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Divas & Superstars

Chapter 3: A New Sound in Salsa

[FOOTAGE: MONTAGE OF NYC VIDEO]

Miami broke open the Latin music market — while New York, home to almost 2 million Latinos, became for producers, a hot house of talent.

INDIA SYNC (VO) There was always music. You start walking down the block and you hear Pop music at its best — the 80s and then there was like (OC) Salsa. And then you had Jazz. And then you had Hip Hop.

[FOOTAGE: MONTAGE OF NYC VIDEO]

Enticed by the rich musical soundscape, producer Sergio George aimed to revive Salsa, languishing since its heyday in the 1970s -- remaking it for a new generation raised on Rock and Roll, R&B and Hip Hop.

SERGIO GEORGE (VO) There is no longer a hard-core (OC) salsero out there in a big way, not like before. So I do have to try to get people who aren't salsa fans by toning it down a little bit lyrically, musically where they can understand it.

[FOOTAGE: LA INDIA MUSIC VIDEO " I CAN'T GET NO SLEEP"]

Sergio George set his sights on a girl from the South Bronx — Linda Caballero, known as "La India."

LA INDIA (VO) What was really popular at the time was freestyle music. But I wasn't really (OC) happy because I felt like, I really needed the other side. (VO) I really needed to cross-over to my people.

[FOOTAGE: LA INDIA FOOTAGE 'DICEN QUE SOY']

India gave up a promising career as a pop singer to embrace her Puerto Rican roots. Her first hit, "Dicen que Soy" — 'They Say I Am' — was an early example of George's pop-inflected Salsa.

[FOOTAGE MONTAGE: LA INDIA AND MARC ANTHONY MUSIC VIDEOS]

George went on to build on their success — pairing La India in a duet with another young Puerto Rican artist, Marc Anthony.

[FOOTAGE MONTAGE: MARC ANTHONY MUSIC VIDEOS]

Born in East Harlem, in 1968, Marc Anthony spent his youth around New York's housing projects. Like India, he found success in Freestyle and then switched to Salsa.

His first Spanish album, "Otra Nota," — 'On a Different Note' — had been produced by Sergio George.

[FOOTAGE MONTAGE: MARC ANTHONY MUSIC VIDEOS]

SERGIO GEORGE (VO) The Marc Anthony sound was a combination of the hard edge New York sound (OC) with the romantic stuff but with a more of a pop R&B edge that these young artists like La India and Marc had from the streets. [FOOTAGE: 'VIVIR LO NUESTRO' MARC ANTHONY AND LA INDIA IN STUDIO] (VO) There was a sense of competition where they wanted to outdo each other and it was a fun competition, it wasn't like a, an (OC) animosity, it was like "Put the track — I wanna show her" — "I wanna show him."- that kind of thing.

[FOOTAGE: MONTAGE "VIVIR LO NUESTRO" MARC ANTHONY AND LA INDIA IN STUDIO - MARC ANTHONY AND LA INDIA IN CONCERT]

"Vivir Lo Nuestro,"- 'To Live Our Love' — united two of Latin music's most promising new voices.

[FOOTAGE: "VIVIR LO NUESTRO" - MARC ANTHONY AND LA INDIA IN CONCERT]

LA INDIA I was more famous than him — at the time....

[FOOTAGE: "VIVIR LO NUESTRO" - MARC ANTHONY AND LA INDIA IN CONCERT]

LA INDIA SYNC (VO) Marc was skinny like a pasta (OC) and I was chunky like a meatball, (VO) so we were like a spaghetti and meatball (OC) you know, looking at each other. We're like "Yeah, all right baby, let's sing."

[FOOTAGE: MONTAGE "VIVIR LO NUESTRO" MARC ANTHONY AND LA INDIA IN STUDIO - MARC ANTHONY AND LA INDIA IN CONCERT]

SERGIO GEORGE (VO) The vocal interpretation that they bought to the table, nobody had really had heard up to that point — (OC) those kinds of riffs -that kind of energy and power going to a track.

[FOOTAGE: "VIVIR LO NUESTRO" - MARC ANTHONY AND LA INDIA IN CONCERT]

LA INDIA It is really amazing how much, you know, a song could do for you. "Vivir Lo Nuestro" just completely took us to a different level. And from there on we never had to look back.

[FOOTAGE: "VIVIR LO NUESTRO" - MARC ANTHONY AND LA INDIA IN CONCERT]

[FOOTAGE OF SALSA CLUBS]

Marc Anthony and La India spearheaded a salsa revival that brought Latinos and non-Latinos to dance floors across America.

[STILL OF LA INDIA WITH CIGAR.]

La India became a legend to Latinos everywhere.

LA INDIA SYNC (VO) I was just hanging around with the big guys. And (OC) whenever someone would say something about me I would either get too sensitive and cry, or I would knock 'em out... and come out in the news-newspapers the next day. I was considered very controversial.

[FOOTAGE OF LA INDIA]

TOMMY MOTTOLA (VO) India is one of the most fascinating voices that I ever heard, but I think those rhythms, those sounds are more (OC) narrow than the pop rhythms of Latin music. Certainly doing those rhythms with English, you know, really wouldn't work.

[FOOTAGE OF MARC ANTHONY MUSIC VIDEO]

Marc Anthony's career took off. Honored with a Grammy for his album "Contra la Corriente," — 'Against the Tide' — he would become the biggest-selling salsa performer of all time.

LEILA COBO (VO) He is just a fabulous singer. He also happens to be incredibly charismatic on stage. (OC)A very sexy guy, even though he 's not great looking, but very sexy, very charismatic.

[FOOTAGE: MARC ANTHONY PERFORMS IN "CAPE MAN"]

He was starring in Paul Simon's Broadway musical "The Capeman," in 1998, when he came to the attention of Tommy Mottola.

TOMMY MOTTOLA (VO) I was just completely (OC) infatuated with his whole sound, aura, and this golden voice.

Ricky Martin: Livin' la Vida Loca

[FOOTAGE: MONTAGE: MARC ANTHONY BACK STAGE AND IN CONCERT]

Tommy Mottola saw in Marc Anthony mass appeal beyond the world of salsa, and signed him to his label. They began working on an English language album. But another artist was a few steps ahead.

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