Born Marco Antonio Muniz on September 16, 1969, in New York, NY; son of Felipe (a lunchroom worker and guitarist) and Guillermina (a homemaker) Muniz; married Dayanara Torres, May 9, 2000; children: Arianna (with Debbie Rosado) and Cristain (with Torres). Addresses: Record company--Columbia Records, 550 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10022, phone: (212) 833-5212, website: http://www.columbiarecords.com. Office--Marc Anthony Productions, 1385 York Ave., Ste. 6F, New York, NY 10021. Website--Marc Anthony Official Website: http://www.marcanthonyonline.com.
Though he began riding a wave of popularity among Latin recording artists in the United States in the late 1990s, Marc Anthony has been a mainstay in the salsa genre for years. By blending in pop and spicing up his songs with a healthy dose of romance, he had been a star in Spanish-speaking areas long before the release of his English-language salsa album, Marc Anthony, hit the shelves in 1999. His slightly smoky tenor is lush and expressive, and he has been known to start crying on stage during love songs. Women swoon and throw undergarments on stage during his concerts, and his balladeering style has earned him comparisons to Frank Sinatra. In 1998, before Ricky Martin had burst on the scene, Anthony took home the Grammy Award for best tropical Latin performance, for his 1997 album Contra la Corriente. A second Grammy win came in 2000 for Song of the Year for "Dímelo (I Need to Know)" from Marc Anthony at the first annual Latin Grammy Awards. The singer has started drawing raves for his acting talents as well, most notably with a turn as a deranged transient man in 1999's Bringing Out the Dead.
Anthony was born Marco Antonio Muniz on September 16, 1969, in New York City. He was raised in Spanish Harlem, the youngest of five boys and three girls. His father, Felipe, worked in a hospital lunchroom, and Guillermina ("Jenny"), was a homemaker. They are now divorced. Anthony was exposed to jibaro music and salsa beginning at a tender age. His father had moved from Puerto Rico in the 1950s and played guitar; he also enjoyed listening to Ruben Blades, Hector Lavoe, and Willie Colon. Anthony would climb up on the kitchen table and sing along during his dad's jam sessions. By the time he was three, he was able to draw tears from female family members with his soulful renditions.
When Anthony was six or seven, he sang "El Zolsar" at a social club where his father was playing, and a man gave his mother a dollar, telling her that her child would make it big someday. It was the first money Anthony ever earned for his talent. However, like many children, Anthony considered his parents' music and the Latin image uncool. "I couldn't relate to the suits, the chains and the pinky rings, so it didn't interest me," he remarked to Cristina Veran in Newsday. Instead, he started getting into rock and roll, rap, and dance music. "I was raised in New York during the Seventies and Eighties," he mentioned to Clark Collis in the Daily Telegraph. "So I was exposed to everything. Jimi Hendrix. Motown. Disco. Salsa. You name it." He has also claimed the light-as-their-name pop group Air Supply as an influence.
At age 12, Anthony and his sister began singing background vocals for commercials, including one for Bumble Bee tuna. At 15, he was a water boy for one of his idols, Ruben Blades. "I used to pray for him to be thirsty, just to be onstage," Anthony reminisced to Collis in the Daily Telegraph. By high school, Anthony was writing music, which caught the attention of the dance-pop singer Sa-Fire. He ended up penning two songs, "You Said You Love Me" and "I Better Be the Only One," for her album, as well as singing backup. Another single he wrote, "Boy I've Been Told," became a Top 40 hit. He went on to sing background for The Latin Rascals, who worked with Little Louis Vega. In the meantime, Anthony was also writing songs in both English and Spanish for Menudo, as well as serving as a backup singer and vocal coach for them.
In the early 1990s, Vega became a producer for Atlantic Records and asked Anthony to sing for him. He recorded a dance album in English, When the Night Is Over, and had a number one Billboard dance hit with "Ride on the Rhythm," but failed to make waves beyond that. Though he was performing house music at clubs in New York City, he found it encouraging if audiences numbered even in the triple digits. Then he and Vega opened for Tito Puente at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Anthony's manager subsequently prodded him to begin recording salsa music, but he resisted. Not long after that, though, he was listening to the radio and heard the Juan Gabriel ballad, "Hasta Que Te Conoci" ("Until I Met You"). Inspired, he came up with an upbeat salsa version of the tune, and it became his ticket to stardom.
In 1993, Anthony released his first salsa album, Otra Nota, on Soho Latino/RMM Records. Soon, his manager sent him to perform at Radio y Musica, a Latin-music convention in Los Angeles. Most of the attendees were disc jockeys. Highly intimidated and wearing borrowed clothes because his financial situation was tight, he sang a song backed only by instrumentals from a DAT player. He recalled to Alec Wilkinson in the New Yorker, "I'm trembling up a storm.... I walk up to the mike and think, 'Make believe you're in your living room singing to your mom.'" Afterward, he darted off the stage so fast that until his manager grabbed him, he did not notice he was getting a standing ovation. He told Wilkinson that he then heard disc jockeys making calls, saying, "Find this kid's CD. I threw it out this morning--it's in the trash. Find it and play it."
