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Emilio Navaira

With the exception of Selena, Emilio Navaira did more than anyone to popularize tejano music during the early to mid-'90s, and though his popularity waned in the wake of his 1995 crossover into the country music market with the English-language album Life Is Good (1995), he remained influential and was rightfully regarded as a tejano legend. Navaira first established himself as the lead singer of David Lee Garza y los Musicales. During his tenure with the group from 1984 until 1988, Garza y los Musicales regularly took home Tejano Music Awards, winning Album of the Year honors in 1985, 1987, and 1989. Following the group's most popular album to date, Tour '88 (1988), Navaira split from los Musicales and formed his own band, Rio, with his brother Raúl. Navaira and Rio debuted in 1989 and, over the next five years, enjoyed remarkable success, commercially as well as critically. His 1995 country crossover album, Life Is Good, was perhaps his greatest success, but his popularity began to wane in its wake. In subsequent years, Navaira continued to perform and record new albums, and though they didn't rival the popularity of his earlier efforts, they were critically acclaimed, regularly being nominated for Grammy Awards (and, in the case of Acuérdate [2002], winning one). After years of fading stardom, a tragic traffic accident in 2008 thrust Navaira back into the spotlight and triggered a reevaluation of his illustrious career and his role as a tejano trailblazer.

Born Emilio Navaira III on August 23, 1962, in San Antonio, TX, he is of Mexican heritage, the son of Emilio Navaira, Jr., and Mary Navaira, the latter a bilingual teacher's assistant. Growing up on the south side of San Antonio, Navaira found early influence in not only tejano legends such as Little Joe y la Familia, Ramón Ayala, and Pedro Infante, but also Lone Star country music heroes such as Willie Nelson, Bob Wills, and George Strait. There was no market for Hispanic country music singers, however, so he focused on performing regional Mexican music in order to get club gigs. As a student, he graduated from McCollum High School in 1980, received a music scholarship to Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, and majored in music with plans to become a teacher. He also performed as an actor, starring as the character Fredrick in a revival of The Sound of Music staged at the Fiesta Dinner Theater in San Antonio.

In 1984 Navaira made his recording debut as the lead vocalist of David Lee Garza y los Musicales on their fourth album, Las Canciones Que Te Canto. He was also featured as lead vocalist on subsequent albums by David Lee Garza y los Musicales, namely Cuantas Veces (1984), Totally Yours (1985), Award Winning (1986), Dejame Quererte (1987), and Tour '88 (1988). Garza y los Musicales were a leading tejano act of the era, winning Tejano Music Awards in 1983 (Most Promising Band of the Year), 1984 (Conjunto Album of the Year), 1985 (Conjunto Album of the Year), 1987 (Conjunto Album of the Year), 1988 (Conjunto Album of the Year), and 1989 (Conjunto Album of the Year; Single of the Year).

In the wake of the Tour '88 album and its award-winning hit single, "Me Quieres Tu y Te Quiero Yo," Navaira left Garza y los Musicales at the height of group's popularity. He formed his own group, Rio, featuring his brother Raúl (aka Raulito), and signed a recording contract with CBS Records. The group's eponymous 1989 debut album proved popular, breaking into the Top Ten of the regional Mexican chart, and was nominated for a 1989 Grammy Award in the category of Best Mexican-American Performance, ultimately losing to Los Lobos' La Pistola y el Corazon. At the 1990 Tejano Music Awards, he took home both Conjunto Album of the Year and Most Promising Band of the Year. Navaira's second album, Sensaciones (1990), also won Album of the Year at the Tejano Music Awards.

In 1991 Navaira switched from CBS Records to EMI for Shoot It!, yet another Tejano Music Award winner for Conjunto Album of the Year. The accolades continued as subsequent albums Unsung Highways (1992), Shuffle Time (1992), Live (1992), Southern Exposure (1993), and SoundLife (1994) kept Navaira firmly lodged on the regional Mexican albums chart: in 1993 he won Tejano Music Awards for Male Entertainer of the Year and Progressive Album of the Year; in 1994 he won Male Vocalist of the Year, Male Entertainer of the Year, and Progressive Album of the Year; and in 1995 he won Male Vocalist of the Year, Male Entertainer of the Year, Vocal Duo of the Year (in conjunction with Roberto Pulido), and Video of the Year.

