Emilio Estefan, 19-time Grammy Award-winning music producer and Cuban refugee, pulled the curtain back on his trailblazing path to success, sending an important message to those who have relentlessly clawed for the American dream.
“We go through ups and downs, but we live in the best country in the whole world. We have freedom, one thing that people take for granted,” Estefan explained, during his appearance on “Varney & Co.,” Friday.
“It’s like when I came from Cuba, I flew because I felt that I didn’t want to live in a communist country. My recommendation is that we have to support America. Always look with a positive attitude to be sure that we contribute to the incredible land that we live,” Estefan pridefully explained.
Estefan had a massive role in his wife Gloria’s music, working as her producer and thus jumpstarting both of their careers.
Gloria Estefan, who is 66, has an estimated 100 million records sold worldwide – a massive achievement for the Cuban music community.
The duo have won a combined 23 Grammy Awards and an unsurmountable number of adoring fans around the world. Along the way, they have catapulted the careers of other artists including Shakira, Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony and Jon Secada.
Estefan continued, revealing that as a kid he used to play his accordion for tips in hopes of getting him and his mother out of Cuba. Despite this, he continued to express gratitude for the “tough times” he experienced living there, saying that it has propelled his gratefulness for simple privileges like “freedom.”
“When you go through tough times in life to enjoy life because money doesn’t make a big difference. Yeah, it makes a big difference in your life, but ignoring the principle to have a good life. The reason I have many operation[s] and businesses is because I never wanted my kids to go [through] what I went through. Coming to a new place and being difficult, to get it done to make money,” he explained.
Emilio and Gloria faced even more trials when they attempted to launch their first hit single, “Conga.” Emilio explained that he went to Sony several times, but they continued to argue that their song “wouldn’t work” in the United States – a concern that was swiftly proven wrong.
“For awhile it was hard because we came with a totally different sound. I mean, I went to Sony seven times, I was not allowed to go upstairs. And then the first day that I went up there, they told me, ‘Conga’ would never work in the states, in any country in the world,” Estefan explained.
“[They said] you have to change the last name. I said, ‘listen, I think people have to like it because they like who you are, and they need to know who you are.’ I didn’t change anything. And me and Gloria, we went to many places with the record. Six weeks later it was No. 1 in England and Holland and France and Germany, all over the world in the United States.”
Estefan concluded, warning Americans to not take this country “for granted.”
“Let me tell you, when things are bad here, don’t look at other places, they’re going to be a lot worse than where we are. But you know something, I believe in America. I don’t want to lose that.”