As Enrique Iglesias plans his return to Dubai after four years at the Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival (he played in Abu Dhabi last year), here are 10 things you need to know about the King of Latin Pop.
1. He’s been doing this for a long, long time
Iglesias didn’t want to take advantage of his father Julio Iglesias’ famous name, as you do, and first started recording songs under the name Enrique Martinez. After he started making a name for himself, he released his first album, Enrique Iglesias, in Spanish in 1995. He was 20.
2. The crossover
By the time Iglesias’ Bailamos stormed into the charts, he was already a certified Spanish heartthrob. Yes, 1999 was the height of the Latin pop explosion, and Bailamos transcended all musical limitations, but Iglesias has stayed on top of the pop since.
3. The Bailamos/Bailando magic
If Bailamos means ‘Let’s dance’, Bailando, which means ‘dancing’ has also proven to be lucky for Iglesias. The song’s Spanish version spent a record-smashing 41 weeks at No 1 on the Hot Latin songs charts on Billboard. The video, featuring Sean Paul and Cuban artists Descemer Bueno and Gente de Zona, has been viewed more than 1 billion times on YouTube.
4. The Anna Kournikova effect
Iglesias and the tennis star met on the set of his video for Escape in 2001 and have been together since. And, despite all the rumours, marriage is not a priority. “She doesn’t bug me at all,” he told Billboard in an interview. “Our mentality in that way is a little different.” He doesn’t rule out children, though: “Why not? I don’t know. I don’t know if I will ever be ready, but yes, I would at some point. You never know, I could be 70 years old when that happens.”
5. That injury was serious
Last year, during a concert in Tijuana, Mexico, Iglesias grabbed a camera-equipped drone on stage, he touched the wrong part of the machine, slicing open several fingers and forcing him to leave the stage with his hand wrapped in a bloody t-shirt. A few weeks later, his management announced the injury was worse than feared. “His recent surgery lasted longer than expected since the damage ended up being a bit worse than initially assessed,” said a statement posted on his website. “He suffered a fracture that needed to be corrected in addition to the reconstructive surgery. He will be recovering during the next few weeks, but a full recovery is anticipated.”
6. He will always be our Spanish-Filipino kuya
That’s Tagalog for ‘elder brother’. Iglesias’ mother, Isabel Preysler, was a Filipino socialite and journalist. His parents divorced in 1979 but Iglesias has always had a special place in his heart for the Philippines. After the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, he was one of the most active celebrities to rally support for the country.
7. And he’s got a heart of gold
When Iglesias’ parents divorced, he and his siblings went to live with their mother in Spain. But after his grandfather, Julio Iglesias Sr, was kidnapped by Basque terrorists (he was later freed unharmed) the children were sent to live with their father. Julio’s busy schedule as a touring musician meant the children were brought up by their nanny Elvira Olivares. When asked by the UK’s Guardian in 2010 who he most admired in the world, Iglesias picked his nanny. “Elvira took care of me when my parents weren’t able to be there. She dedicated her whole life to me and my brother and my sister. Now I take care of her,” he said. #Respect.
8. He’s got more No 1s than Michael Jackson
Can you beat that? In 2011, Iglesias earned his ninth Billboard Dance Chart No 1 single with Dirty Dancer, shooting past legends Michael Jackson and Prince. He is also the only male artist in history to have the most No 1 singles on the Dance Chart. His rhythm has indeed taken over!
9. He doesn’t spend hours in the gym
You’d think that chiselled look takes hours to create in the gym. Iglesias says going on tour keeps him in shape. “Two hours on stage, you actually lose a lot of calories which is good. I notice when I’m not on tour I’m not in as good shape. It helps me like a workout,” he told the UK’s Daily Mail in 2014. “When it comes down to the gym or anything that’s cardio, like running on the treadmill, I’m very lazy. What I like to do more is sports. Whether it’s surfing or paying racquetball with my friends, you sweat a lot and I like that better.”
10. Sex and Love is the gift that keeps on giving
Enrique Iglesias set off on a tour right after his 10th album was released in March 2014. And he’s been on the road since, traversing through North America, Latin America, Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe. He came to Abu Dhabi last year, performing at the F1 after-race concert. He last performed in Dubai in 2012. This current tour takes him right through to December 30 to the Dominican Republic before he says ola Dubai again.
Don’t miss it!
Tickets to Enrique Iglesias at the Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival are now on sale. Limited early bird prices are Dh335 for Regular and Dh675 for Golden Circle. Standard prices will be Dh395 (Regular), Dh795 (Golden Circle), Dh995 (Fan Pit) and Dh1,595 (VIP Deck). Go to ticketmaster.me.