Some artists rocket to stardom so completely and with such a clear and defined musical style, that we identify their music intrinsically as ours. We grant these artists the highest possible status by making their songs our private refuge, the very soundtrack of our lives. These artists are a part of who we truly are. Multiple Grammy Award-winner Jon Secada is one of those artists.
With a career spanning over two decades, two Grammy Awards, 20 million albums sold, and starring roles on Broadway, the acclaimed, romantic sounds of Jon Secada, have resulted in numerous hits in English and Spanish establishing him as one of the first bilingual artists to have international crossover success. Adored by millions around the world, Secada is recognized as an international superstar by both fans and peers alike for his soulful and melodic voice. In honor of the 20th Anniversary of his first hit (“Just Another Day”), Secada recently released his latest single and music video, “I’m Never Too Far Away,” which is currently climbing the Billboard Magazine Adult Contemporary chart.
Jon’s sound features soaring melodies accompanied by lush, detailed harmonies and accessible rhythms. His lyrics explore love, loss, separation and redemption while always focusing on the positive. His songs generate a tangible sense of hope to millions of fans around the globe. The Cuban-born, yet distinctly American recording artist, producer and songwriter Jon Secada has not only written and produced hit songs for his own career, but also written and produced numerous songs and #1 hits for such artists as Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin and Gloria Estefan.
Secada’s latest single, “I’m Never Too Far Away,” celebrates a musical milestone. It marks the 20th anniversary of his professional career with a stylish contemporary radio single, still sprinkled with that instantly recognizable Secada sound. The single is also Secada’s first collaboration with Billboard Magazine’s five-time “Producer of the Year,” “Producer of the Decade” (2000–2010) and six-tiime ASCAP “Songwriter of the Year,” Rudy Perez.
Most of the songs in his career, including “Just Another Day” (Billboard Top 5 pop hit), “Angel,” (Billboard Top 10 pop hit), “Do You Believe in Us”, “If You Go”, “Too Late Too Soon”, “Same Dream” and, the soaring “Someday,” share a theme, the exploration of loss and, most importantly, the hope that can exist within that loss is everywhere. It is Secada’s lyrical mantra
in many of his songs - the constant message to his audience that something lost can be found again if you make a conscious choice to believe in hope. It’s a philosophy that perfectly describes the man as well as the artist.
The “man”, Juan Francisco Secada was born on October 4,1961, and at nine years old arrived in Hialeah, Florida, from Cuba, with his devoted mother Victoria and his heroic father Jose, who had just been released after being unjustly incarcerated for three years as a political prisoner. Once the family immigrated to the United States and started new lives in Hialeah, Florida, his parents managed a coffee shop while Secada helped out even as he attended school. It wasn’t until well into his teens that he discovered his affinity for music.
Growing up in a culturally diverse city like Miami, Secada was exposed to many different musical influences. Spanish radio was filled with salsa, merengue and tropical rhythms that he loved, but he also developed an equally deep and abiding passion for American Pop, Dance and R&B. Inspired by musical giants such as Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Elton John and Marvin Gaye, Secada’s early musical style became a fusion of all these sounds. With a touch of Latin, Soul and Blues percolating as musical undertones beneath the surface of his Pop anthems, Secada crafted a completely original style of his own and Jon Secada the “artist” was born.
After graduating from Hialeah High School, Secada enrolled at the University of Miami in the hopes of becoming an accomplished jazz musician. Education was, is and always will be, a key component to what makes him “tick.” Speaking about this time period in his life, Secada has said, “My intention when I began in this industry was to be a musician, not necessarily a recording artist, just a musician in general. And that's the reason I went to college and got my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, which have been great for me. It's helped me a lot with my career and I knew that no matter what, I could always teach and I’d be ok. I’m a big believer in education, period."
Almost immediately after graduating from school in the late 1980’s, Secada met Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Jr. and at the time, he was completely unaware of the impact this meeting would have on his career. Soon after they met, Secada was invited to join Gloria’s band as a background singer but they quickly realized his potential and he became a valuable addition to Estefan Enterprises in every conceivable way. His talent as a songwriter became evident when he started composing well-received songs including some of Gloria’s best-loved ballads.
