any other male artist. He is also the best selling Latin artist in the UK and the best selling international artist in India.
Iglesias was born in Madrid, Spain, and is the third and youngest child of the internationally famous Spanish singer Julio Iglesias and socialite and magazine journalist Isabel Preysler.
Isabel’s aunt is actress Neile Adams, the first wife of American actor Steve McQueen; Iglesias is a half-second cousin of actor Steven R. McQueen (who is Neile’s grandson).
He was raised with two older siblings: Chabeli and Julio. His mother is a Filipina and his father is Spanish, with family from Galicia and Andalusia. His father has also claimed Jewish and Puerto Rican ancestry on his mother’s side. His parents divorced in 1979.
At first, Iglesias and his two siblings stayed with their mother but in 1986, Iglesias’ grandfather, Dr. Julio Iglesias Puga, was kidnapped by the armed Basque terrorist group ETA. For their safety, Enrique and his brother Julio were sent to live with their father in Miami.
There, they were brought up mostly by the nanny, Elvira Olivares, to whom he later dedicated his first album. He also lived in Belgrade, Serbia, for one year with his mother.
As his father’s career kept him on the road, the young Iglesias was raised by the family nanny. He attended the prestigious Gulliver Preparatory School and later went on to study business at the University of Miami.
Iglesias did not want his father to know about his plans for a musical career and did not want his famous surname to help advance his career. He borrowed money from his family nanny and he recorded a demo cassette tape which consisted of a Spanish song and two English songs.
Approaching his father’s former publicist, Fernán Martínez, the two promoted the songs under the stage name ‘Enrique Martínez’ with the backstory of being an unknown singer from Guatemala. Iglesias was signed on to Fonovisa Records. After dropping out of college, he traveled to Toronto to record his first album.
On July 12, 1995, Iglesias released Enrique Iglesias, a collection of light rock ballads, including hits such as “Si Tú Te Vas”, “Experiencia Religiosa”, and others.
The record sold half a million copies in its first week, a rare accomplishment then for an album recorded in a language other than English, going Gold in Portugal within the first week of release, and sold over a million copies in the next three months.
His song “Por Amarte” was included in Televisa’s telenovela Marisol, but with a twist: instead of Por amarte daría mi vida (To love you, I’d give my life), the words were Por amarte Marisol, moriría (To love you, Marisol, I’d die). The CD also yielded Italian and Portuguese editions of the album, with most of the songs translated into those languages.
Five singles released from this album, such as “Por Amarte”, “No Llores Por Mí”, and “Trapecista” topped the Billboard’s Latin charts. The album went on to win Iglesias a Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Performance.
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