Born Miguel Dominguín Bosé on April 2, 1956, in Aries, Panama to Lucía Bosé (an actress) and Luis Miguel Dominguín (a bullfighter); raised in Spain. Addresses: Record company--WEA Records, 5201 Blue Lagoon Dr. Suite 200 Miami, FL 33126, website: http://www.warnermusic.com. Website--Miguel Bosé Official Website: http://www.miguelboseonline.net.
Performing in Spanish, Italian, French, and English, Miguel Bosé has become one of the most respected actors and singers throughout the world. His acting career began when he was in his teens and eventually included an unforgettable appearance in Pedro Almodovar's 1991 film High Heels. He began recording as a pop singer in 1977; after a few false starts, he became one of the most popular Latin vocalists of the 1980s. In the 1990s his material started to reflect more political and social consciousness, a new perspective that earned praise for albums such as Bajo el signo de Cain (Under the Sign of Cain) in 1993 and Laberinto (Labyrinth) in 1996. Temporarily sidelined in a serious car accident in 1999, he reemerged with Sereno (Serene) in 2001, which earned a Latin Grammy Award nomination for Best Album by a Male Vocalist. As Bosé remarked to La Revista online about his all-encompassing interests, "I believe that we should be engaged with all of these things, because they affect our existence. We can't pretend to be separate from politics, the economy, science, religion, and the environment. One way or another, all of these things are going to touch us."
Miguel Dominguín Bosé was born on April 2, 1956, in Aries, Panama, to Lucía Bosé and Luis Miguel Dominguín. He spent most of his childhood in Spain. His mother was an Italian actress and his father was a Spanish bullfighter, which gave Bosé a rather unusual childhood. "My childhood was a childhood of the country, of living in the natural environment," Bosé remembered in an interview with María Ivette Vega Calles of the (Puerto Rican) El Nuevo Día posted on the Ciudad Futura website, "My father was a bullfighter, and bullfighters then trained and lived in the country." He credited the experience with helping him discover his own interests and passions without the corrupting influence of urban living. While Bosé spent a lot of time in the country, his parents' notable careers meant that Bosé was in the public eye from an early age. His godfather was painter Pablo Picasso, and Ernest Hemingway was a family friend with a great interest in his father's profession. Extensive international travel also served to broaden Bosé's horizons, and he spent a considerable amount of time in the cultural capitals of New York City, Milan, London, and Madrid while he was growing up.
Began Recording Career in 1977
Always a student of the arts, Bosé studied dance as a child; it was in the realm of acting, however, that he made his professional debut at the age of 15 with an appearance in the Italian film Gli eroi (The heroes). The film was released in 1972, the first of a dozen film appearances he made during the 1970s in Spain and Italy. In the meantime, he began a recording career with a series of albums beginning in 1977.
Most critics dismissed Bosé's early material as lightweight pop, not surprising given the still-repressive cultural climate in Spain. It would be a few more years before Bosé gained the respect of critics; like Spain itself, not until the 1980s did Bosé come of age in an artistic sense. The turning point came with 1986's Salamandra, his first album under a long-term contract with Warner Records. The album signaled a turn away from the overtly pop orientation of his past work and towards a more introspective direction characterized by a fusion of world-music elements. Bosé followed it with the dual Spanish- and English-language release of XXX in 1987 and Los chicos no lloran (The children don't cry) in 1990.
Bosé's film career also raised his international stature, particularly his appearance in the Pedro Almodovar film High Heels in 1991. Like Bosé, Almodovar was one of Spain's leading cultural ambassadors of the post-Franco era, and their collaboration was well received by critics around the globe. Bosé's dual role as a female impersonator and private investigator, along with his support for the gay community, caused some speculation about the performer's personal life, particularly after he appeared on the cover of the first issue of the Latin gay magazine Zero. In comments available at the Ciudad Futura website, when asked by Blanca Jimenéz of Elle in November of 1998 whether the appearance signaled an acknowledgment of his sexual identity, Bosé responded, "It is a declaration of assistance and support and, above all, an attitude. Although it appears to underline a presumption of homosexuality, it isn't. I accepted being in the magazine as I did for Elle or any other one. I don't have limits or taboos, and this at times has caused me very serious consequences."
Success with Bajo el signo de Cain
In 1993 Bosé released his most commercially successful album, Bajo el signo de Cain. The album featured his most politically involved songs and included commentaries on the war in Bosnia, ecology, and the problems of fame. The album sold about 600,000 copies in the year after its release and led to the recording of an Italian version, Sotto il segno de Cain, and an English-language edition for the British and North American markets in 1994. In all of its various formats, the album sold more than one million copies worldwide.
In an unusual move for an artist of his stature, Bosé created the English-language edition of Bajo el signo de Cain in collaboration with producer Ross Collum. Instead of attempting to translate the lyrics literally from the original album, the two came up with new lyrics in English that captured the essence of Bosé's initial work. As Bosé remarked in a 1994 Billboard profile on the bilingual nature of the project, "We should be much more universal, because music is a very universal language. On the other side, the role of musicians or writers is to keep on creating the spiral of energy, which resembles all kinds of culture."