The release of Life Is Good in 2005 marked a turning point in Navaira's recording career. Released a half-year after Selena's tragic death shone a national spotlight on the tejano scene, Life Is Good is an English-language album that was oriented toward the national country music market rather than the regional Mexican scene. The lead single, "It's Not the End of the World," was released in both English- and Spanish-language versions and became a Top 30 country hit. The album itself debuted at number 12 on the country albums chart. A series of follow-up singles -- "Even If I Tried," "I Think We're on to Something," and "Have I Told You Lately" -- also charted (at numbers 41, 56, and 62, respectively). In 1996 Navaira took home the Tejano Music Award for Male Entertainer of the Year for the fourth straight time; he also won Male Vocalist of the Year, Vocal Duo of the Year (in conjunction with his brother Raúl), Progressive Album of the Year, and Tejano Country Song of the Year.

In the wake of his country crossover, Navaira's popularity began to wane, but not immediately: Quédate, his 1996 return to tejano, was a Top Ten hit on the Latin albums chart, spawning two Top 40 hits, "Quédate" and "Hoy Me Siento Feliz." His pair of 1997 albums -- It's on the House, his English-language country music follow-up, and A Mi Gente, a tejano album -- were much less successful, neither breaking into the Top 40 of its respective market and neither spawning a Top 40 hit ("I'd Love You to Love Me" and "She Gives," from It's on the House, came closest, at number 56 and 73, respectively). Following the relative disappointment of his 1997 pair of albums, Navaira took a three-year break from recording. A few greatest-hits collections were issued in his absence -- Lo Mejor de Lo Mejor: 12 Super Éxitos (1997), Mano a Mano (1998), and Mi Primer Amor: 10 Aniversario (1999) -- and he was honored as Humanitarian of the Year at the 1998 Tejano Music Awards.

When Navaira returned to the consumer marketplace in 2000 with El Rey del Rodeo, he was on a new record label, having left EMI and switched to BMG. Though El Rey del Rodeo failed to chart, it spawned Navaira's first hit single in three years, "Esperando Su Llamada," which broke into the Top 40, and received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Tejano Album. His next BMG album, Lo Dice Tu Mirada (2001), met a similar reception, itself failing to chart yet spawning a Top 40 hit, "Lo Dice Tu Mirada," and receiving a Latin Grammy Award nomination. In 2002 Navaira won his first Grammy Award, taking home the honor of Best Tejano Album for Acuérdate (2002), an album that was also nominated for a Latin Grammy Award; however, despite the critical accolades, Navaira was attracting little recognition commercially. His next album, Entre Amigos (2003), performed similarly, earning a nomination at the 2005 Grammy Awards for Best Tejano Album yet failing to do well commercially. In 2007, after another extended period out of the consumer marketplace, Navaira re-emerged with a new album, De Nuevo, on a new record label, Universal Music Group.

Roughly a half-year after the release of De Nuevo, Navaira suffered a tragic accident while touring in support of the album. On the morning of March 23, 2008, his 26,000-pound tour bus slammed into traffic barrels on a highway southwest of Houston. Navaira, who was driving the bus at the time, was ejected from the vehicle through the windshield and was critically injured. He was rushed to Memorial Hermann Hospital, where doctors removed a clot from the surface of his brain and placed him in a medically induced coma. In April Navaira was upgraded to fair condition and began rehabilitative therapy; the following month it was revealed that he had been intoxicated when driving at the time of the accident and, in fact, was not licensed to drive a bus. (He subsequently pleaded guilty to DWI charges.) In September of 2008 Emilio and his wife, Maria, were involved in another traffic accident when their car, driven by Maria and waiting in a turn lane, was hit by a truck. They had been returning home from rehabilitation therapy related to the March accident when the September accident occurred; both Emilio and Maria were released from the hospital the following day. ~ Jason Birchmeier, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography


