Cuban-born, Miami-bred singer Jon Secada is playing his success both ways. While ”Just Another Day,” the seductive first single from his eponymous debut album, is a top 20 pop hit, ”Otro Dia Más Sin Verte” — the same song, with Spanish lyrics he penned with friend Gloria Estefan — has reached the top of the Latin charts. After cowriting six songs on Estefan’s last record (including the No. 1 hit ”Coming Out of the Dark”) and spending 15 months singing backup — and one solo number — on her world tour, he has learned by her example. ”Hey, why not?” he says. ”I’m bilingual, and I want to do something in my own language.”
An only child who left Cuba with his parents when he was 8, Secada, 28 and single, grew up listening to Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel — and lots of salsa music. He even got a master’s in jazz vocal performance at the University of Miami. ”Equal opportunity education was really big at the time,” he recalls. ”We didn’t have a dime, but I had good grades, I was Hispanic, and I was mulatto, so it worked out great for me.” Equal opportunity hits aren’t so bad either.