The Ten Best Musical Alumni of the University of Miami
We all knew Gloria was going to make this list.
Photo by Ian Witlen
With an enrollment hovering around 15,000, there's bound to by some talent hiding in its halls. Here are ten of the best musicians who are former Hurricanes.
10. Brianna Perry
Perry is the youngest alumni on this list, but she's also been rapping since she was only seven-years-old, when she first stepped up to the mic in Miami's legendary Poe Boy Music Studio. Along the
9. Grace Slick
The singer of Jefferson Airplane and Starship spent a year at UM from 1958 to 1959 where a literature class or two may have helped her write about Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in her hit "White Rabbit." Or perhaps it was an architecture class that helped inspire her adorably cheesy "We Built This City" with Starship. The Woodstock vet and counterculture icon was a provocateur who was the first person to say "motherfucker" on live TV, which she belted out on the Dick Cavett Show in 1969. We landed on the moon before the first F-bomb was dropped on live television. What an odd world we live in.
8. Pat Metheny
The jazz guitarist attended UM in 1972 where his virtuoso skills must have awfully impressed someone because he was quickly hired at the age of 18 as the school's youngest teacher. He formed the Pat Metheny Group in 1977 and his work with the six string, 12 string, and guitar synthesizer has resulted in his earning three gold albums and 20 Grammy awards. He's still gigging today with the Pat Metheny Unity Group, who made a local appearance this past February at the Adrienne Arsht Center.
7. Will Lee
Starting his academic career on French horn, Lee made a wise transition to a bass major by the time he graduated from UM, which must have made his father Bill Lee (Dean of the Frost School of Music at the time) awfully proud. But in his professional career, no one could accuse Will Lee of nepotism. From the time David Letterman started hosting Late Night on NBC in 1982 until his final episode of the Late Show on CBS this year, Will Lee was in the house band picking his bass guitar. Lee was also inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in 2014.
6. Enrique Iglesias
An argument could be made that dropping out of business school at
5. Ben Folds
Folds Attended the Frost School of Music on a percussion
4. Jon Secada
After completing a Bachelor's degree in Music and then earning a Master's degree in Jazz Vocal Performance, the Hialeah-raised man born as Juan Secada co-wrote a number one hit for his fellow Hurricane, Gloria Estefan, in "Coming Out of the Dark" and found chart success with his own hits "Just Another Day," "Angel," and "I'm Free." He has also given back to his alma mater by creating the Jon Secada Endowed Music Scholarship.
3. Patti Scialfa
Bruce Springsteen's wife and backing singer had her own bonafides before she joined the rock and roll hall of fame with the E Street Band. She attended the Frost School of Music's jazz conservatory in the 1970's as the program's sole female at the time before transferring to NYU in 1974, where she eventually earned her degree. Besides her day job with The Boss, Scialfa has sung
2. Jaco Pastorius
At 22 years of age, the Oakland Park prodigy was teaching bass at UM's Frost School of Music jazz program. Pastorius was not lacking in confidence, unabashedly calling himself the world's greatest bassist. Finding work with legends like Herbie Hancock, Joni Mitchell, and Ian Hunter helped to back up this claim. He died in 1987 at the age of 35 after a confrontation at a Wilton Manors bar, but he hasn't been forgotten. Oakland Park named a park after their fallen son and this summer, Herbie Hancock hosted a concert at the Hollywood Bowl dedicated to Pastorius' music.
1. Gloria Estefan
Graduating in 1979 with a B.A. in psychology, and a minor in French, Gloria has cranked out pop hits like "Conga," "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You," and "Coming out of the Dark" both as a solo artist and with the Miami Sound Machine, introducing Spanglish to a whole cross-section of Middle America. We put her at the top of this list because, one, she's a Magic City icon who deserves it and, two, not doing so may very well be considered inciting a riot in the eyes of Miami law. Now hard at work with a musical about her life called On Your Feet!, set to debut on Broadway later this year, Dr. Estefan was given her honorary doctorate in music from UM in 1993.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Miami, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.