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April 29, 2017

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Gloria Estefan's daughter charts her own path

MIAMI -- Emily Estefan was so self-conscious about being the daughter of Cuban-born superstar Gloria Estefan that she avoided singing in front of anyone until she was 18. Then, one winter night at the family's Florida beach house, she finally sang for her mother. First she asked her to look away.

"I was like shaking, shaking, shaking, shaking. Everything in my body was shaking. But I did it," said Emily Estefan, now 22.

Then Gloria looked at her, and she cried— the two things her daughter had asked her not to do.

Four years later, the younger Estefan is releasing her debut album, "Take Whatever You Want," which came out Friday like a declaration of independence. "I am honored to come from this family. I would love to yell it from the mountains and also be recognized as a person," she said.

Emily already had been following in the musical footsteps of her parents. Her father, Emilio Estefan, is one of the biggest names in Latin music production and founder of the band that turned Gloria Estefan into a star. The younger Estefan had learned guitar, keyboards and drums and enrolled in Boston's prestigious Berklee College of Music.

But after that night when she let herself go, inspiration to become a singer and songwriter kicked in.

When she returned to Berklee after her winter break, she began to spend her early morning hours writing feisty songs about freedom, penning the lyrics and the music of every instrument for her soul and jazz-influenced album.

'Huge shoes to fill'

In an interview at her late grandparents' mansion in an exclusive island between Miami and Miami beach, Estefan talked about "huge shoes to fill," born the heiress of the performer of such hits such as "Conga" and "1-2-3."

Of her parents she said: "I will never be them." But she went on to say: "The moment when you say none of that matters is when you realize that you love it, and you love it enough to dedicate yourself to it. It doesn't matter what comes out, as long as it is honest."

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