PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Gloria Estefan didn’t think she’d get married. Her focus was on attending the Sorbonne in Paris. But Emilio Estefan “landed in her lap” and music became her career.
The native Cubans will receive the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in May. They are the first married couple (together 40 years) and musicians-songwriters of Hispanic descent to receive the honor.
The couple met when Emilio saw her sing in church. Six months later, he was playing a wedding she was at and he asked her to join the band for a song.
Estefan told a TV critics’ meeting on Friday that the success of their personal union is due to having the same values and priorities.
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“I meet him and he landed in my lap,” she said. “We’re very different and it keeps a good balance. The core things we rarely differ on in business or music. Our values and priorities are on the same page. It helps if you don’t fight a lot.”
Estefan said if they were both like her, they’d still be sitting on the couch playing guitar. And if they were both like Emilio, they’d have had heart attacks because of his relentless drive.
“It’s love,” Emilio said. “We were fighting for our dreams.”
The couple’s Miami Sound Machine hit it big in 1985 with Top 10 hits “Conga,” ”Words Get in the Way,” and “Bad Boy.”
“We knew this would work,” Estefan said of their Latin-influenced music. “That was our biggest challenge, convincing people in charge that were in the way.”
Rita Moreno and Andy Garcia co-host the Gershwin tribute airing May 3 on PBS.