The trope of the musician haunted by drug addiction or a troubled past is well-trodden. We’ve created a whole club for famous musicians who died young because they couldn’t live with their demons. And we celebrate the artists who were able to overcome their struggles to release great music.
Take a look around and you’ll see that doesn’t change merely because the artists are singing in a different language. Just like its English counterpart, Latin music is full of stories who overcame demons to release amazing and influential albums. We’ve gathered a few of the best examples below.
You don’t get a name like El Príncipe de la Canción (The Prince of Song) without being kind of a big deal. And José José is very much that. He’s one of the most beloved Mexican singers of all-time with a career that spans four decades and includes sell-out shows at Madison Square Garden. But in spite of all his success, the “El Triste” singer struggled mightily with addiction.
José started drinking at the age of 15 and regularly skirted between stints of sobriety and alcoholism during his rise to international stardom. However, following a divorce in 1991 and a related return to drinking heavily, Jose was convinced to go to rehab. He hasn’t drank since, but he has continued to release excellent albums like 1994’s Grandeza Mexicana.
Frankie Ruiz went through some very terrible years soon after the young singer began performing as the lead vocalist of salsa band La Solucion in the late ’70s. His mother died in a car accident shortly after he turned 21. A girlfriend of his was murdered. And Ruiz turned to alcohol to deal with it.