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Divas & Superstars

Chapter 6: Miami Sizzles, Shakira Rides the Pop Wave

[FOOTAGE: WILL SMITH MUSIC VIDEO] "Welcome to Miami. Bienvenido a Miami."

At the epicenter of the explosion was the United States' most Latin city, Miami --a thriving hub at a crossroads--between North and South America, Europe and Los Angeles.

[FOOTAGE MONTAGE: MIAMI]

LEILA COBO (VO) It seemed like (OC) the possibilities were endless. (VO) And that seeped into the music and into the whole feel. Miami had been this kind of (OC) really sleepy town. And then suddenly there was a boom of music coming out of here. There were several very big producers doing a lot of big projects.

[FOOTAGE AND STILL MONTAGE: EMILIO ESTEFAN]

Emilio Estefan had opened his own studios, Crescent Moon, in 1994. He had not only managed Gloria Estefan's career, but had also played a key role in launching other major artists into the English-language market --always relying on the power of rhythm.

EMILIO ESTEFAN (OC) Rhythms move people. So you go to Colombia they have great rhythms. [FOOTAGE MONTAGE: MUSIC: 'OYE"] (VO) You go to Mexico; they have great rhythms. You go to Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic. That syncopation we have, and you know the flare that we have when we do percussion. (OC) Nobody can do it like we do.

[FOOTAGE MONTAGE: MUSIC: 'OYE"]

LEILA COBO (VO) All the Latin (OC) pop songs that became great crossover hits were songs you could dance to and this (VO) "danceability" transcends language, and it transcends where the music is from. (OC) Those songs all had a beat that you could move to.

[FOOTAGE: SHAKIRA MUSIC VIDEO]

Shakira Mebarak, a Colombian of Lebanese descent, brought a unique combination of rhythms from her native Barranquilla.

[SHAKIRA INTERVIEW ARCHIVAL CLIP]

[You know I grew up in a Caribbean city, you know? So I am used to merengüe, salsa, vallenato, cumbia. But I don't know why, I just love Rock and Roll.]

[FOOTAGE: SHAKIRA MUSIC VIDEO]

With her whimsical poetry and folk style sounds, Shakira had become well known in Latin America as an alternative rocker.

[FOOTAGE AND STILL MONTAGE: SHAKIRA]

She arrived at Estefan's studio in 1998, in search of a wider audience.

EMILIO ESTEFAN (VO) I saw in Shakira talent, a baby full of talent. This girl can move, she can sing, she can write.

[FOOTAGE AND STILL MONTAGE: EMILIO IN STUDIO]

Emilio searched for a distinctive sound for Shakira ... and found it in her Lebanese roots.

[FOOTAGE: SHAKIRA IN CONCERT - "OJOS ASI"]

EMILIO ESTEFAN: (VO) To be a good producer, you (OC) really have to find a sound that establishes their personality, where they come from. (VO) For example Shakira, the first (OC) song I did for her, it was Middle Eastern.

[FOOTAGE: SHAKIRA IN CONCERT - "OJOS ASI"]

"Ojos Asi" — 'Eyes Like These' — became Shakira's signature song.

LEILA COBO (VO) She had a mix of sounds that hadn't been heard before. She was very dynamic. She broke a mold, (OC) and I think for something to be huge it has to break a mold.

[FOOTAGE: SHAKIRA IN CONCERT - "OJOS ASI"]

TOMMY MOTTOLA (VO) When you think about putting a whole machine behind an artist to say "this artist has global potential," (OC) you really have to think about at the end of the day — can they make popular music and can they then, be out there to support that popular music bilingually.

[FOOTAGE: SHAKIRA MUSIC VIDEO]

Before Shakira, every crossover artist had been bicultural and bilingual. But the young Colombian star spoke no English. And as a singer-songwriter, she struggled.

EMILIO ESTEFAN (VO) We worked hard, (OC) to five, six o'clock in the morning, trying to translate songs and trying to do things because we believed in her.

[FOOTAGE AND STILL MONTAGE: SHAKIRA MUSIC VIDEO, LAUNDRY SERVICE ALBUM COVER, TRAVELING SHAKIRA, AND IN CONCERT "HIPS DON'T LIE."]

Co-written by Gloria Estefan, "Whenever, Wherever" was for Shakira, what "Livin' La Vida Loca," had been for Ricky Martin. The album, "Laundry Service," was an international sensation.

But even as Shakira filled arenas across the world, the Latin music wave was beginning to recede.

SERGIO GEORGE It got to a point that somebody in a label took it upon themselves to make a decision that said, "we need to have a pretty person sing a song produced by whoever because people want to buy." People want to buy good music. They want to buy good artists that have something to offer.

LEILA COBO It became very pop, very plastic perhaps. Perhaps it did. But I, I think that's the cycle with all kinds of music. Music goes in cycles. And people love it and then they hate it. And then they love it again and then they hate it. It's inevitable.

PITBULL (OC) The boom is the gift and the curse, okay? For one, you get so big that the people that put you there feel that they are not in touch with you no more. [FOOTAGE MONTAGE: RICKY MARTIN AND FANS] (VO) For two, to outdo what you just did, that becomes a problem.

[FOOTAGE MONTAGE: RICKY MARTIN AND FANS]

ROBI DRACO ROSA (VO) When it became so uncontrollably large, it was overwhelming. And by the time we made it over to "She Bangs," (OC) something in my gut said it's time to go. I left.

[STILL AND VIDEO MONTAGE: RICKY MARTIN]

(VO) And I think it was good for Rick too because he was able to break things, and regroup, you know, and reinvent himself.

[STILL AND VIDEO MONTAGE: RICKY MARTIN]

Ricky Martin returned to his Puerto Rican roots, finding international success, once again, with his "Black and White Tour."

FADE TO BLACK

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