Among other tunes, Secada co-wrote and sang background vocals 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 Secada was given the life-changing opportunity of taking over the stage for a few minutes every show and performing a solo song as the lead artist. The crowd absolutely loved him and it wasn’t long before Jon was signed to a record contract and finally given an opportunity to record his own solo album.
His self-titled debut album Jon Secada (SBK/EMI), released in 1992, skyrocketed his career when it sold more than six million copies worldwide, was certified triple platinum in the U.S. and reached No. 15 among Billboard Pop albums. His debut single, “Just Another Day,”became a Number 5 Pop hit with a bullet and achieved Gold status and to this day, is Secada’s signature song that became an anthem to an entire generation. Three more Top 30 hits, “Angel,” “I’m Free,” and “Do You Believe in Us?” from the debut album all established Jon as a pop music mainstay. In addition, 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 unprecedented success for a Latino, bilingual pop star was followed in 1994 with Secada’s second album, Heart Soul and Voice (EMI), which featured members of The Miami Sound Machine and guests Arturo Sandoval and Betty Wright. The album went platinum in the U.S. and featured the Top 10 pop hit “If You Go” and the Top 30 hit “Mental Picture.” His third album on EMI, Amor, was released in 1995 and earned Secada his second Grammy Award for “Best Latin Pop Performance.” He was once again honored at the 48th Annual Grammy Awards in 2006 when Songs From The Neighborhood: The Music of Mister Rogers, featuring twelve top artists including Secada, won the Grammy for the “Best Musical Album For Children.”
As a writer/Producer, Secada co-wrote and co-produced the song “Baila” for Jennifer Lopez, which appeared on her 1999 multi-platinum album, On the Six. He worked with teen singing sensation Mandy Moore on two of her tracks, “One Sided” and “It Only Took a Minute,” from her self-titled multi-platinum album. He then co-wrote “She’s All I Ever Had,” and it’s Spanish counterpart “Bella,” for Ricky Martin’s 1999 Multi-platinum self-titled album.
As a two-time Grammy award winning recording artist and a dynamic, versatile, live performer, Secada is an international superstar who is constantly touring and performing all across the globe. His versatility is evident with his numerous collaborations. He has 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. He has also recorded duets with pianist Jim Brickman, Grammy winning icon Olivia Newton-John, and collaborated on dance remixes with the legendary Pablo Flores.
Secada’s next album Same Dream (2005) was released to robust critical acclaim. Billboard Magazine said, “This is the kind of meticulously produced album that most of us thought were a thing of the past.” He then followed this success with a much-celebrated Latin-themed holiday collection, Christmas Fiesta and Una Fiesta Navideña (2007).
In September 2009, Secada released Expressions, The Jazz CD, featuring covers and some classic Secada hits, all performed with a jazz-flavored twist. In March 2010 he released “Classics / Clasicos,” (Big 3 Records) a collection of standards that were hits in both English and Spanish including “My Way,” “Besame Mucho,” “Que Sera Sara” and “La Bamba,” among others. In 2010, Secada released his first live concert DVD, "Stage Rio" from his 2009 tour in Brazil. In 2010, the single "Dejame Quererte" from the album “Otra Vez” reached the No.17 spot on Billboard’s “Tropical Charts” and on February 8th, 2011, Jon's release, "Otra Vez" on YME Records/Universal, received universal acclaim.
In addition to his time in the recording studio for four years Jon served as a celebrity judge on the international hit show, Latin American Idol. Having enjoyed his time on television with Idol, Jon also participated as a celebrity contestant on Univision's hit dance show "Mira Quien Balia" (the Latin version of "Dancing with the Stars"), to over 10 million viewers.
