We all knew Gloria was going to make this list.
We all knew Gloria was going to make this list.
Photo by Ian Witlen

The Ten Best Musical Alumni of the University of Miami

It isn't just hall of fame football players like Michael Irvin and Jim Kelly or action movie stars like The Rock and Sylvester Stallone that have walked across The University of Miami's campus. There are also a boatload of renowned and acclaimed musicians who attended class in Coral Gables. And in the school's 90 year history, it has racked up quite an impressive list of musical alumni.

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 way she's earned the respect of Miami's own Trina, and the iconic Missy Elliott. She was nominated for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist at the BET Awards, and she did all of this while earning a degree in a degree in Business Economics. Now that she's a graduate, we can't wait to see what she does with all this free time.

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 University of Miami was the best thing Enrique's Iglesias has ever done. Not that we're suggesting anything, kids, but Enrique's fame has just about surpassed that of his father Julio's — no easy accomplishment. Hits like "Bailando," "Hero," and "I'm a Freak" have helped him sell over 137 million albums worldwide, while snapping pics of his marriage to Anna Kournikova has paid for many a paparazzi's rent.

5. Ben Folds  
Folds Attended the Frost School of Music on a percussion scholarship, but dropped out in 1985 after flunking a final exam with one credit to go before graduating. After throwing his drumset into a lake and moving back to North Carolina, his lack of formal qualifications didn't stop the piano man from finding radio play with the Ben Folds Five. In the mid- '90s, songs like "Brick" and "Song for the Dumped" helped earn him his fame, and later he excelled as a solo artist with tracks like "Rockin' the Suburbs."

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 back-up on Rolling Stones songs as well as released three solo albums. Yet, we can't help but crawl with jealousy when we see her singing into the same microphone as Springsteen.

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.

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