Crossing over is one thing, thriving is another
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 19, 2006
Ricky Martin isn't the first Latin-music celebrity to taste success in the
English-language world. Here's a look at three other performers who made the
move and how they've fared since:
Latin-music career: The skinny salsero launched his Spanish-language career with
Otra Nota in 1991, but real success came through Contra la Corriente a couple of
years later. Reportedly, the New Yorker is the biggest-selling salsa singer
English-language career: In 1996, he recorded the theme to The Mask of Zorro,
called I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You. The tune tanked. He had to wait
until the 1999 monster hit I Need to Know to crack the English-language market.
By the time 2002's slushy Mended came around, English radio had abandoned him.
Where he is now: Mr. J.Lo hasn't released another English disc. However, Libre
(2001), Amar Sin Mentiras (2004) and Valio La Pena (2005) all reached No. 1 on
the Latin chart.
Latin-music career: He's a survivor of boy band Los Chicos. Like Martin, he's
known more for his energetic stage moves than being a particularly gifted
vocalist. Since 1987, he has been solo, scoring with No. 1 hits Yo Te Amo, El
Centro de Mi Corazon and Un Siglo de Ti.
English-language career: In 1998, landed lead opposite Vanessa Williams in the
big-screen romance Dance With Me. The movie didn't do much; neither did the
English-language single You Are My Home. He later appeared on Ally McBeal but
focuses on the Spanish-language world.
Where he is now: Last year, Chayanne, Anthony and Alejandro Fernandez teamed for
a nationwide arena tour. His current album, Cautivo, reached No. 1 on the Latin
Latin-music career: With her fluttery voice and propulsive rhythms,
Colombian-born Shakira broke big with Pies Descalzos in 1995. Her aggressive
persona put her alongside such female singers as Alejandra Guzman, but Shakira's
writing ability made her stand out in the rockera crowd.
English-language career: The belly-wriggling Whenever, Wherever broke open her
career in 2001. The disc Laundry Service was well-received, even if Shakira's
lyrics seemed fuzzy. It didn't help that schlocky Gloria Estefan had a hand in
Where she stands: In 2005, Shakira made the unusual move of releasing Fijcaciˇn
Oral, Vol. 1, followed by Oral Fixation, Vol. 2. The all-Spanish Vol. 1 sold
more than 157,000 copies its first week in stores; the English-language Vol. 2
opened its first week selling 128,000 copies.