Always exploring various creative outlets, Jon has demonstrated a tremendous love for the theatrical stage, dating back to the beginning of his college career. This dream was realized in 1995 when he starred on Broadway in Grease portraying the lead role of “Danny Zuko.” His critically acclaimed performance led to one the longest consecutive sell out streaks for a Broadway show ever seen.
Following the rave reviews for Grease, Broadway called upon him once again in 2003 where his mastery of theatrical stage was challenged in what he calls “the most important step in his career.” He played the Emcee role in Sam Mendes’ critically-acclaimed version of Cabaret. Clive Barnes of The New York Post writes, “For the first long 30 seconds or so of Jon Secada’s bravura, powerhouse performance I had my own preconceived doubts, but the man is just a wonderful performer, and, without really changing the Mendes/Cumming persona, he fits it around his own flamboyant individuality.” Cabaret earned “four stars” in the review and cemented Secada as a Broadway force to be reckoned with. In the fall of 2004 Jon also starred as “Joseph “ in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s & Tim Rice’s theatrical hit Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Jon has devoted himself to assisting charitable groups all over the world, under his organization, "Jon Secada Charities". He has been active with many causes to help children, education, AIDS research, and child abuse. His commitment to education and helping others led him to create the Jon Secada Music Scholarship at the University of Miami. He’s also led an ongoing effort to raise awareness to Hepatitis C by partnering with pharmaceutical giant MERCK and The American Liver Foundation. For his efforts, The Pan American Health Organization recently acknowledged Secada with an award that acknowledged him as a leader in Hepatitis C awareness around the world. It is a painful but necessary subject for Secada to discuss as he recently lost his beloved father, Jose Secada, to the disease. Jose Secada’s condition was undiagnosed for much of his life and tragically, after a valiant effort, it ultimately consumed him. Jon is determined to raise awareness against this awful affliction in any way that he can.
Jon was appointed by former President George W. Bush to serve on the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. The committee was in charge with creating a multi-year action plan aimed at closing the educational achievement gap between Hispanic students and their peers. Jon has also been instrumental in raising funds in Washington, D.C. for the national effort "Keeping Music in Schools." He is a supporter of many initiatives including the Pediatric AIDS Unit at Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital, the Lifebeat Concert to benefit AIDS, Amigos Together for Kids, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the Boys and Girls Club, among other charitable organizations. In addition, Jon has been active in the Hurricane Relief Efforts. His song, "The Last Goodbye," was a tribute song dedicated to the families of the victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks. This song, along with three other versions including an all-star version in Spanish featuring over 100 Hispanic Artists around the world, was released as a single, with all proceeds going to the victims' families. Currently, the single has raised over $250,000 for victims' families. In addition to his music career, Jon is involved with many other business ventures. His Miami-based music lounge, "Secada's" at the Magic City Casino, continues to enjoy sold-out shows and great reviews.
Jon’s commitment to education remains steadfast as well. He is currently a visiting professor at Miami Dade College, the University of Miami and Riverside Community College in Los Angeles where he has given not one but two commencement addresses. Jon also serves as one of the celebrity mentors for The Inspire and Develop Artists Program (IDA) along with master producers David Frangioni, Mark Hudson and the legendary Rudy Perez. The seminar is designed strictly for singers and singer/songwriters and, affords them the opportunity to receive one-on-one, personal coaching, instruction and advice from superstars like Secada, on their music and career choices. The IDA participants also get to compose new songs with Secada and other mentors in an incredible format that’s never been done before. Secada is passionately on board with IDA as it affords him a clear opportunity to do something he truly loves: educating, inspiring and developing young talents.
Jon Secada’s music is filled with and informed by the deepest faith in the power of love. His music inspires us to embrace the positive side of our nature and to believe that darkness is the temporary to the constant that is light.
With his current and ongoing projects, Jon’s popularity is as strong as ever. An avid fan of social media, he is currently followed by more than 825,000 fans on Twitter. For more information on Jon, “I’m Never Too Far Away” and his concert schedule, visit www.JonSecada.com, or follow him on Facebook and Twitter @JonSecada.