Monday, May 9, 2011

Betcha Didn't Know...?

Some of the most notable names from the dawn of film and television are of Latino descent. Here are some of them.

In this edition, some Latino pop and rock musicians.

Roland Orzabal de la Quintana (1961- ), born Raoul Orzabal de la Quintana (and better known as Roland Orzabal), in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, U.K. to an English mother and French-born father of Spanish-Basque descent, is a singer-songwriter-musician-record producer. He is known mainly as a co-founding member of Tears for Fears, of which he is the main songwriter and predominant vocalist, but he has also achieved success as a producer of other artists. Originally born Raoul, his name was later anglicized to Roland by his parents. He met Curt Smith, while both were in their early teens in Bath, England. They formed Tears for Fears, a synth pop/new wave music outfit in 1981. Their albums include The Hurting, Songs from the Big Chair, The Seeds of Love, Elemental, Raoul and the Kings of Spain, Saturnine Martial & Lunatic and Everybody Loves a Happy Ending. In April 2001 he released his first solo album, Tomcats Screaming Outside. To date, Tears for Fears have sold over 22 million albums worldwide, including more than 8 million in the U.S. In addition to co-producing most of tears for Fears' records, he also co-produced Oleta Adams' successful album Circle of One (1990). The album reached #1 in the UK and #20 in the US, and featured her transatlantic top ten hit "Get Here." He also co-wrote the lead track "Rhythm of Life" for the album and appeared in the song's accompanying music video, as well as playing guitar and singing backing vocals on the track.In 1999, Orzabal co-produced the Icelandic singer-songwriter Emiliana Torrini's acclaimed album Love In The Time of Science, along with Tears for Fears associate Alan Griffiths. The pair also wrote two tracks for the album. Although he did not produce it, his talents as a songwriter were recognized again after Michael Andrews and Gary Jules recorded the song "Mad World" for the Donnie Darko film soundtrack in 2001. Their version was released as a single in 2003 and became the Christmas number one single in the U.K. that year. The song was originally composed by Orzabal and was Tears for Fears' first hit single in 1982.

Geri Halliwell
(1972- ), born Geraldine Estelle Halliwell Hidalgo al estilo latino in Watford, Hertfordshire, England, U.K. to a Spanish mother and an English-Swedish father, is a pop singer-songwriter, author, actress and philanthropist. After coming to international prominence in the late 1990s as Ginger Spice, a member of the girl group, the Spice Girls, she launched her solo career in 1998 and released her album Schizophonic. Since then, she has released two more studio albums – Scream If You Wanna Go Faster and Passion. Her albums with the Spice Girls include Spice and Spiceworld. In 2008, she published a book series named Ugenia Lavender. In 1999, she wrote an autobiography, If Only, in which described her life as a Spice Girl.As a solo artist, she has sold 12 million records worldwide and been nominated for two Brit Awards in 2000 and 2002. With the Spice Girls, she has sold over 50 million records worldwide. She has had four number one solo singles at the U.K. Singles Chart, "Mi Chico Latino," "Lift Me Up," "Bag It Up" and a cover of The Weather Girls' hit "It's Raining Men." In 1999, she became a representative for the United Nations Population Fund. In 2000, she appeared in the two-part BBC documentary series "Geri's World Walkabout," which followed her work with the UN and other travels. She visited Zambia in 2006 to promote greater international awareness of the urgent need to reduce maternal death and halt the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Howie Dorough (1973- ), born Howard Dwaine Dorough Flores al estilo latino, is a singer-musician-producer-actor and member of the Backstreet Boys. The son of a Puerto Rican mother and an Irish American father, he was born in Orlando, Florida, U.S.A. With the Backstreet Boys, he became an international star. The Backstreet Boys (also known as BSB) have sold over 130 million records worldwide, making them the best-selling boy band of all time. According to Billboard, they are the first group since Sade to have their first seven albums (released between 1996 and 2009) reach the top 10 on the Billboard 200 chart. In 2011, the Backstreet Boys toured with fellow boy band New Kids on the Block (NKOTB) and released an album, titled NKOTBSB, which coincided with their joint tour of the same name. The compliation album was released with two new tracks. In 1998, Dorough's sister, Caroline Dorough-Cochran, died of lupus. After her death, Dorough established the Dorough Lupus Foundation. The foundation helps raise awareness about the disease, financial support for those who cannot afford treatment, and money for research.

Esperanza Spalding (1984– ) is a jazz singer and multi-instrumentalist. Born in Portland, Oregon, U.S.A. to a mother with Latino, Welsh and Native American roots; and an African American father. By the time she was five, she had taught herself to play the violin and was playing with the Chamber Music Society of Oregon. She stayed with them until she was fifteen and left as concertmaster. During this time she also found the opportunity to pick up instruction in music by listening to her mother's college teacher instruct her mother in guitar. She also played oboe and clarinet before discovering the bass in high school. She is able to sing in English, Spanish and Portuguese. When she was 15 or 16 years old, she started writing lyrics for music for the local indie rock/pop group Noise for Pretend. She soon starting singing with them as well. She left high school at 16 and, after completing her GED, enrolled on a music scholarship in the music program at Portland State University, where she remembers being "the youngest bass player in the program." She decided to apply to Berklee College of Music on the encouragement of her bass teacher, and did well enough in her audition to receive a full scholarship. She was the 2005 recipient of the Boston Jazz Society scholarship for outstanding musicianship. Almost immediately after graduation from college later the same year, shewas hired by Berklee College of Music, becoming one of the youngest professors in the institution's history, at age 20. She has recorded three albums: Junjo (2006), Esperanza (2008) and Chamber Music Society (2010) and won the 2011 Grammy for Best New Artist. She currently lives in Austin, Texas, U.S.A.

Christina Milián (1981- ), born Christina Marie Flores Milián al estilo latino, is a singer-songwriter, actress, dancer and model. Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.A. to Cuban parents, she had begun auditioning with local talent agencies by the time she was nine years old, shot commercials for Wendy's and Honeycomb cereal, and played the lead role in the musical Annie. Her mother noticed her daughter's potential and moved to Los Angeles with her three daughters when she was 13 years old. By the age of 17, she had begun writing songs to help obtain a recording contract. She made her first professional musical appearance on rapper Ja Rule's second studio album Rule 3:36 (2000), performing vocals on the song "Between Me and You." The song was released as the album's lead single in 2000, peaking at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100, and in the top 30 of the U.K. Singles Chart. This collaboration with Ja Rule led to a record deal with The Inc. Records and Def Soul Records. She later moved to Island Records. She has released three studio albums: Christina Milian (2001), It's About Time (2004) and So Amazin' (2006). As an actress, her first lead role was in the 2003 film Love Don't Cost a Thing, and subsequently had main roles in Be Cool and the horror film Pulse. She also had a minor role in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, starred as the lead role in the film Bring It On: Fight to the Finish and was cast in the ABC Family television movie "Christmas Cupid." As a songwriter, she has written for several artists, most notably Jennifer López with her hit song "Play." She has been nominated for two Grammy Awards and is currently at work on her fourth studio album, due for release in 2011.

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