Gloria Estefan is passionate about many things. One of those things is the 305.
No matter how many shiny awards the "Get On Your Feet" singer may stack on her shelf, or the number of successful businesses she runs with hubby Emilio, Miami remains, and always will, at the center of la cantante's heart.
La Cubanita has donated well over $1 million to the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and many other local organizations through the Gloria Estefan Foundation. And her latest contribution to the Magic City has been her fight to save Miami Marine Stadium.
See also: Gloria Estefan: La Cantante de Miami from Miami New Times' People Issue
A vote to renovate the abandoned waterfront stadium recently fell through at city hall, but that's not stopping Estefan from doing her part to preserve Miami's history.
Here's what the Latin Songwriters Hall of Famer had to say about Miami Marine Stadium and the importance of keeping our past alive.
Crossfade: You've been a strong advocate for the restoration of the Miami Marine Stadium through the Friends of Miami Marine Stadium initiative. Aside from the history and all the music legends who've performed there, what do you feel makes it such an important landmark?
Gloria Estefan: First of all, I've had the opportunity to travel the world, and short of the Sydney Opera House, which is really not the same thing because it's an indoor venue, there's nothing like this in the world. Secondly, it was made by a 28-year-old Cuban American at the time. Cuba will never be the same again. Because of the loss of Cuba, it has that nostalgia. For that reason, we need to keep [Miami Marine Stadium] alive. It was a gift that was given to our city and culture.
It's a great venue. It's a place that no matter how hot it is, you sit in those stands and it's cool. The beauty of being in a musical or artistic event while you're in nature is amazing. We're a big boating community, yet we don't have a lot of places to go in our boats. It's a great place. I had the privilege of performing there back in the day.
See also: Gloria Estefan Talks Autobiographical Musical, On Your Feet!: "You'll Laugh, Cry, and Dance"
How was it?
I performed there one time, right when "Dr. Beat" was becoming a huge hit and for Y-100, which is both a local and national radio station. It was the first time a local group [Estefan performed with the Miami Sound Machine] got that exposure and play. You're literally performing on the water. The stage would come out from across the bay. The acoustics are incredible, and the audience goes a little crazy. It's a different type of venue.
Aside from your efforts to help renovate the Miami Marine Stadium, you and Emilio have also helped keep Miami's Art Deco architectural history alive with the Cardozo and Shore Park hotels [where the Estefans' restaurant Larios on the Beach is housed].
We used to own a building on Lincoln Road that we sold last year, but we made it look like it did back in 1929. We sold it. I have a picture on the beach with my dad. My mom told me I was two at the time, and told my dad that one day I was gonna buy him that hotel, [the Cardozo Hotel]. I've always been kind psychic. [Laughs] It's important to be a part of the salvaging of whatever we can in the city. This is our home and in any way we can be a part of its growth and preservation, we will.
When you take a look at our city, it seems as if our history is turning to dust and being replaced by condos. For instance, look at Tobacco Road.
Like anything, it's a business. My daughter is in Boston now. They were all very sad because down the street, where she lived last year, there was a sandwich shop, Charley's. It's been a staple, but what happens? It was started by the great grandparents, and by the time it gets down to grand kids, they may have other interests. That's why when you can do something to save a place, it's important. Change is inevitable. You can't stop progress and growth. But in Miami, especially since it's such a young city, it's even more important to preserve it.
What's the most valuable lesson you've learned?
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I always advise young musicians to do it because you love it and not let anyone change your artistic vision. What you have to offer is you, and that's what makes art special and different. Make sure to do what you love and to do it for the right reason.
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