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Gloria Estefan becomes first Hispanic woman inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame

FILE - In this May 15, 2019 file photo, singer Gloria Estefan performs at the Statue of Liberty Museum opening celebration at Battery Park, in New York.
Evan Agostini
FILE - In this May 15, 2019 file photo, singer Gloria Estefan performs at the Statue of Liberty Museum opening celebration at Battery Park, in New York.

Gloria Estefan, the woman behind hit songs in English and Spanish, was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, a top honor for songwriters, on Thursday.

Estefan, who was born in Havana, Cuba, is the first Hispanic woman to be included in the Songwriters Hall of Fame. The induction is the latest honor in Estefan’s decades-long career. She is the second best-selling female Latin artist in history and was named one of the Top 100 greatest artists of all time by VH1 and Billboard.

In her hometown of Miami, though, she’s best known for her iconic song catalog that has been blasted at family cookouts, weddings and brunches. Her songwriting credits include “Let’s Get Loud,” “Coming Out Of The Dark” and “Get On Your Feet.”

During her speech at the award ceremony, Estefan said this honor fulfilled a dream “that I hadn’t even dared to dream.”

“I’ve been incredibly blessed with some pretty cool honors, but i have to admit, this is a big one for me,” said Estefan, who has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Kennedy Center Honors. “To be counted among this incredible group of inductees -- who I so admire and am a huge fan of each and every one — makes this honor that much more special.”

And her accolades are vast.

She has won several Grammy awards, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and a National Artistic Achievement Award from the U.S. Congress. In 2015,“On Your Feet!,” a jukebox musical about her life, premiered on Broadway. That same year, she and her husband were awarded the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2017, she became the first Cuban-American and fourth Latina to receive the Kennedy Center Honors. She even has her own Barbie doll.

But as a songwriter, Estefan said in a January interview with CBS Miami, being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame is “the biggest honor.” Her fellow inductees this year include Snoop Dogg, Sade and the band members of Blondie.

“To me, it’s all about the songwriters. Those are the people who got me through my toughest times,” she said. “I would pour over their lyrics and read all the credits. They got me through some very tough moments in my life, so for my music to be able to impact people in that way is just amazing.”

Though it felt “wonderful” to be the first Hispanic woman included in the hall of fame, Estefan added that “we have a long ways to go.”

“I’m sure there have been many many women writers through the years that are deserving of this,” Estefan said. “At this age, to be the first at anything is pretty great.”

This story was produced with financial support from The Pérez Family Foundation, in partnership with Journalism Funding Partners, as part of an independent journalism fellowship program. The Miami Herald maintains full editorial control of this work.

Copyright 2023 WLRN 91.3 FM. To see more, visit WLRN 91.3 FM.

Amanda Rosa