Spirit. Class. Sensuality. These are the words that truly embody Julio Iglesias - the most successful Latin singer ever. Garnering more than 2,600 Platinum and Gold certifications and selling over 250 million records around the world, the legendary artist has performed with everyone from Frank Sinatra to Willie Nelson. Julio is the first and only performer to receive one of the most stunning achievements in musical history - the Diamond Record Award by the Guinness Book of World Records - for selling more records in more languages than any other musical artist in history. With each new release, Julio Iglesias managed to top his previous successes and, along the way, become one of the brightest and most recognizable stars in the world of popular music.
Born in Madrid, Spain, Julio Jose Iglesias de La Cueva dreamed of becoming a career diplomat and as a young man studied law in pursuit of his goal. His true love, however, lay on the soccer field. A remarkable natural athlete, Julio had long harbored ambitions to play soccer professionally and, as a teenager, landed his dream job as goalkeeper for the professional team, Real Madrid. “I felt right at home on the soccer field and still love the game immensely,” says Julio. “It taught me the importance of working with a team to reach a common goal.”
After a brief stint playing with the team, his professional soccer career ended when a dramatic, near-fatal accident in 1962 left him partially paralyzed and unable to walk for nearly two years. With dreams of playing soccer nearly crushed, Julio helped pass the time by listening to the radio and writing poems while recuperating. From his sadness and pain sprang complex, sad and romantic verses, which over time and with the aid of an old guitar, Julio began to augment with music. Out of that physical therapy and his poetic musings, Julio Iglesias discovered a new passion that would envelop his life and play an important part in reshaping the way the world hears music.
“Music became a way to heal both my physical and emotional self,” Iglesias reflects.
In 1968, Julio surprised everyone, including himself, by winning the most prestigious song festival in Spain, The Benidorm, with his own composition “La Vida Sigue Igual” (Life Goes On). Shortly thereafter and on the strength of this song, Julio signed his first recording contract with Spain’s Columbia Records Company. Later that same year, Julio recorded “La Vida Sigue Igual,” as his first single, and it instantly became a number one smash in Spain. The streak of recognition had only just begun.
In 1969 Julio traveled to Decca Studios in London to begin work on his debut album. The album quickly became a hit in Spain and other Latin countries. From that point on, Julio continued to compose music and establish himself as an international superstar. He spent the next few years touring in support of the release and participating in prestigious music festivals throughout Europe. In 1971, Julio sold his first one million albums.
“I couldn’t believe where this journey into music had taken me,” Iglesias declares.
The early 1970s saw the beginning of an internationally successful creative period for Julio that paved the way to superstardom. In 1972, his song “Canto a Galicia” topped the charts in Latin America and Europe and later that year, Julio began recording in various languages, the first release being in German. A year later, in 1973, he broke the mark of awards won by any music artist in Spain and Latin America. Equal to the numerous awards won were the number of times his concerts broke box office records - in 1976, his performance at New York City’s Madison Square Garden shattered a longstanding attendance record and while in Chile, more than 100,000 people attended his concert at the National Stadium of Santiago in 1977.
Throughout the ‘80’s, the Iglesias juggernaut started rolling at a momentous pace across the world. In 1980, he performed as a guest of President Anwar Sadat in front of the Egyptian Pyramids, establishing a reputation as a favorite of dignitaries and government luminaries from all over the world.
“To have the opportunity to perform in front of so many world dignitaries and see the differences in political opinions put aside, is such an honor,” comments Iglesias. “I am amazed and feel truly blessed that the messages in my music translate across all languages and cultures – it’s one of the things I am most proud of.”
The original crossover artist, Julio has released 80 albums in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian and German. In 1984, Iglesias released his first English album - 1100 Bel Air Place. It immediately went multi-platinum and formed an all-important bridge between European and American music. His duet that year with Willie Nelson, To All The Girls I Loved Before, became a smash hit. A worldwide promotion contract with Coca Cola quickly followed, establishing Julio as one of the first musical artists associated with the brand that would later count Michael Jordan and others as spokespeople and launching the cola wars. In 1985, a star with his name was unveiled on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In possession of one of popular music's great voices, Julio has crossed all barriers - even that of language - with his electrifying series of international hits. With his breakneck pace of recording, special appearances, touring, TV shows and numerous awards and recognitions, it may seem like Julio has time for little else. But that’s not the case when it comes to an important cause. Julio has used his talents to further the cause of UNICEF, an international organization working for children's rights, their survival, development and protection. In 1988, Julio was appointed as a Special Representative for the Performing Arts, a title he holds dearly to this day. He points out that UNICEF supplies an outlet for him to impact the lives of so many he is otherwise unable to reach. “The world has given me so much, it’s important to give something back,” he says.
A perfectionist at heart, Julio is his own worst critic and is always striving to improve his abilities. A record breaker as well as a record maker, Julio delves deeply into his heart and soul with each new project, delivering each time a timeless piece of work that stands on its own as an instant piece of musical history.
With the release of his first English-language album in 12 years – Romantic Classics- Julio Iglesias continues to bring us new ways of looking at and dealing with romance, while also continuing to perform hundreds of concerts in multiple languages around the world. It is in both this energy, and his capability as the world’s foremost singer in matters-of the-heart, that Iglesias will never be equaled, not just in the number of albums sold, but even more so, in the number of lives he has touched around the globe.