Bosé released an album that captured his 1994 concert dates in support of Bajo el signo de Cain. He also branched out to work as the director of the stage production of Las botas rojas (The red boots), a musical based on the Hans Christian Anderson fable. In 1996 Bosé recorded Laberinto (Labyrinth), which sold well in Spain and Mexico, where Bosé's popularity was at a peak. He was proud of the world music influences he captured on album, telling Billboard in 1996, "The album is a journey around the world. There are many Spanish things from the South, but also Celtic sounds from the North, plus Latin American and Oriental influences, reflected in instruments and orchestration styles from India and China." Bosé's inclination to incorporate diverse musical influences continued with his 1998 release Once maneras de ponerse un sombrero (Eleven ways to wear a hat), which Billboard described in a 1998 review as "simultaneously earthy and ethereal explorations of mostly classic tracks from Spain, Cuba, France, Argentina, and Brazil."
Recovered from Car Accident
Bosé's output remained prolific through the 1990s with a dozen film roles that included a supporting role in the French film La reine Margot (Queen Margot) in 1994. Yet a devastating car accident in 1999 forced him to spend months in recovery, and four years would pass before he issued an original album to follow Once maneras de ponerse un sombrero. Emerging with the most introspective and accomplished album of his career, 2001's Sereno met with critical acclaim. Billboard hailed it as "his best album to date," in February of 2002, an album that was "accessible and eminently commercial, as well as smart." In a Billboard profile that same month, Bosé explained that Sereno was "My first personal album. In all my past songs, the 'I' who spoke wasn't my 'I.' It was an 'I' lent to a character who was going to live a story." He added, "There's a lot of love in this album. I've always been cautious. But yes, it's true. There's a lot, a lot of love."
Sereno was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award for Best Album by a Male Vocalist. Although Bosé failed to win the award, the nomination alone helped to familiarize North American audiences with the artist, who by now was recognized as a Spanish cultural icon of his generation. "I think we are the last romantics," he said of that generation in an interview with Tribuna in November of 1998 available at the Ciudad Futura website, adding, "We are the last generation that is capable of fighting for ideologies. Of launching impossible missions."
by Timothy Borden
Miguel Bosé's Career
Actor, 1972-; singer, 1977-; released albums including Salamandra, 1986; XXX, 1987; Los chicos no lloran(The children don't cry), 1990; Bajo el signo de Cain (Under the Sign of Cain); 1993; and Laberinto (Labyrinth), 1996; suffered car accident, 1999; released Sereno, 2001.
- Selected discography
- Salamandra , WEA Latina, 1986.
- XXX , WEA Latina, 1987.
- 12 Grandes exitos , Sony Discos, 1990.
- Los chicos no lloran , WEA Latina, 1990.
- Directo '90 , WEA Latina, 1991.
- Bajo el signo de Cain , WEA Latina, 1993.
- Bandido , Alex, 1993.
- Bravos muchachos , Alex, 1993.
- Chicas , Alex, 1993.
- Made in Spain , Alex, 1993.
- Mas alla , Alex, 1993.
- Miguel , Alex, 1993.
- Miguel Bosé , Alex, 1993.
- Querido Miguel querida Ana , Alex, 1993.
- Under the Sign of Cain , Warner, 1993.
- Querido Miguel , Tristar, 1994.
- Bajo el signo de Cain Tour 93/94 , WEA Latina, 1995.
- Laberinto , WEA Latina, 1996.
- Pedro y el lobo , WEA, 1996.
- Personalidad , Sony, 1996.
- Cara a cara , Sony, 1997.
- Laberinto, Volume 2 , WEA, 1997.
- Once maneras de ponerse un sombrero , WEA, 1998.
- Lo mejor de Miguel Bosé , WEA, 1999.
- Girados , WEA, 2000.
- Lo esencial de Miguel Bosé , WEA, 2001.
- Sereno , WEA, 2001.
- Personalidad: 20 Exitos , Sony, 2002.
July 19, 2005: Bose's album, Morenamia, was released. Source: Billboard.com, www.billboard.com/bb/releases/week_3/index.jsp, July 29, 2005.
- Billboard, May 7, 1994, p. 10; July 9, 1994, p. 50; October 22, 1994, p. 50; February 17, 1996, p. 66; March 28, 1998, p. 55; February 2, 2002, p. 38; February 2, 2002, p. 53.
- "Entrevista con Miguel Bosé" (text translated by the author), Ciudad Futura, http://www.ciudadfutura.com/miguelbose/entrevistas/tribuna.htm (September 5, 2002).
- "Entrevista Miguel Bosé," La Revista de El Mundo, http://www.el-mundo.es/larevista/num124/textos/entrevis.html (September 5, 2002).
- "La Nueva Modernidad y Miguel Bosé" (text translated by the author), Ciudad Futura, http://www.ciudadfutura.com/miguelbose/entrevistas/modernidad.htm (September 5, 2002).
- "Miguel Bosé," Internet Movie Database, http://us.imdb.com/Name?Bos%E9,+Miguel (September 4, 2002).
- Miguel Bosé Official Website, http://www.miguelboseonline.net (September 5, 2002).
- "Miguel Bosé y su Mundo" (text translated by the author), Ciudad Futura, http://www.ciudadfutura.com/miguelbose/entrevistas/sumundo.htm (September 5, 2002).