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Gloria Estefan ‘Unwrapped’

“Today” host Matt Lauer caught up with the Latin-American singer recently to talk about the release of her new album.
/ Source: TODAY

She was the most popular Latin-American singer of the ‘80s and ‘90s, conga-ing up the stage with “The Miami Sound Machine” and paving the way for a whole new generation of Latin performers. Two decades later, she’s still shaking up the stage. “Today” host Matt Lauer caught up with Estefan recently to talk about the release of her new album, “Unwrapped.”

She was the sound of the 1980s sometimes referred to as a demure Hispanic version of Madonna.

Cuban-born Gloria Fay-Ardo originally rose to prominence in the ’70s by joining soon-to-be husband Emilio Estefan in his band then called “The Miami Latin Boys.”

The group was eventually re-named, “The Miami Sound Machine” and initially only met with success in Spanish-speaking countries but by 1985, cracked U.S. Billboard’s pop, dance, Black and Latin charts simultaneously, with their hit, “Conga.”

Gloria and the band went on to make 24 albums and sell more than 70 million copies.

Remembered for tragedy and a miraculous comeback, Gloria’s now bursting back on the scene with her new album “Unwrapped.”

“I am saying to fans, I’ll have something to say. I still have thoughts to share and music to share with you. And I know my fans will get it. And hopefully maybe somebody that hasn’t heard my music before might get this record.”

The record contains a contribution from one of her two children, 23-year-old Nayib, who studied and loves film, and added to the album. An inside look at his mother with a personal film about her.

She collaborated with a range of people for her latest, including Stevie Wonder and Chrissie Hynde, from “The Pretenders.” The album was actually recorded live in 3 weeks, and gave a more raw sound. In general, this album also sounds different from her others — no congas and horns, rather instruments like Andean pan pipes and pedal steel guitars.

“Even if you are not a fan of her you could watch the film and get a take on her as a human being. I wanted them to see her as a human being and I tried very hard to catch her being natural and I think it came off.”

And after four decades in the business she still finds it as special as when she first started out.

“This last week, I kept flipping through the radio stations to try to listen to Wrapped for the first time on radio. And when you first hear other people hearing it it’s still exciting. It’s still a beautiful thing.”