Later that same day, Anthony was booked on a Spanish-language television program called Carnaval Internacional, which is broadcast internationally. "That changed my life forever," he stated to Wilkinson, adding, "It seemed like years before I was ever in New York again." He began to tour constantly, playing Puerto Rico, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, even Tokyo. Some traditionalists disliked his romantic take on salsa and dismissed it an inauthentic, but many critics delivered accolades. He also won support from fellow musicians like Blades and Placido Domingo, who began to call and ask about doing projects together.
In 1995, Anthony followed up with Todo a Su Tiempo ("All in Due Time"). Touring to promote the work, he spent 50 weeks on the road. Though his energy level on stage is cranked up as he struts through his dance moves, unlike salsa stars of old, Anthony projects a more down-to-earth appearance, favoring simple apparel in lieu of the "hot Latin lover" image with sleek suits and slick hair. "It is an appeal that is real, accessible and trustworthy," observed Veran in Newsday. Anthony in 1996 was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1996 for Todo a Su Tiempo, sharing the category with three of his idols--Blades, Colon, and Celia Cruz.
As his music career was reaching new heights, Anthony was gearing up an acting career as well. He made his debut in 1995's Hackers, playing a Secret Service agent in a thriller about cybersleuths trying to foil an evil genius planning to unleash a crippling computer virus. The next year, he was cast as a waiter in Big Night, starring Minnie Driver, Isabella Rossellini, and Stanley Tucci, about a family trying to save their Italian restaurant. He also had a minor role as a high school gang member in The Substitute that same year.
Anthony's next album, Contra la Corriente ("Against the Current") came out in fall of 1997. But he did not have the opportunity to embark on a promotional tour, because he had been cast in Paul Simon's Capeman, which opened on Broadway in early 1998. This turned out to be a boon, though, when Anthony's new manager, Bigram Zayas--also his half-brother and best friend--suggested he play an "Off to Broadway" megaconcert at Madison Square Garden. Though no salsa solo act had ever headlined there, Anthony sold out two concerts at the venue. He then took the stage in Capeman, a musical about a murder case. In it, he played teenager Salvador Algron, a Puerto Rican who killed two other teens in a New York park in 1959 after a gang misunderstanding. Blades, incidentally, portrayed the killer as an older man. Although Capeman was praised for its song sequences and Anthony was applauded for his vocal talents, the play closed after two months.
By this time, Anthony was so famous that an architect refused payment for his work in building a home in Puerto Rico for the singer, claiming that working for him was payment enough, as Wilkinson reported in the New Yorker. In fact, he is something of a saint in Puerto Rico for committing to build 100 homes for families displaced by Hurricane Georges. In addition, he sold out a 60,000-seat stadium in Colombia, and is popular throughout Europe, Japan, and Central America as well. He became so well-known in Spanish-speaking areas that he needs escorts to accompany him, and he became the only salsa singer with a gold album in America.
However, Anthony did not get major crossover exposure until fellow Latin crooner Ricky Martin hit the scene and reached number one on the pop charts with his first all-English release. In addition, Jennifer Lopez--with whom he recorded the radio hit "No Me Ames"--was beginning to attract attention as well. Around that time, amid disputes with music mogul Ralph Mercado--with whom he had signed a contract in 1992--Anthony managed to cut his own English album as well, the first since his 1991 dance effort. He signed a deal with Columbia Records estimated to be worth more than $30 million, and in 1999 released Marc Anthony. Featuring Latin-tinged pop tunes, it spawned the top ten hit "I Need to Know." But he bristled at the term "crossover," explaining to Chris Willman in Entertainment Weekly, "I started out singing in English, so what am I crossing over to? That makes it sound like I'm trying my hand at someone else's music. But I'm just as American as I am Puerto Rican. This is my music as much as anybody else's."
Also in 1999, Anthony was seen in his biggest film role to date, playing the erratic homeless man Noel in Martin Scorsese's Bringing Out the Dead. Though the film stars Nicolas Cage as a troubled New York City ambulance driver, Noel is the centerpiece of the tale. Disheveled and dreadlocked, the character of Noel provides "sort of the backbone of the morality of the story," according to Scorsese in a People article. "Ultimately the whole film comes together around him." Critics were receptive to his wild and violent performance, which countered his usual persona of the sensitive, sensual singer.
Though Anthony had been linked with various starlets--including Lopez and actress Mira Sorvino--he announced his engagement to Dayanara Torres, a former Miss Universe, in October of 1999. The couple married in Las Vegas, Nevada, on May 9, 2000. From a previous relationship with police officer Debbie Rosado, which ended in 1995, he has a daughter, Arianna. Anthony and Torres had a son, Cristian Anthony Muiz, on February 5, 2001. Anthony, who favors wearing Prada designs, is about five feet, eight inches tall, with a slender build, black hair, jutting cheekbones, and a strong jaw. He told Mim Udovitch in Rolling Stone that he is the tallest in his family, and revealed, "My father is five feet two and weighs, like, 100 pounds wet."
