Emilio and Gloria Estefan will receive this year’s Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The power couple, who will be celebrated at a gala concert in March, usher in two firsts for the prize: This year marks the first time it has been awarded to a married couple and the first time it’s awarded to musicians/songwriters of Hispanic descent.
“Emilio and Gloria Estefan… are the creative force behind the popularity of music steeped in the Latino culture,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “This dynamic couple’s professional and personal journey truly mirrors the American dream and we are so pleased to honor their musical legacy.”
Married since 1978, the Cuban-American Estefans catapulted to global fame in 1985 with Miami Sound Machine, creating a unique sound that blended Latin and pop rhythms that pulsed through hits including “Conga,” “Turn the Beat Around,” “Get on Your Feet” and “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You.”
The Estefans were each named BMI’s songwriter of the year and between them have garnered 26 Grammys. Their life story and music were showcased in the Tony Award-nominated Broadway musical On Your Feet!, which they executive produced. In addition to their musical talents, they are also successful entrepreneurs, philanthropists and humanitarians.
Gloria Estefan is having a banner year of acknowledgment by the vaunted cultural institutions of the nation’s capital. This past December, Gloria was inducted into the Kennedy Center Honors. She also was part of the ensemble who last year feted 2017’s Gershwin Prize tribute to Tony Bennett.
The Estefans will receive the prize at an all-star tribute concert in March in Washington, D.C., that will later be aired on PBS.