Gloria Estefan explains how education turned her family life around

The singer told The Big Issue she nearly didn't pursue music because it meant losing health insurance

Fans know Gloria Estefan for her vocal chops and Latin pop legacy. But it could all have been so different – she told The Big Issue she almost went to study diplomacy in France, such was her family’s belief in education.

Education was so important to my family,” she said. “It was seen as a way up for us. We were immigrants in a new country – so you want a way you can better yourself.

“I had a double major in psychology and communications and a minor in French. I then applied to the Sorbonne in France and was going to study international diplomacy, but at the same time I joined the band. Only for fun at that point!

The Latin legend said she took her mum, grandmother and sister tp her first rehearsal where there was a nine-piece band “Crammed int the teeny-tiny apartment” where her husband, Emilio, lived with his parents.


Since 1991 The Big Issue has sold more than 200,000,000 copies – helping the most vulnerable in society earn more than £115 million.

But moving away from higher education to pursue her career in music wasn’t an easy decision. Her son was in and out of hospital because he had asthma, and giving up steady jobs meant losing health insurance.

“But,” Estefan added, “what a great opportunity to make a living at what we love. At one point we would play a 50,000-seat stadium in Latin America then come back and do a wedding for 200 people in Miami. Most bands do not cross over – but we were so exciting and had such a different fusion style.”

Read the rest of the interview in this week’s Big Issue, available from your local vendor.