Luis Miguel Gallego Basteri, professionally known as Luis Miguel, is a Mexican singer and record producer. Often referred to as El Sol de México (The Sun of Mexico) and El Sinatra Latino (The Latin Sinatra), Luis Miguel is unarguably one of the most successful musical artistes in the history of Latin America. He has sung in a variety of genres, from pop, ballads, boleros, tangos, and jazz to big band and mariachi. Among the popular Latin American singers, he is the only one who has not made any music in English during the “Latin Explosion” in the 1990s. Despite this, he remained the best-selling Latin artiste throughout the decade. A native of Puerto Rico, he relocated to Mexico and found fame and fortune there. Over the course of his nearly four-decade-long career, Luis Miguel has put out 22 studio albums, two live albums, eight compilation albums, nine video albums, 43 music videos, two extended plays, 64 singles, and two soundtrack albums. He has won six Latin Grammys, five Grammys, and 11 Lo Nuestro Awards. Luis Miguel has been recognized for being one of the primary reasons for the popularity of the bolero genre. He has also gained distinction for his high-grossing live performances and tours. Since 1990, his concerts have generated a staggering total of $278.5 million.
Childhood & Early Life
Luis Miguel was born on April 19, 1970, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Spanish singer and musician Luis Gallego Sanchez and Italian actress Marcela Basteri. He grew up alongside two brothers, Alejandro and Sergio.
Named after the Spanish bullfighter Luis Miguel Dominguín, he celebrates his birthday on 19 April instead of 18 as his father registered him on Puerto Rico's Civil Registry a day after his birth.
Luis Miguel was raised in a Catholic family and cites this to be one of the reasons that he is a Catholic himself. He still visits the church whenever his busy schedule allows him to.
He had a complicated upbringing, mostly due to his early fame. His relationship with his father was not ideal. Sanchez served as Luis Miguel’s manager and was a stern man, pushing his son to the limit during the incessant rehearsals. However, it was this attitude that played a significant part in Luis Miguel’s success. In 1986, his mother suddenly disappeared and she still remains missing.
In the late 1980s, facing financial problems due to poor representations, Luis Miguel told his father that he did not want him as his manager any more. Following the estrangement between the father and son, Sanchez suffered severe depression and drank himself to death in 1992.
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Advised by his father, Luis Miguel began watching videos of Elvis Presley as a child, analysing the King of Rock and Roll’s every movie, recording, and concert performance. He put out his first album, ‘Un Sol’, in 1982. At the time, he was only 11 years old. Released by the Mexican branch of EMI Records, the album earned him his first gold disc.
In the 1980s, he subsequently released five more studio albums: ‘Directo al corazón’ (1982), ‘Decídete’ (1983), ‘Palabra de honor’ (1984), ‘Soy Como Quiero Ser’ (1987), and ‘Busca una Mujer’ (1988).
The album ‘Soy Como Quiero Ser’ sold about 180,000 copies in Argentina and 1,250,000 copies in Mexico. It was also Luis Miguel’s first album released through Warner Music record label and his first collaboration with producer Juan Carlos Calderón.
Luis Miguel earned his first Grammy Award for the song ‘Me Gustas Tal Como Eres’ (‘I like you just the way you are’). A duet with the Scottish singer Sheena Easton, the song appeared in Easton’s studio album ‘Todo Me Recuerda a Ti’.
With the release of his seventh studio album, ‘20 Años’ in 1990, Luis Miguel demonstrated that he had finally matured as a performer. He also established himself as a popular showman with this album. Two of its songs, ‘Tengo Todo Excepto A Ti’ and ‘Entrégate,’ topped Billboard's Hot Latin Tracks in 1990.
He won back-to-back Grammy Awards for Best Latin Pop Albums in 1994 and 1995 for ‘Aries’ and ‘Segundo Romance’. He would win the award once more, in 1998 for ‘Romances’.
In 1997, he became the first Latin singer and the youngest male singer to receive a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2000, he won the Latin Grammy Award for the Album of the Year for ‘Amarte Es Un Placer’.
He put out ‘Mexico En La Piel’, a collection of conventional Mexican mariachi songs, in 2004. It sold about five million copies worldwide and earned him a diamond disc as well as the Latin Grammy Award for Best Ranchero Album at the Latin Grammy Awards in 2005 and the Grammy Award for Best Mexican/Mexican-American Album.
In 2005, he put out his debut greatest hits album, ‘Grandes éxitos’, which interestingly contained two never-released singles: ‘Misterios Del Amor’ and ‘Si Te Perdiera’. He and the Spanish composer Manuel Alejandro collaborated on his 18th studio album, ‘Cómplices’, which was released in 2008. His most recent studio album, ‘¡México Por Siempre!’, was released in November 2017.
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In 1982, Luis Miguel embarked on the first tour of his career, following the release of his debut album, ‘Un Sol’. Over the years, he has performed in North and South America and in Europe. During the 2010 Luis Miguel Tour, he did 223 shows all over the world in the span of three years. This effectively made the tour the longest and highest-grossing tour ever made by a Latin artiste.
Luis Miguel has the distinction of conducting the most consecutive presentations (30) in the Auditorio National (National Auditorium). He is also the record holder for the most presentations in the same venue with a total of 240 concerts.
On May 4, 2017, Luis Miguel and Telemundo came to an agreement that allowed the latter the rights of making an "officially authorized TV series" based on Luis Miguel's life story. On the same day, Netflix announced that they had acquired the rights of streaming the show in Latin America and Spain. The self-titled series ‘Luis Miguel’ began airing on April 22, 2018.
In 1983, Luis Miguel made his acting debut in a season one episode of the comedy TV series ‘Mesa de noticias’. His first big screen appearance as an actor occurred a year later, in the drama film ‘Ya nunca más’ (Never Again).
Over the course of his career, he has contributed to the soundtracks of various TV shows and films, including ‘Speechless’ (1994), ‘Six Feet Under’ (2004), and ‘Spanglish’ (2004).
In 1991, Luis Miguel garnered an international audience for his music with the release of ‘Romance’, his eighth studio album. All the songs in it are boleros, most of which are from the 1950s. He is often attributed the credit of bringing bolero music back to the mainstream. It is his most commercially successful album to date and has sold about 15 million records worldwide.
Family & Personal Life
Luis Miguel prefers his personal life to remain private. However, his relationships have been the subjects of much speculation in Latin media. He has dated actress Lucía Méndez, singer Stephanie Salas, photographer Mariana Uzbek, actress Issabela Camil, actress Sofía Vergara, television host Daisy Fuentes, singer Mariah Carey, journalist Myrka Dellanos, actress Aracely Arámbula, model Kenita Larraín, and actress Genoveva Casanova to name a few.
With Stephanie Salas, he has a daughter named Michelle Gallego (born June 13, 1989). He and Aracely Arámbula have two sons together: Miguel (January 1, 2007) and Daniel (December 18, 2008).
Luis Miguel’s favourite musical instrument is the piano.