In the decades since Emmanuel released his debut album, 1976’s Diez Razones Para Cantar, the Mexican singer has earned his crown as Latin pop royalty in several ways. He has sung heart-wrenching ballads, smooth yacht-pop, jazzy Latin fusion, and even his own unique riffs on New Wave and R&B. For the son of an Argentine bullfighter and Spanish singer (born Jesús Emmanuel Arturo Acha Martínez in 1955 in Mexico City), the through line of them all is his voice, an instrument by turns powerful and tender, capable of morphing from breathy falsetto into a double-barreled bellow loaded with pure passion. Emmanuel’s long tenure has minted multiple generations of fans, with the lush, string-infused arrangements of ‘80s recordings like Amor Sin Final giving way to the bright synths and funk grooves of 1989’s “La Chica de Humo,” a surprising left turn into new jack swing. In the 2000s, on albums like Inédito, he has updated his brand of classic love songs with a contemporary pop-rock gloss; see, for example, the heartsick “Cómo Quieren Que La Olvide,” a bittersweet song of “bottomless pain” set to a lilting, almost country arrangement. In 2017, a crucial live recording, MTV Unplugged: Con El Alma Desnuda, highlighted his range while putting the focus on Emmanuel’s most important asset: his heart-melting voice.
HOMETOWNMexico City, Mexico
BORNApril 16, 1955