Secada visits Trumann

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Jon Secada, thought by some to be one of the most gifted artists of our time, visited the Baldwin Piano plant in Trumann Tuesday.

"I am looking forward to touring the plant and seeing how the pianos are made," Secada said. "It is great that they are an American instrument made here in America."

Secada and his family toured the plant, and he played on some of Baldwin's best pianos.

Baldwin officials said they were honored to have a musician of Secada's magnitude visit the plant.

Secada said he enjoyed the visit and his time in Arkansas.

"This is my first trip to Arkansas, and its beautiful here," he said.

Secada is not only blessed with a soulful voice, but also with an artistry to create, write and produce music. The millions of people worldwide who have followed the radiant career of this international superstar have witnessed the inimitable talents of this legendary artist.

Secada, born in Havana, Cuba, arrived with his parents to the United States at the age of nine. While attending school, his family managed a coffee shop. It wasn't until well into his teens that Jon discovered his gift for music. Growing up in the culturally diverse city of Miami, Secada was exposed to many different sounds. Although salsa, merengue and tropical rhythms filled the radio airways, Jon developed a passion for R&B and Pop. Inspired by musical moguls such as Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Elton John and Marvin Gaye, his music is an eclectic fusion of all these sounds. With a bit of funk, soul and undertones of Latin percussion, much like his character, Secada has accomplished a unique and striking sound.

After graduating from Hialeah High School, Jon enrolled at the University of Miami where he became an accomplished jazz musician. He completed a Bachelor's degree in music and a master's degree in jazz vocal performance. Simultaneously, he began developing his considerable skills as a songwriter. Then, in the late 1980's, Jon met Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Jr. At the time, he was unaware of the impact this meeting would have on his career. Soon after they met, Jon was invited to join Gloria's band as a background singer. Shortly thereafter, the group realized his potential and he quickly became a valuable addition to the group. His incredible talent as a songwriter became evident when he started composing music including some of Gloria's best ballads. Among other tunes, Jon co-wrote and sang background on "Coming Out of the Dark," Gloria's number one hit from her 1991 album Into the Light. During Gloria's "Coming Out of the Dark" tour Jon was given the life-changing opportunity of taking over the stage and performing solo. The crowd loved him and later, his career took off into a solo act.

His self-titled debut album Jon Secada (SBK/EMI), released in 1992, skyrocketed the career of this male vocalist. With his noticeable florid and solid singing style, this first album sold an astonishing six million plus copies worldwide and was certified triple platinum in the U.S., where it reached No. 15 among Billboard Pop albums. He later scored a No.5 Pop hit with the Gold single "Just Another Day," and three more top 30 hits, "Angel," "I'm Free," and "Do You Believe in Us?" The Spanish-language version of the album, Otro Dia Mas Sin Verte (EMI-Latin), became the Number One Latin album of 1992 and earned Jon his first Grammy Award, for Best Latin Pop Album.

This landmark success was followed in 1994 by Jon's second album, Heart Soul and Voice (EMI), which featured members of The Miami Sound Machine and guests Arturo Sandoval (trumpet) and Betty Wright (background vocals). The album went Platinum in the U.S. and spun off the Top Ten Pop hit "If You Go" and a Top 30 hit "Mental Picture." His third album on EMI, Amor, was released in 1995 and earned the singer his second Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Performance. In total, Jon has amassed a career sales total of more than 20 million albums worldwide.

A two-time Grammy award winning recording artist, a dynamic live performer, a talented, insightful, songwriter, Jon is an international superstar in his own right. He's performed with opera legend Luciano Pavarotti and recorded a duet with the late Frank Sinatra on "The Best Is Yet to Come" from Sinatra's Duets II album.

Just recently, Jon was appointed by President Bush to serve on his Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. This committee is charged with creating a multi-year action plan aimed at closing the educational achievement gap between Hispanic students and their peers.

"I am honored to have the opportunity to be a part of such an important initiative and make a difference in the Hispanic community," stated Jon.

Secada's next album release will be a Christmas CD full of traditional standards with a Cuban flair. Secada will be spending time this summer in Argentina working on Latin American Idol.

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