Emilio and Gloria Estefan's daughter, Emily, steps into the spotlight.
Emily Estefan breaks out from her parents’ musical shadow in her debut solo album.
It’s tough enough to make a name for yourself in the music business as it is, but when your name is already shared by two people who have won a combined 26 Grammy Awards, it can be even tougher. Such is the case for Emily Estefan, the 22-year-old daughter of Emilio and Gloria Estefan, whose debut solo LP, Take Whatever You Want, is set for release on February 3. Growing up in a musical home had its obvious advantages.
“I grew up sitting on the sides of these monstrosities of concerts hearing these bands shred, and it put a fire in me to really play music,” she tells Ocean Drive, but notes that when breaking out on her own, the music-royalty last name isn’t always helpful, as people are quick to judge. “It’s constantly a struggle because people wish that I could be like a second Gloria, which I don’t blame them because I’m also a fan of my mom,” she says. “But if you listen to my stuff, you’ll see not only how much I respect my parents, but that I have something different to say in maybe a different way.”
Listeners can hear that difference in her first original song and music video, “F#ck To Be,” which premiered on Entertainment Tonight in 2015. The title alone might make her parents want to turn the beat around. “What do you mean? I’m such a princess, can’t you tell?” she says jokingly, before explaining the song. “It’s about an ultimate goal to be unapologetically yourself.” That’s a personal struggle that Estefan has dealt with in launching her budding career.
The Estefans at the 2016 Tony Awards.
A recent graduate of Berklee College of Music, she produced a dance mix for Kathy Griffin’s theme song, “I’ll Say It,” cowrote the only original song on the hit Broadway show On Your Feet, and made her singing debut alongside the LA Youth Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl. “For me, that’s a sacred stage,” says Estefan, who, aside from her parents, names Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, and Erykah Badu as some of her influences. “Some of my favorite bands have played [at the Hollywood Bowl]. So when I had the opportunity to sing there, I questioned if I deserved it.”
She did deserve it, and fans who buy the album or attend her concert at the University of Miami the night before its release will undoubtedly agree. Her talent stands on its own, and in the new album she’s realizing just that. “The first song [on Take Whatever You Want] is a ballad, and everyone thinks it’s a love song, but it’s actually from my new self to my old self, giving me permission to do what I do and not be a coward about it,” Estefan says. “The rest of the album is about walking through that process and figuring out what I’m about. It’s honest.” February 2 at 8 pm, UM Gusman Concert Hall, 1314 Miller Dr., Coral Gables, 305-284-2438