Songwriter Jon Secada made his name working with other artists before having a global smash hit with “Just Another Day”. So what happened the day after?…
Juan Francisco Secada Ramírez, to give him his full name, was born in Cuba in 1961 and made his first step in the public eye as a teenager at school, performing in musicals and solos. He went on to study music at the Frost School of Music and graduated form there in 1986. That same year he was introduced to Emilio Estefan of the Miami Sound Machine and gained work, first as a backing singer, and ultimately as a songwriter of their music and his wife, Gloria, when she went solo. He released his own solo work at this time with thew singles, “Love With A Smile” and “Wishes”, but these were not a success. Much more successful was the song “Coming Out Of The Dark”, written for Gloria Estefan’s 1990 album, “Into The Light”. It would top the American singles chart.
Jon worked extensively with Gloria in the 1990’s before launching his own solo career properly in 1992 with the single, “Just Another Day”. The song was produced by Emilio Estefan and made the top ten in over twenty counties worldwide, going top five in both the US and the UK. Jon’s self-titled debut album went on to sell seven million copies and produced two further chart hits with “Do You Believe In Us?” and “Angel”, although a total of six singles were lifted from the album over an eighteen month period. In 1994, Jon realised a dream when he recorded “The Best Is Yet To Come” with Frank Sinatra for his album, “Duets II” and took to the Broadway stage in Grease the following year.
Jon’s second solo album, “Heart, Soul And A Voice”, arrived in 1994, making the top twenty in the UK and selling over a million copies Stateside. It featured the US top ten hit, “If You Go” and the moderately charting “Mental Picture”. In 1995 he teamed up with “I Love Your Smile” singer, Shanice, for the duet, “If I Never Knew You” for the soundtrack of the hit animation film, ‘Pocahontas’ and released his first Spanish language album, “Amor”, later that same year. His third English language album, simply titled “Secada”, followed in 1997. It made the top 40 in America and featured the single, “Too Late Too Soon”. Jon returned to songwriting for other artists for the rest of the 90’s, working with Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez on their rising international music careers. Jon would return himself to the studio in 2000 for his album, “Better Part Of Me”.
The album would feature the single, “Stop”, which was nominated at the 2001 Billboard Latin Music Awards for Best Club Track. Jon reunited with Gloria Estefan in 2003 for the track “Por Amor”, taken from his album, “Amanecer” and although Jon has not been present in the singles or album sales charts in the 21st century, he has been very active recording and writing for other artists. He has recorded with Cyndi Lauper, Bernie Williams and Julio Iglesias and achieved top ten hit on the US Adult Contemporary chart with “Window To My Heart” and “Feliz Navidad”, from his Latin festive album, “A Christmas Fiesta” in 2005. In 2017, Jon released a tribute album to Cuban singer and bandleader, Beny Moré, titled “To Beny Moré With Love”, which went on to win the Best Tropical Album award at the 2018 Latin Grammy Awards.
Jon married Maritere Vilar in 1997 and the couple have two children and live in Florida, where Jon has founded the Jon Secada Music Scholarship at the University of Miami, raising money to help new and upcoming singers enter the industry and for young school children to pursue a career in music through scholarships and vocal lessons as well as songwriting tuition.
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