Tony Adrián and Bianca siempre pienso en ustedes cuidense y qué estén bien No se dejen!!¡ Fuertes Siempre!¡¡
Tu naciste para mi..
Puro tejano esta es musica texana 100 % no como el mugrero de hoy en dia.
Missing the Tejano Dances, what happened? Grew up on this music and it is my favorite!! That is dancing, dancing to the beat of Tejano Music...
Emilio is an awesome singer. One thing I miss the most, bein a kid and listening to tejano music with my big brothers. Miss lots of my tejano music.
Great singer

Love this song...
I love Emilio I love his music from a salazar from san antonio Texas
Yeah. Herei n Michigan is so cold. 18 degrees
Love me some gato negro!!!!!
@Frank V ..El Valley y La Yelera : ) no?
Lyrics are wrong
I luv emilio
These songs bring back awesome memories!
Im jealous of all of u who live in Tejas, at least way west of El Paso. Long live El Valle.!!
pink916 emilio love your voice
Happy birthday! ...tomorrow ��. God bless , and may u never lose the desire to sing. You bring a little Tejano out n this South Texas country girl.

Come to Salt Lake City!!!!!!
"Remedio de armor" a great song! Emilio one the best to ever do it next to David lee garza, Jay Perez,.... The list goes on and on!
Love u emilio
emilio still playing and doing a great job--saw him this weekend in the RGV!
This song ' juntos' reminds me of the 9-11. The families that lost their love ones
"Quedate",lo v e this song. :)
Saw him way back in 96-97 in Brawley,Cali f o r n i a . G r e a t singer!
Glad your back Emilio
I remember when I saw him at"Tejano West" Wow it's been a while!!!
We need tejano music here in Fort Worth,Tx
We need tejano at the rodio
Emilio come back to houston texas
emilio a finnd musician and performer
May God continue to bless you Emilio and your precious family. You bring happiness and joy to those God intended for you to do. Keep doing His work thru your talent & love for Tejano's everywhere.
montejo_magd i e l
I <3 Tejano
Tejano fans, let me tell you Emilio is alive and well, he was in Tucson, Solcasinos June 18,11. he kicked a**, welcome back Emilio.
Great Tejano music love the sung Como Le Hare. rember the girl that I love.
Emilio Navarra Is awsome we had the chance to meet him this weekend,It was awsome!! He was the the sweetest person you will ever meet we took pictures with him at the Strawberry festival poteet tx. Emilio we are so thankful to God that he gave you a second chance in life. Not very many had that chance. We love you with all our hearts. Thanks to Raulito who has been their by your side, you are also so blessed to have sucha a loving caring brother by your side. I lost mine last year on mothers day
I love Emilio my granddauhter is 10 yrs old and she has a favoite song by him I gonig to buy the cd for her.
princessleyv a
Great music, keep it up Emilio!
I'm so happy that he's back and better than ever God Bless him and his entire family they all have really been through alot and something like that just makes La Familia more stronger. Can't wait until he comes down to Florida
I`m a big fan of Emilio Navaira so glad to see him come back . On my way soon to see him on NOV 6 in TEXAS EXCITED!!!!! ! ! ! all the way from COLORADO
Happy Birthday Emilio! Your #1 fan in El Paso Enrique
Emilio is an awesome singer, had the pleasure of seeing him when he came down to washington state to a small town called Tri-Cities.. . Emilio get well soon and our prayers are with you for a speedy recovery. Patricia-Sea t t l e WA
Emilio Has been my favorite artist since he began in the eighties.get well soon and God Bless you and your family.
What a sexy papacito. Get better soon, we miss you!!!
I met Emilio about 4 years ago got his autograph and a kiss on the cheek , my son is even named after him. What a awesome singer he can sing anything, that doesn't happen often. I hope he makes a come back but only through the the grace of God. Emilio get well soon GOD BLESS YOU and YOUR FAMILY:)Albu q , N
Emilio, I wish you a speedy recovery and your return to your public soon.
my most memorable is back when emilio was performing in alice tx. went on stage on gave emilio a kiss on the cheek and got his autograph still have it.
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