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jon secada

The arrival of any new trend in popular music inevitably will produce both leaders and followers, innovators and imitators. In the Latin pop explosion now sweeping the international music scene, Jon Secada has been both a leader and an innovator.

In the course of his remarkable career, Jon has earned two Grammy Awards (for Best Latin Pop Album and Best Latin Pop Performance) and career album sales of more than 20 million units worldwide. He has not only topped both the Pop and Latin charts with his own recordings, but has written and/or produced landmark songs for such rising stars as Ricky Martin ("She's All I Ever Had") and Jennifer Lopez ("Baila").

Clearly, Secada's talent has stood the test of time. Now his artistry reaches a new creative peak with Better Part Of Me-Jon's first new album in nearly three years and his first release for a new label, 550 Music/Epic Records.

"This album has been a two-year process," Jon explains. "To be honest, I demo'd 70 songs for this record! We really made it happen very carefully-analyzing every song, every style, everything I wanted to put into it."

Better Part Of Me features thirteen tracks, nearly all co-written by Jon Secada including the irresistible up-tempo first single, "Stop." Both "Stop" and "Lost Inside You" are featured in English and Spanish versions (as "Asi" and "Dentro De Ti" respectively).

"'Stop' is just the bomb!" Jon says happily. "That song for me carries all the elements fusing on this album: pop, rock, Latin, everything. It really represents what I've always wanted to accomplish."

Other highlights of Better Part Of Meinclude the atmospheric mid-tempo song "Break The Walls," propelled by a passionate Secada lead and hushed backing vocals; and the playful, rhythmically potent "Papi," which appears here in English and Spanish versions along with a special "Tropical Mix" created by producers Emilio Estefan, Jr. and Robert Blades.

"There's No Sunshine" is a moving song of heartbreak and hope, written by the L.A. team of Andy Marvel and Arnie Roman and produced by Ric Wake (Mariah Carey, Celine Dion). "It's a beautifully written song which easily could have gone to another artist," says Jon, "so I'm lucky that it landed on my lap. It was also my first time working with Ric Wake, and he was wonderful."

The new album also marks another chapter in the longtime creative and business partnership between Jon and Emilio Estefan Jr.--husband and producer of Epic superstar Gloria Estefan, and founder of Crescent Moon Records. Emilio co-wrote and co-produced several tracks on Better Part Of Me, including "Stop" and "When You're Gone."

"Emilio has been involved in my records from the beginning, but more directly in this one," says Jon. "I'm really proud of our relationship. We've never really hit a snag in close to 15 years of working together."

Jon Secada was born in Havana; at the age of nine, he left Cuba with his family for Miami, where his parents opened a coffee shop. In Miami, "I grew up listening to singer-songwriters like Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Elton John," Jon recalls. "I also loved the great r&b acts like Earth Wind & Fire and Marvin Gaye."

"Of course, Miami is such a melting pot. We have an incredible mixture of music in this city-salsa, merengue, pop, r&b, disco, you name it. And I think all these influences are reflected in this album."

Jon entered the University of Miami and became one of the school's first students to earn both a BA and a masters degree in jazz vocal performance. "Most of the people I work with today, the musicians in my band, are guys I went to college with. My education has been a tremendous aid to me in working and communicating with other musicians."

His experience and the desire to help others led the singer to create the Jon Secada Music Scholarship at the University of Miami. He has also been a key player in the "Keeping Music In The Schools" campaign sponsored by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS).

Jon met Gloria and Emilio Estefan in the late Eighties. He soon became one of Gloria's most valued background singers as well as the co-composer of some of her best-loved songs. Among other tunes, Jon co-wrote and sang background on "Coming Out of the Dark," Gloria's Number One Pop hit from her 1991 album Into The Light.

When his self-titled debut album Jon Secada (SBK/EMI) was released in 1992, Jon Secada was a seasoned veteran of stage and studio: "I worked with Emilio for five years before my own album came out. I worked with Gloria and also with other artists that came through Emilio's production company-singers from Latin America, from Europe, from Japan."

To put it simply, Jon Secada--the artist and the album--blew up. The album sold more than six million copies worldwide and was certified triple platinum in the US, where it reached No. 15 among Billboard Pop Albums. Secada scored a No. 5 Pop hit with the gold single "Just Another Day," and three more Top 30 hits besides: "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 A Voice (EMI), which featured members of Miami Sound Machine and guests Arturo Sandoval (trumpet) and Betty Wright (backing vocals). The album went platinum in the US and spun off the Top Ten Pop hit "If You Go" and a Top 30 follow-up, "Mental Picture." His third EMI album, Amor, was released in 1995 and earned the singer his second Grammy Award, for Best Latin Pop Per-formance.

Apart from his own hugely successful recordings and international tours, Jon Secada has played a leading role in the recent careers of two of Latin pop's brightest stars. Jon co-wrote "She's All I Ever Had" ("Bella," en Espa?ol) for Ricky Martin and his multi-platinum 1999 album Ricky Martin. He also co-wrote and co-produced the song "Baila" for Jennifer Lopez and her multi-platinum 1999 album,On The Six.

"From Celia Cruz and Tito Puente, to Santana and Gloria Estefan, to Ricky and Jennifer--the music has been there all along, the foundation has been there all along," says Jon, who lives in Miami with his wife Maritere and their daughter Mikaela Nina. "Latin music has been part of our society for a long time, and the musical roots are just so strong that it couldn't be denied."

The better part--make that the best part--of American music is in the grooves of Better Part Of Me, the new album by Jon Secada.

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