Although People en Espanol magazine once named Anthony one of the most beautiful people alive, he was not always such a looker. As he mentioned to Dennis Hensley in Cosmopolitan, "I was ugly and skinny growing up, and one time my dad said, 'You look like me, so you better work on your personality.'" His fame and accolades apparently have not affected his ego. As he told Udovitch, "I don't need other people to validate me. I'm pretty hard on myself, so if I feel good, then I know there's something to feel good about."
by Geri Koeppel
Marc Anthony's Career
Wrote songs and sang backup for Sa-Fire, The Latin Rascals, and Menudo; released debut album, When the Night Is Over, Atlantic Records, 1991; released Grammy Award-winning Contra la Corriente, 1997; released Marc Anthony, 1999; stage appearances include Capeman, New York City, 1998; film appearances include Natural Causes, 1994; Hackers, 1995; Big Night, 1996; The Substitute, 1996; and Bringing Out the Dead, 1999.
Marc Anthony's Awards
Billboard Award, Best New Artist, 1994; Grammy Award, Best Tropical Latin Performance for Contra la Corriente,1998,; Latin Grammy Award, Song of the Year for "Dímelo (I Need to Know)," 2000; Tu Musica Award for Best Tropical Album of the Year for Todo a su Tiempo; Lo Nuestra Award, Ace Award, Diplo Award (Puerto Rico).
- Selected discography
- When the Night Is Over , Atlantic, 1991.
- Otra Nota , Soho Latino/RMM, 1993.
- Todo a Su Tiempo , Soho Latino/RMM, 1995.
- (Contributor) Carlito's Way (soundtrack), EMI Latin, 1996.
- Contra la Corriente , RMM, 1997.
- (Contributor) Mask of Zorro (soundtrack), Sony, 1998.
- Desde un Principio , Sony, 1999.
- Marc Anthony , Columbia, 1999.
- (Contributor)Runaway Bride (soundtrack), Sony, 1999.
August 16, 2003: Anthony and his wife, Dayanara, welcome the birth of Ryan Anthony Muniz, in Long Island, New York. The couple has a two-year-old son, Cristian, and Anthony has a nine-year-old daughter, Arianna, from a previous relationship. Source: CNN.com, www.cnn.com, August 19, 2003.
February 2004: Anthony's wife of almost four years, Dayanara Torres, filed for divorce. Source: Entertainment Weekly, February 13, 2004, p. 18.
May 27, 2004: Anthony and his wife of four years, Dayanara Torres, filed for divorce in the Dominican Republic. Papers for dissolution of marriage were filed earlier in Florida. Source: CNN.com, www.cnn.com/2004/SHOWBIZ/Music/05/28/marc.anthony.ap/index.html, June 2, 2004.
June 5, 2004: Anthony and singer/actress Jennifer Lopez were married at her home in Los Angeles, California. Source: E! Online, www.eonline.com, June 6, 2004.
July 27, 2004: Anthony's album, Valio la Pena, was released. Source: Billboard.com, www.billboard.com/bb/releases/week_4/index.jsp, August 5, 2004.
November 14, 2004: Anthony won the American Music Award for Favorite Latin Artist. Source: ABC.com, abc.go.com/primetime/ama/nominees.html, November 15, 2004.
February 13, 2005: Anthony won the Grammy Award for best Latin pop album for Amar Sin Mentiras. Source: Grammys.com, www.grammys.com/awards/grammy/47winners, February 14, 2005.
November 3, 2005: Anthony won the Latin Grammy award for best salsa album for Valio La Pena. Source: CNN.com, www.cnn.com/2005/SHOWBIZ/Music/11/04/latin.grammys.list.ap/index.html, November 10, 2005.
- Contemporary Musicians, volume 19, Gale Research, 1997.
- Cosmopolitan, February 2000, p. 204.
- Daily Telegraph, January 6, 2000, p. 25.
- Entertainment Weekly, October 8, 1999, p. 32.
- Interview, February 1999, p. 84.
- Latin Beat, December 1997, p. 40.
- Newsday, July 20, 1995, p. B3; June 13, 1999, p. D10.
- New Yorker, December 8, 1997, p. 96.
- New York Times Magazine, August 29, 1999, p. 42.
- People, October 4, 1999, p. 45; December 13, 1999, p. 185; May 29, 2000, p. 147.
- Rolling Stone, April 27, 2000, p. 33.
- Time, September 20, 1999, p. 80.
- TV Guide, February 12, 2000, p. 46.
- Variety, February 2, 1998, p. 39.
- Marc Anthony Official Website, http://www.marcanthonyonline.com (June 21, 2001).
- "Marc Anthony," Internet Movie Database, http://us.imdb.com (June 21, 2001).
- The Recording Academy, http://www.grammy.com (June 21, 2001).