Guest Author - Karin Norgard
Puerto Rican singer and songwriter Marc Anthony is one of the biggest names in Latin music and is well-known in the United States and internationally as well. To date, he has sold more than ten million albums worldwide. He also holds the record for winning the most Premio Lo Nuestro awards (sixteen) of any Latin music singer. And finally, his marriage to actress and singer Jennifer Lopez, who is also Puerto Rican, makes him one of the most recognized figures in Latin music today.
Born to Puerto Rican parents in New York City in 1968, he was named Marco Antonio Muñiz after a popular Mexican singer. He would later change his name to Marc Anthony when he began his music career to distinguish himself from his namesake. His father a musician, Anthony grew up around music and began writing songs as a teen. Growing up in the 1970s, his musical ear was influenced by the salsa greats – from Willie Colon to Ruben Blades – as well as R&B artists like Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder.
Anthony became involved in the Latin music scene very early as a songwriter and backup vocalist for bands like Menudo and Latin Rascals. In 1991, Anthony partnered with DJ and music producer Little Louie Vega to record a Latin R&B and hip-hop album called When the Night Is Over. The album included guest appearances by Latin greats Tito Puente and Eddie Palmieri. This led Anthony to perform an opening act at Puente’s concert at Madison Square Garden, a great honor that would bring him much recognition in the Latin music world.
In 1993, Marc Anthony released Otra Nota (Other Note), choosing to focus on salsa and other Spanish music. It included the hit song, Hasta Que Te Conocí (Until I Met You). This album would launch his career as a solo Latin music artist. He would follow up this success with Todo a Su Tiempo (Everything In Its Time) in 1995 and Contra La Corriente (Against the Current) in 1997.
Marc Anthony would make a very controversial crossover to Latin pop in English with his self-titled album in 1999. Marc Anthony included hit songs like I Need To Know and You Sang To Me. Though the songs were successful in the charts, the album received mixed reviews. Many Latin music fans, Latinos in particular, were fans of his salsa and other traditional Spanish music. Like other Latin music artists before him – from Ricky Martin to Santana – Anthony was criticized for breaking away from his Hispanic roots.
The artist would make amends with his next release, a salsa album in Spanish called Libre. However, he was again criticized for his 2002 English album Mended. Despite receiving criticism for recording in English as well as Spanish, his albums continued to see great success. In 2004, he released two sister albums. Songs from Amar Sin Mentiras, a Latin pop album, were converted to salsa in Valió La Pena. In 2006, Anthony released a greatest-hits album entitled Sigo Siendo Yo.
Marc Anthony has appeared in several motion pictures throughout his career, from Hackers (1995) to In the Time of Butterflies (2001) to Man on Fire (2004). However, he is best known for his lead acting role in El Cantante, a 2007 film about the life and career of salsa legend Hector Lavoe. Marc Anthony played the role of Lavoe, with his real-life wife and actress-singer Jennifer Lopez playing Lavoe’s wife. The film’s soundtrack included Marc Anthony’s performance of Lavoe tracks from the movie.
Marc Anthony married twice and had three children through those marriages before marrying Jennifer Lopez. Their marriage came less than a week before Anthony's second divorce in 2004. Anthony and Lopez had been long-time friends, having collaborated on several music videos. They even dated briefly in the 1990s before Anthony’s first two marriages. The couple married in a small ceremony and have led a very private life with limited communication with the press regarding their relationship. In February of 2008, Lopez gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl they named Maximo and Emelia, respectively.